Short takes on Georgia Tech’s 42-38 win

Justin Thomas had three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth in the first half. (AP photo)

Justin Thomas had three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth in the first half. (AP photo)

Justin Thomas had three TD passes in first half but needed a fourth to win. (AP photo)

Here’s my three short takes on Tech’s win.

For my column on the game, click here.

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.

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Reader Comments 0

150 comments
GTPhenom
GTPhenom

So, just my short takes from the game.


The Good: Justin Thomas. And really, I had to struggle to find anything truly "good" in this game, but if one thing was a bright spot, it was him. The guy is clearly a gamer, and has shown time and again in the early goings this season that he has a great deal of talent. He's still up and down on option plays, and I still feel like he misses very obvious reads from time to time, but overall, you can see his skills, and appreciate that we many finally have a good player under center to direct this offense.


The Bad: The rest of the offense. Don't worry, the defense will get it's only little segment in a moment, but good lord. The old "tale of two halves" saying comes to mind. Seven points in the second half is downright unacceptable. Some of it's on Johnson for not adjusting to what the defenses were doing. Some of it was on Thomas for not making the right reads. A LOT of it falls on the O-Line, for having zero push at the line of scrimmage. But combined, it was one of the uglier halves of football that CPJ's offense has had since he got to GT.


The Downright Ugly: The defense. Yikes. That's really all that needs to be said to sum up that game. The first half was solid. Mistakes here and there, but overall, solid assignment football, and players doing a good job of getting the Southern offense off the field. In the second half? Wow. It's never a good sign to get dominated on both sides of the ball at the LOS, and that is what we are seeing with this GT team. No push from offensive, or defensive line, and if our defensive line isn't going to get a push against the Georgia Southern offensive line, imagine what Gurley and the UGA offensive line will do. The secondary still plays way too far off of receivers, and I specifically remember a play where Isaiah Thomas took one of the worst angles on a runner that I've ever seen, that allowed a Southern TD. The defense has problems getting pressure, covering people, and tackling people. Not a good combination.


The Completely Silly: Everyone complaining about the "wrong" call of overturning the fumbled lateral. The Fox Sports South replay CLEARLY showed that it was a fumble, and there really isn't much else to say.


Overall, this game doesn't change any of my season long predictions. I don't see more than two or three more wins on the schedule, and I think this team is in for a brutal reality check next week against a pissed off VT team IN Blacksburg. Maybe this team turns things around, and shows us something we haven't seen. Maybe the rest of the ACC isn't nearly as good as we think, and the Jackets will be able to hang with opponents who are seemingly much better. But I doubt it.  

DON1938
DON1938

Unfortunately, it doesn't  take a world beater to beat Tech.  Just an average team.

Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

What about the offense??? 7 points in the second half. This is what a pj coached team has always looked like. Can look great for short periods and then awful. Like i said this Summer, they will won 5 games and i said they would be very lucky to escape gsu with a win. I got mocked by some for that. GSu deserved the win and had it not been a bad call at the end, they would have. Now uva is much better. And vt will be ready next week. That will be ugly. I think gt might win just one acc game.But they will probably get lucky in another and go 2-6.

And there will still be pj supporters supporting this crappy coach and team. Adios bowl streak. 


DON1938
DON1938

@nevrenuftime Don't forget Beamer was not too successful his first 7 years.  Dave Braine brought this up many times during his tenure as AD.  Right Super???

DON1938
DON1938

I think 5 wins might be a little optimistic.  Other than maybe NC State, I'm not sure we are on par with the others.  Thankful to be undefeated though.  With VT losing at home yesterday, it could be a long night in Blacksburg.  And can you believe I have tickets??  Oh well, the state of Virginia is beautiful this time of year.

RambleOnGT
RambleOnGT

@DON1938 - I don't see anyone left on the schedule that this defense can stop.  I've been trying to convince myself the past several years that Tech's not very good, but this season is finally when it's set in.  

Hope we fair well in Blacksburg and you enjoy the trip.  

BTW - It's a noon kick, not a night game, which might be a good thing for the Jackets actually.  

