Live: Tech can take charge in Coastal

Paul Johnson and Justin Thomas can take control in the ACC Coastal Division.(Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

Paul Johnson and Justin Thomas can take control in the ACC Coastal Division.(Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

Paul Johnson and Justin Thomas can take control in Coastal Division.(Getty Images)

When the a preseason poll of media members projected Georgia Tech to finish in fifth place in the ACC Coastal Division, Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson  was emotionally crushed.

Not really.

Johnson actually used the prediction as a punchline. That should have been expected by anybody who knows: 1) The coach; 2) History.

They haven’t been right yet, so what makes them so smart this time?” Johnson said.

Disclaimer: I didn’t vote in the preseason poll, which projected the Coastal standings as: Miami, Duke, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Pitt, Virginia. But I did have the Jackets finishing 5-3 in the ACC and 8-5 overall  in a game-by-game look at their schedule.

So I’m already off by one. I had the Jackets losing this season to Virginia Tech, Miami and Pittsburgh in the conference, and Georgia out of conference. The 27-24 win in Blacksburg two weeks ago changed everything. The Jackets (4-0, 1-0) go into tonight’s nationally televised game (ESPN2) against Miami (3-2, 1-1) with a chance to take charge in  the Coastal Division. If Tech wins, it will have beaten the two teams most had considered the strength of the division. Nobody — I’m assuming not even Johnson — would’ve guessed that potentially only Pittsburgh and Virginia would stand in Tech’s way to reach the ACC championship game.

The Jackets’ offense has improved with quarterback Justin Thomas. Their biggest potential obstacle to a division title is their defense, which is allowing over 400 yards and 25.5 points per game and ranks last in the ACC and 92nd nationally against the run (194.2 yards per game).

Tech also has lost five straight meetings to Miami, with the last win coming in Johnson’s first year in 2008 (41-23). That’s probably why most oddsmakers have this game so close, some even with Miami a slight road favorite.

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Reader Comments 0

620 comments
D-Sheets
D-Sheets

The yikes moment for this game after looking at the box score is that in only 19:23 time of poss Miami accumulated 352 yards.

GTRay
GTRay

@D-Sheets

Which underscores the importance of our ball control. To quote Captain Obvious, even the best offence can't score if it's not on the field.  ;-)

GTRay
GTRay

If my memory serves, we've lost only one fumble in the last three games.  Is that right?  Or am I getting senile?  

RBR
RBR

When Miami went up 14-7 and was averaging 12+yds per play going into the second quarter, I said the game was over, but I ate crow.  Hey, it happens, but I get upset over stats b/c the don't lie. and the way Miami was running the ball and our D giving up the big plays, I thought for sure, the game was over.  I was wrong.  Just don't tell that to the GT Football page on Face Book.  THey will kick you out for voicing your opinion over stats if it determines GT is losing.  


One fan told me I was the worse fan for crying over our D, but I was simply pointing out the stats and the fact that if they didn't change, GT would have lost.  I wasn't crying.  I'm a fan b/c I'm passionate about my team, their play, their stats, and how they model themselves both on and off the field and in the classroom.  


OK, off my soap box.  Bottom line is that CPJ manned up and called a fake punt and a crucial 4&2 to seal the game.  The kids played their hearts out, tackled, and ran the option to near perfection (minus the sacks). 


Proud of them, for sure!  It's a great night to be a GT fan. Both my neighbors are UNC and NC State Fans and the moron across the street is an Alabama fan.......it's good to live in my hood!!!! 

GTRay
GTRay

@RBR

I don't have a problem with people expressing their opinions (including criticisms), as long as they do so in an adult manner.  Often makes for good discussions.  But there are some posters that are relentlessly critical, whose every comment twists other peoples' posts into something negative, who apparently did not ever learn how to communicate without being disrespectful, who resort to name calling.  I don't respond to those posters.  Waste of my time and energy. 


