For my full column off of Georgia Tech’s 56-28 win over Pittsburgh, click here.
My three, “Short Takes” on the game are below:
1. WEIRDNESS PREVAILS: First this: It was an impressive effort by Tech after losing consecutive games to Duke and North Carolina. But the first half might have been the strangest half of football I’ve ever seen. Pitt fumbled on its first five possessions, and the Jackets turned the first four into touchdowns. The Panthers fumbled six times in the game (five leading to Tech touchdowns). Some credit to the Jackets’ defense, which entering the game was tied for last in the nation with only one fumble takeaway. But there’s no justifying Pitt fumbling on four of its first six plays from scrimmage. After that 28-0 lead, Tech struggled in the half, failing to score and led only 28-14 at halftime. At 28-0, Paul Johnson got a little greedy, passed on a field goal try and went for it on fourth-and-two from the Pitt 18. Result: Deon Hill was stuffed for a three-yard loss. But that turned out to not be a big deal.
2. RUNNING BACK DEPTH: The Jackets played without injured B-back Zach Laskey (their second-leading rusher behind quarterback Justin Thomas). They lost starting A-back Charles Perkins (their No. 3 rusher) early in the game with a knee injury. But this is the kind of game where coach Paul Johnson loves to say, “I dare you to stop my offense, anyway.” Production wasn’t a problem against Pitt. The Panthers entered the game ranked third in the ACC in scoring defense (18.6 points per game), second in total defense (280.4 yards per game) and fifth against the run (112.3 YPG). Blow all that up. Tech had over 600 yards in total offense, led by the seldom-used Broderick Snoddy (82 yards, three touchdowns) and Synjyn Days (110 yards). Credit to Tech’s offensive line, but Pitt didn’t look prepared for the option offense.
3. YOU TAKE IT, NO YOU TAKE IT: Welcome to the ACC Coastal, the division in college football that seemingly nobody wants to win. Duke is 2-1 and in the lead. Every other team has at least two losses: Georgia Tech (3-2), Pitt (2-2), Virginia (2-2), Miami (2-2), North Carolina (2-2) and Virginia Tech (1-3). The Jackets’ problem is they lost to Duke and, therefore, would lose a tiebreaker. So they really need to win their last three conference games (Virginia, at North Carolina State, Clemson) and hope Duke loses two of its remaining five (at Pitt, at Syracuse, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Wake Forest). There also are three-way tie possibilities but, in the interest of maintaining some level of sanity, we won’t go into those right now.
— AJC: LIVE: Tech’s defense must improve vs. Pitt — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons lose, Jackets pull upset, Dogs in prayer circle — AJC: Will a fresh perspective elude Braves? — MyAJC: Todd Gurley’s return would raise Georgia’s ceiling again — AJC: Why did NCAA say yes to Mo’ne Davis but no to Todd Gurley? — MyAJC: Why playoff picture looks good for SEC (and Georgia) — MyAJC: Here’s good news: Falcons are leaving country — MyAJC: Georgia Tech continues to stomp on hope — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Dogs win, Falcons lose, Jameis enabled — AJC: Georgia dealing with reality, FSU avoiding it — MyAJC: Does NCAA care that public sentiment favors Gurley, athletes? — MyAJC: Georgia’s response heard loud and clear — MyAJC: NCAA needs to realize amateurism is dead — AJC: Minus Gurley, Dogs must overcome flaws — AJC: With Gurley suspended, is Georgia done? — MyAJC: If Gurley broke rules, that’s on him — AJC: Weekend Predictions: No Gurley, no Dogs, no kidding — AJC: Blank stands by Smith, Dimitroff. What say you? — MyAJC: Arthur Blank won’t give Falcons’ mandates, speculate on future — AJC: Falcons have turned this week into a must-win game — MyAJC: Georgia Tech’s season may be turning into something special — AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s win over Miami, starting with … defense? — AJC: Tech has a chance to take charge in ACC Coastal — AJC: Braves should have left Gonzalez decision to new GM