DON1938
DON1938

@RambleOnGT I meant long night after the game even though I seem to always remember the night games at VT.  Like the "lightning game."

GTSteve
GTSteve

I am whole lot more disappointed in the fan turn out than the play on the field. It was more like a home game for Southern. I did see a few Southern fans leaving at half time. Tech is young, maybe they will get better....The defense has got to get better, I don't think they can get any worse.

Guyon
Guyon

I'm changing my prediction to five wins for the Jackets. GSU mauled Tech in the second half. Johnson had no clue as to handling the Eagles in the second half.  

WilliamCoit
WilliamCoit

I'm waiting for UGA to come to town. If Georgia can't recover from there loss, this should be a very good battle. More needs to be done with the defense. Too many lapses in coverage


Need shipping containers for storage?

http://youtu.be/OFHGmqZtKGo

GT71
GT71

We may be 3-8 by the annual UGA beat-down.

Not enough athletes; not enough toughness; not enough effort. Seems that while we may not have the athletes, we could expect some toughness, some grit.

This and other Tech teams of the recent past seem to let down after starting great, or start in an emotionless slump and have to do great things to get even.  This is mostly coaching.

PJ's offense is perfect for teams who can't attract really great athletes (and Tech can't), but D is D and there's not enough style points and out-thinking on that side of the ball.  Once again this year, that 'depending on perfection' offense better score 4-6 touchdowns per game or the 3-9 record will be it. 

gtjhal1
gtjhal1

@GT71 Well said.   The schedule is about to get real and judging by our start.....could be a rough go.   Slightly disagree with you though on the recruiting.   We can and have gotten better recruits in the past. Calvin and BeBe are proof of that....but you'll never get that talent again with this system. Beyond that, they are simply not getting coached up. Yes we'll all take the 3-0, but it's hard to find the positives beyond being undefeated. 

MikeS777
MikeS777

I would be shocked if this doesn't end up being a really bad sign.  I thought Ga Southern could beat Tech, and it literally almost happened.  Very lucky to pull this win out.  This is three weeks in a row struggling against inferior competition, or at least what should be.  We will know which is which starting next week against what will be a very upset Va Tech team.  Is Tech just sort of messing around, or are the problems really that bad?  Typically struggling like this 3 weeks in a row is a sign that the problems are truly that bad.

GTBob
GTBob

@MikeS777 This game was different than the first two though. In this game, we were absolutely dominant in the first half. Some Ga Southern fans around us actually left at halftime because the game looked like it was a sure blowout. Then, we completely quit playing and looked like we had no idea what to do in any aspect of the game. It was very similar to the Miami game in 2012. When our team takes our foot off the gas we seem to fall apart for some reason.

Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

@GTBob @MikeS777 And that's a coaching and pj problem. Should have been fired after the mtsu blowout loss at home.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

1. It troubles me that defenses seem to be able to make half-time adjustments to our offense.  It happened today. It happened in the UGA game last November.  I know that Johnson is smart enough to understand the defensive adjustments.  Why can't we adjust our offense?

2.  Why are our defenses under Johnson so bad?  They were rarely this bad under Gailey.

3.  Justin Thomas is a really good QB.  He has surprised me.



GTBob
GTBob

@Birmingham__Jacket Gailey was actually the opposite. He had really good defenses but couldn't field an offense that was even moderately good.

Laster3000
Laster3000

Tech caught a break.

Forward and Backward Pass

ARTICLE 2. a. A pass is forward if the ball first strikes the ground, a player, an official or anything else beyond the spot where the ball is released. All other passes are backward passes. When in question a pass thrown in or behind the neutral zone is forward rather than a backward pass.

b. When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward toward the neutral zone, any intentional forward movement of his hand or arm with the ball firmly in his control starts the forward pass. If a Team B player contacts the passer or ball after forward movement begins and the ball leaves the passer’s hand, a forward pass is ruled regardless of where the ball strikes the ground or a player (A.R. 2-19-2-I).

c. When in question, the ball is passed and not fumbled during an attempted forward pass.

