After three straight losses to Virginia Tech, Miami and BYU, the Yellow Jackets bounced back in a 56-0 win over Syracuse on last Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia Tech, now at 4-3, seems to have found their groove once again.
Tech, now 4-3 on the season, looked like the team that started the season undefeated against the Orangemen. Minimal mistakes on offense and an aggressive defense was too much for Syracuse to handle. Finally, the Yellow Jackets looked like a team that came to play. Vad Lee, who’s had a decent season at Georgia Tech, was only 3/3 for 88 yards. However, the ground game that struggled in recent games, flourished against Syracuse, gaining 394 yards. With 408 total yards for the Jackets, I would say that they got back to the base of their offense, which is running the ball. I noticed in previous games that Vad Lee was forcing passes, creating unnecessary turnovers. Tech did a much better job of protecting the ball and eliminating the mistakes.
I was most impressed with the way the Jackets made the adjustments and implemented them, especially the fact that there were no penalties in this game. Disciplined, penalty-free football certainly helped them along. Efficiency in 3rd down was also a key point. Georgia Tech had an issue with drives stalling in their last three losses, forcing them to punt. And with their defense not holding well, it put them in positions to fall behind quickly in games. The best part apart the game against Syracuse? Zero turnovers. Tech’s ability to protect the ball or even hold onto it was non-existent against Miami and BYU. In those two games combined, there were 5 turnovers. It’s virtually impossible to win a game when you give it to the other team more times than you score.
Notable performances of the day belonged to Zach Laskey, who rushed for 75 yards and 3 TDs, and Georgia Tech’s defense as a whole. Tech’s defense found their groove in this game, keeping everything in front of them, getting a good push up front and swarming to the ball. They were faster and more aggressive, which is what they had been missing since the losing streak that started with Virginia Tech. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time we’ll see a great defensive performance from the Yellow Jackets, as they still have to face #9 Clemson and Georgia, who fell to Vanderbilt (feel free to celebrate).
At this point, because the Yellow Jackets are 3rd in the Coastal Division, it’s safe to say that they’re out of the running to win it and advance to the ACC Championship game, unless something strange happens and both Miami and Virginia Tech lose all of the rest of their division games. The Jackets’ next opponent, Virginia(2-5, 0-3 ACC), should be an easy win, but I don’t expect them to be a pushover. Most of their losses have been close games, with them losing steam in the end. Tech’s focus from now until they play Georgia should be to stay above .500, limit penalties and eliminate turnovers. The game against Syracuse was definitely a good start, let’s hope it continues.