Here’s my three short takes on Tech’s win.
1. BAD SIGNS, MAN: This is the shakiest 3-0 team I’ve ever seen. The Jackets led 35-10 but allowed four straight touchdowns to open the second half and fell behind 38-35. This came against a team that — great 1-AA resume not withstanding — Tech should handle, especially this being their third relative warmup before the ACC season. Only an overturn on replay that gave Tech the ball with 4:12 left followed by a remarkable 13-yard touchdown pass from Justin Thomas to Deon Hill with 23 seconds left rescued the Jackets. Focus and defense — specifically tackling, the pass rush and coverage — are concerning going into a stretch of eight straight conference games, beginning next week at Virginia Tech (notwithstanding the Hokies’ 28-21 upset loss to Virginia).
2. PROBLEMS ON DEFENSE: It’s not surprising that Tech’s success largely will hinge on its offense again. Coach Paul Johnson is on his fourth defensive coordinator largely because Tech hasn’t a good defense at any time during his tenure. But there’s little excuse for: 1) Tech’s defensive front rarely mounting a pass rush against Georgia Southern quarterbacks and getting pushed around by the Eagles’ offensive line to the extent it did; 2) Tech defensive backs losing so many one-on-one battles with GSU receivers. Also, Johnson was so incensed after a 69-yard touchdown run by GSU’s Matt Breida in the first quarter that he later ran to bench with defensive players were sitting and yelled at them and defensive line assistant Mike Pelton before Pelton steered Johnson a few feet away. The Eagles amassed 528 yards in offense.
3. JUSTIN THOMAS: This kid’s pretty good. Tech’s quarterback had some bumps in the second half, as did others on the offensive unit, but he made a play at the end to win the game: scrambling away from one pass rusher and, with two other GSU defenders closing in, hitting Hill for the winning touchdown. Thomas led the Jackets to touchdowns on their first five possessions. Overall, he rushed for 137 yards and one touchdown, and threw for 188 yards and four more TDs. In case you’re wondering, the since-transferred Vad Lee also had a four-touchdown-pass game last year against Duke.
•Digital Jukebox, but it only plays Schultz songs
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