Laster3000
Laster3000

That's not how I interpret this line...

A pass is forward if the ball first strikes the ground, a player, an official or anything else beyond the spot where the ball is released. All other passes are backward passes.

Maybe you have a different interpretation of beyond but 27-27 does not meet my criteria. But hey, no game comes down to one play. Congrats to Tech on the win.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@Laster3000 

It was a "break" only in the sense that it was indeed a lateral; the camera clearly showed that there was no forward motion of the ball after its release.  It was definitely not a "break" in the sens of it being a bad call by the refs.  The call was 100% correct.

Gojckts1
Gojckts1

Those of you doofuses who keep saying the overturned call was bs, really? That was CLEARLY a straight lateral. It doesn't just have to be backwards. As the ref said ball was pitched at the 27, then fumbled at the 27. Don't get butt hurt cuz your team didn't finish the job today...

RambleOnGT
RambleOnGT

@Gojckts1 - Yeah, I'm sick of all the "horrible call" nonsense.  It was pretty clear on the replay and both commentators (non-biased) on Fox Sports agreed they made the right call.

bigmacondawg
bigmacondawg

@RambleOnGT

It was pretty clear to me that it is not at all clear who the 2nd best college football team in the state is.

It's obvious however, whose the best.

Laster3000
Laster3000

I'm not so sure. Straight from the NCAA rule book.

Forward and Backward Pass

ARTICLE 2. a. A pass is forward if the ball first strikes the ground, a player, an official or anything else beyond the spot where the ball is released. All other passes are backward passes. When in question a pass thrown in or behind the neutral zone is forward rather than a backward pass.

b. When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward toward the neutral zone, any intentional forward movement of his hand or arm with the ball firmly in his control starts the forward pass. If a Team B player contacts the passer or ball after forward movement begins and the ball leaves the passer’s hand, a forward pass is ruled regardless of where the ball strikes the ground or a player (A.R. 2-19-2-I).

c. When in question, the ball is passed and not fumbled during an attempted forward pass.

Gojckts1
Gojckts1

Hey bigmacondork, hopefully that super elite D on that "#1" team is the one on the field in Athens this November. Justin Thomas would carve those turkeys in your secondary to pieces.....

Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

@RambleOnGT It was a bad call. The call on the field was an incomplete pass. 

That ball was not going backwards. The call on the field should have stood. The refs gave gt a free one. Make no mistake tho, gsu outplayed gt and like i said, they had better TO players. I got mocked for that comment which turned out to be spot on.

Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

@RambleOnGT No the announcers were saying all along that it needed to be backwards to change the call on the field. And it wasn't backwards. The refs gave gt home cooking with that call. It was the wrong call based on the call on the field.

RSB1414
RSB1414

Lets all hope that we saw Justin Thomas grow up today with that great last drive to win AND all the freshman on the O line and D line will get better every snap. Tech has never been younger up front. I have not seen anyone on our schedule that is not beatable.  Upsets every where today...GO JACKETS! 

bigmacondawg
bigmacondawg

Georgia Tech is the third best college football team in the state.  Total homer call by the official.

Jmonty
Jmonty

@bigmacondawg   and that makes UGA the fourth best..  What a homer..  Only homer is you.  Go choke on a big mac and never breath...  Trust me... No one would miss you. 

RSB1414
RSB1414

Meanwhile...UGA is 1st and 10 on the 6 yard line for the win and did not give it to Gurley. Gotta love Bobo and Richt  Wow!

GTBob
GTBob

GT won, UGA lost. As much as I would like to cry about our near collapse, it just isn't going to happen tonight.

RSB1414
RSB1414

@GTBob Perfect football day! :-) At least we can enjoy this Saturday!!

gt-40
gt-40

I missed a lot of the first half, my seats are near Dry dirt road, and when he saw all the pink field credentials he went ballistic, I had to help security escort him out, rumor has it he went to a mid town theater and caught the showing of Rebel without a cause......