But at least for tonight, I hope that every alum and fan can agree that THIS WIN FEELS GREAT!

RuePaulJohnson
RuePaulJohnson

#10 the DB for USCw needs to have his scholly taken tonight, kick him out of the dorms make him pay his own way, that was the worst and laziest play I have seen in a very long time.

Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

I think they could beat fsu too the way they played tonight. Simply amazing

RuePaulJohnson
RuePaulJohnson

@nevrenuftime

Teams in the Top-15 look light years different than the team we saw tonight Miami that now has 3 losses.

RBR
RBR

@nevrenuftime @RuePaulJohnson I actually think it will help build that chip on their shoulder and make them even madder coming into Duke game.  Young kids play with emotions so if taking away a ranking will piss them off and help them play better, I'm all for it (to a certain point).  

Nowayjose9
Nowayjose9

Awesome win for the jackets. I have been proven very wrong and am happy!

Just don't screw it up against dook and unc and uva.  Keep it going. Could be a very unexpected and exciting season! Go jackets!

GTRay
GTRay

I have no idea how the rest of the season will go (I'm not a psychic like some of you guys apparently are), but just think about the upside for a lot of our young guys like KeShun Freeman, Rook-Chungong, Paul Davis, Justin Thomas, et. al. And remember, our defensive ends were going to be second and third string before we lost both our projected starters.  If EVERYONE keeps working hard and improving, can't help but feel optimistic.  And the defense will improve as well.  (Hope that's not the euphoria talking)


It's great to be a fuzzy bee!

GTPhenom
GTPhenom

@GTRay Fully agree! We don't know how this season will play out, but who had us beating Miami and VT at the beginning of the season??? Not many, that's for sure! Go Jackets, and everyone have a great night.

RuePaulJohnson
RuePaulJohnson

@GTRay

The defense won't improve  that much because we don't have any inside guys, the 295 to 325 pounders that other teams have.

Our inside DLs leave a lot to be desired and that includes Gotsis, that has played worse this yr. even though the team has a better record.


charlestonian77
charlestonian77

what a great win. 

great crowd.... a white out.... biggest recruiting weekend of the year.... we played an almost perfect game. only one injury. jt continues to get better. after miami's opening drive... the d held miami to 10 points for the remainder of the game. minimum no of penalties.  more forced turnovers. better tackling.

AND not sure if anybody picked up on this but.... during the 2nd half it was pointed out that the last time 4 of the top 6 teams lost was during.....

1990. 

i mentioned last week that this well could be a season for a perfect storm. locusts return every 20 years.

MAYBE YELLOW JACKETS 'REPEAT' EVERY 24 YEARS?

go jackets

JetBuzz
JetBuzz

Good on espn for giving JT his due, running a great option O. He's a huge spark plug for us this year.

Wrecker
Wrecker

I wonder if ESPN will use its option to move the Duke Tech game to a better time slot or a better network.

GTRay
GTRay

@FBYJ

Good luck with your surgery, man.

GTRay
GTRay

@charlestonian77 @GTPhenom @FBYJ

He (FBYJ) posted earlier that he was having cardiac surgery on Monday.

charlestonian77
charlestonian77

@GTRay  so sorry to hear that. hope things go well for him. well wishes sent his way!

Wrecker
Wrecker

With Ole Miss beating Bammy, that bowl loss last year is looking a lot better. 

GTRay
GTRay

@Wrecker

Exactly what I told someone earlier this week.  Great minds think alike.

NotDisappointed
NotDisappointed

Awesome win Georgia Tech!


As usual! "Ramblin Wreck out!"

Wrecker
Wrecker

2 actual TO's and almost 2 more.  This is exactly what Ted Roof defenses do:  give up a lot of yards but make game changing plays.  Hell, that was Roof's game when he played.

