It wasn’t pretty, there were still plenty of mistakes, but for the first time in over a month the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets finally get a win against a conference opponent. The bottom line is that a much needed win for this team was accomplished against the BC Eagles who have fallen to the bottom of the ACC this season. After the Yellow Jackets went ahead 31 to 3 in this contest despite squandering enough scoring opportunities to reach 50, they fell asleep and let Boston College score a few touchdowns before closing out the game with a David Sims touchdown to go ahead 37 to 17 after right on cue; missing the extra point, a fitting ending to the day for the kicking game, or better titled; the kidding game.
On a day when the field goal team had a bad case of the flu or perhaps just the blahs, it was apt that even an extra point was hard to obtain in this contest. Hopefully the Yellow Jackets will not ever be in a position to have to make a field goal to win a game this season as the kicking game was just plain awful this past Saturday. While I’ve never been a fan of the field goal, and no doubt Coach Paul Johnson isn’t too far behind, our kickers just have to do a better job at their craft to help out the team in this second half of the season.
Over the weekend I read about a high school kicker from the state of Washington who trotted out in a game with his team trailing 55 to 52 and just a few seconds remaining in the game. Before anyone chimes in with a comment; was Al Groh coaching their defense? Or are any of these kids on defense committed to Georgia Tech? The collective answer is a resounding “No.” However, the kid made a 67 yard field goal to send the game into OT. That isn’t a misprint. It was a 67 yard field goal! While the future of any kicker is always a mystery shrouded in a horror story, at least this kid can get the ball in the air and even in between the goalposts from the other side of the fifty yard line. That qualifies as a weapon on any football team!
As impressive as that feat is, here is the best part; nobody is recruiting him! That’s right; Nobody! After I looked into his recruiting a little more extensively apparently Eastern Washington University was willing to let him walk on and perhaps give him a book allowance, so long as he majored in anything that only required the issuance of a blue book for tests and nothing expensive in the modern day world of fifty pound text books. BTW, Eastern Washington is the school that recently painted their playing field red as a contrast to the all blue turf at Boise State. Not quite the shade of red seen on Paul Johnson’s face after those missed field goals this past Saturday.
I have no idea if this kicker has any interest in becoming an engineer, but to be able to make that kick, especially when the game is on the line just speaks volumes about anybody in the world of kickers. As a teammate that kicker would never have to buy another pizza for making that kick so long as I was around. Once he turns 21 the beers are on me for such a remarkable feat of coming through under pressure. But here is the best part; he has zero stars. Did I also mention that he has no major college offers from any school? I bet that changes this coming week. Coach Paul Johnson might even consider sending his special teams coach out to the west coast ASAP to seal the deal on this kid. Heck, if he calls me I would even donate the frequent flier miles to get this kid to come to Tech!
Back to the win over Boston College, while a win is a win, and much needed I might add, the offense was quite impressive in moving the ball with 563 yards in total offense including 391 on the ground. However, they still need to be able to finish off those drives with scores, and I mean the ones that only require the kicker to trot out onto the field while the crowd is still cheering the touchdown.
Zach Laskey was really running tough inside at B-Back and hopefully his injury is nothing too serious as we will need him again this week against the BYU Cougars. Fortunately David Sims was back to form hitting it up hard between the guards by scoring the final touchdown for the Yellow Jackets as he exploded for seven yards straight up the middle into the end zone looking like he did last season.
The quarterback play by both Tevin and Vad Lee was outstanding as they both looked great, and Vad Lee threw a 45 yard bullet scoring strike to true freshman Anthony Autry when he came back out to run the offense with 2:12 left in the first half to give GT a 28 to 3 lead at halftime. Prior to that Vad had a beautiful 24 yard touchdown run from the pistol formation to cap a 10 play 57 yard drive after taking over for Tevin who put the Yellow Jackets ahead 14 to 3 with two nice TD runs of his own to cap two long offensive possessions.
The defense played much better this game and held the eagles to 32 yards rushing. While they only had two QB sacks the entire afternoon and did make an interception, there was still no consistent pressure on the BC quarterback. However, that is part of the 3/4 scheme when only the down linemen are involved in containing the QB without the additional presence of a blitzing linebacker.
While this was certainly a very challenging two weeks for everyone on defense with the recent firing of the DC and all of the disruption that an event of that nature can have on a team, they deserve major kudos for playing very well, and for the first time going back nearly two seasons preserved a win for this team. Congratulations are well deserved for the entire coaching staff and defensive players who have been much maligned most of this season. Boston College has put up some points this season and moved the football but it was very nice to see the defense eliminate the big plays and light bulbs on the scoreboard.
Other than Zach Laskey, I also noticed that Will Jackson and Rey Beno both left the game with injuries that did not appear too serious, and hopefully they will be back playing this week as BYU is currently one of the top ten teams in the entire country on the defensive side of the football in scoring, rushing, and total team defense. They certainly gave # five ranked Notre Dame everything they could handle in a very tough 17 to 14 loss on the road Saturday in South Bend.
This next game against BYU will be a tough challenge especially for the GT offense given the strong defense the Cougars have been playing all season especially against the run. I have lots of confidence that Coach Paul Johnson will be able to move the football, but the continued passing success of both Tevin and Vad will be needed once again this week in particular. On offense the Cougars have gone through a couple of QB’s this season, but they always have a very efficient system both running and throwing the football. So the defense will need to play another strong game so GT can get a win this week before going out on the road against the ACC.
On the positive side I was pleased that the fans, while not a huge crowd, were quite vocal all afternoon. It would be nice if a few thousand more are in attendance to encourage this team before they head out of town for conference games the next two weeks. Go Jackets!