RSB1414
RSB1414

Tech players are not at fault. They are just not big or talented enough to play big time college football.  Anyone that follows Tech football knows recruiting is the issue. Unfortunately, the dang triple option is just enough of a pain the butt for other teams that CPJ keeps his job. 6-5 and 7-4 will not get you fired at Tech, which is sad

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@RSB1414 

Frank Beamer kept his job with 2, 3, 6, 7, 5, and 2 win seasons (in order) before he finally found consistency.  Why should we fire a coach with a better first 6 seasons than Beamer's first 6 seasons at VT?

RSB1414
RSB1414

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @RSB1414 Really? Your comparing Frank Beamer to Paul Johnson. Come on man.

RSB1414
RSB1414

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt @RSB1414 Beamer did not win a title without his recruits and then get worse ever year. Beamer held his coaching staff in place for 20 years and recruited his butt off.Coach Johnson...not so much

GTBob
GTBob

@RSB1414 Most of the players on our team had offers from other major programs. Unfortunately all of the scouts and coaches in the country just aren't as good at judging talent as you are.

GTBob
GTBob

@RSB1414 He must be a great game day coach then because he has the 4th highest winning percentage in Tech history. Just imagine what he could do if all of his players weren't Division 3 players.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

@RSB1414 @SupersizeThatOrder-mutt 

different coaches ????  You mean on defense?  I have no idea at what point Beamer hired Foster, but Foster has probably done more for VT football than Beamer alone would have done.

RSB1414
RSB1414

@GTBob @RSB1414 Oh boy, really?...We are in the ACC and for 6 of the past 7 years had one of the weakest schedules in the ACC.  

gatechclassof95
gatechclassof95

@RSB1414

I agree with everything in your post, except PJ not getting fired.  Although, to be fair.  It's obvious by all the coaches who struggled preceding him, it's not all his fault.  As much as we may want it to, the institution does not value football.  You don't lose anywhere close to 13/14 to your in state rival if you do.

RSB1414
RSB1414

@gatechclassof95 @RSB1414 Nobody wants CPJ to win than me.  Just wish he could recruit more talent

GTBob
GTBob

@RSB1414 We rarely ever have one of the weakest schedules in the ACC and you can't just write off ACC wins as meaningless. No matter how much you hate the conference, that is who we are going to play every year and that is who our coaches will be judged against.

RSB1414
RSB1414

@GTBob @RSB1414 I don't hate the conference.  It's a fact that the ACC has been awful 6 of the past 7 years.  I am just saying that we are a slightly above avg team in a bad conference.  


HonestInformed
HonestInformed

@RSB1414  GT will NEVER be able to recruit significant numbers of 4 & 5 star players regardless of the coach......there are absolutely legitimate cast in stone reasons for this fact. Coach PJ is a perfect fit because his Triple Option offense allows GT to be competitive with less talent!


What if world: Give Coach Paul Johnson and his staff the UGA players for two seasons and I promise at least 1 National Championship!

GTBob
GTBob

@RSB1414 The bowl games have been a bit of a let down, but we aren't going to beat UGA very often no matter who the coach is. How did the previous coach and all of his awesome superstars do against UGA?

GTBob
GTBob

@RSB1414 The ACC isn't that bad of a conference and it is our conference and we aren't going anywhere. You listen to your UGA buddies too much. Sorry, but winning ACC games matters. If you want to judge the entire season on the UGA game every year then that is up to you. Hardly anybody else will.

Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt That's the lamest comp. VT had nothing for football when FB came on. Gt has a long rich history of football. Well up until 2010. Now it's regressed. Take out the cupcakes and this season is looking like a bill lewis type year.

RSB1414
RSB1414

@GTBob @RSB1414 Wow..Not even worth replying to.  I have stood behind Coach Johnson since he arrived.  He has proved he cannot recruit big time players.  



Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

@GTBob @RSB1414 4th wow. yay. 

Well let's see it at seasons end when they finish 5-7 and miss a bowl. Then will you write that under PJ, gt's bowl streak ended??? Of course not. Even with 3 cupcakes on the schedule!