GTPhenom
GTPhenom

@Wrecker It's risky at times, and kinda lives by the sword, dies by the sword, but if the defense can continue to force turnovers like the past two games, it will continue to work, at least until we get to the really deep and talented teams.

RBR
RBR

@Wrecker I can't say I like it, but I can def live with it.  I thought, for sure, the game was over after MIami started out averaging over 12 yds per carry and was lambasted on the GT Atlhetics facebook page for being such a sour fan, but who could blame me.  Miami rolled up 40+ points last year in averaging 14 yds per play and the first quarter yielded 14 points and 12 yds per play, so my hopes weren't very high.  But Roof has proven he can coach up game changing turnovers, so I'm sold on his style after tonight.  Great win and great calls by CPJ too. 


FBYJ
FBYJ

As I said a couple of weeks ago, in order to have a special and successful season, you have to have a combination of talented players, good coaches, and a certain amount of luck.  Our wins against GA Southern and VPI could easily be attributed to luck.  Tonight, however, was the most complete game we've played in quite a while.  Let's hope we continue to see improvement throughout the rest of the season.  It doesn't guarantee that we'll win out ... as we'll likely be underdogs to both Clemson and UGA ... but I think we can play competitively with ANYONE.  Who knows?  With just a bit more luck, we could be in the playoff picture at the end of the year.

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

How bout UNC getting wacked by VT today.  Didn't they start out the season ranked 23 and were favorites among a lot of people in the Coastal?

GTPhenom
GTPhenom

@BleedingGold Goes to show you, all of these preseason rankings are jokes. The preseason Coastal rankings were Miami, UNC, and VT. So much for that.

RBR
RBR

@BleedingGold that's b/c most of the journalists went to UNC.  I tell ya.... I still don't think we are out of the woods just yet.  UNC is still a dangerous team, and playing on the road at UNC and NC State are dangerous settings, regardless of the outcomes by both teams today.   UVA is proving to be a good team too.  Whooda thunk Al Groh would have that D playing so well after he trashed our D at Tech.  

GTPhenom
GTPhenom

@RBR @BleedingGold Eh . . . UVA worries me, UNC does not. That UNC defense is worse than the one Vad Lee put 70 up on two years ago. I'm pretty confident JT and the gang will have an absolute field day against UNC. Duke, NC State, and UVA are all more worrisome to me.

RBR
RBR

@GTPhenom @RBR @BleedingGold YEP, I WOULD AGREE WITH YOUR STATEMENT WITH THE EXCEPTION OF UNC..  BUT NC STATE, AND UVA WILL BE VERY TOUGH OUTS FOR US.  I LIKE OUR CHANCES AGAINST UVA AT HOME BUT THE TRIP TO NC STATE COULD BE A TOSS UP B/C NC

STATE PLAYS UP TO COMPETITION IN THEIR HOME TURF.  


PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Early line on the GT-Duke game courtesy of "nevrenuftime" is Duke -11

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

Here's what ESPN.com's box score has for "Top Performers" from this game: 

Top Performers

Passing: B. Kaaya (MIA) - 245 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: D. Johnson (MIA) - 14 CAR, 100 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: P. Dorsett (MIA) - 3 REC, 75 YDS


I guess they missed the part where Zack Laskey had 29 CAR, 133 YDS ..... 

D-Sheets
D-Sheets

@BleedingGold @D-Sheets

Indeed he did, BleedingGold.  And on just 6 carries.  Also scored his TD.   So, from the 2nd qtr on DJ had 8 CAR, 20 yds, 0 TDs.   

RBR
RBR

@D-Sheets They have no clue.  ESPN commentators were pro Miami anyway.  Brock played at Miami and he was bashing GT saying Miami was tired from playing 3 straight tough games and GT was rested....he also said we had to have a miracle play to be Ga Southern (but in reality, GA Southern had to have a miracle second half just to keep it that close). It can be spun both ways, and it was clear Brock and ESPN was not in favor of Tech tonight.