Short takes on Georgia Tech’s opening win (or escape)

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Kyle Cerge-Henderson of Georgia Tech and Jon Baker of Boston College during the Aer Lingus College Football Classic Ireland 2016 at Aviva Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

Georgia Tech defensive lineman Kyle Cerge-Henderson (54) was among those who made key plays for the Jackets’ defense, recovering a fumble by Boston College quarterback Patrick Towles. Tech defeated B.C. 17-14 in Dublin, Ireland. (Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

DUBLIN — Georgia Tech’s offense was rescued by its passing game again.

Wait. What?

Quarterback Justin Thomas had a 22-yard completion on fourth-and-19 and a 26-yarder on third down to ignite a stunning touchdown drive in the final minutes, giving Georgia Tech a come-from-behind 17-14 win over Boston College in the season opener  in Dublin, Ireland.

For my full column on the game, click this link.

Below are my three short takes on the game.

1. OK, they won but: In coach Paul Johnson’s words, “We were fortunate we got out of here with a win.” Tech is 1-0 in the ACC. It was never close to being 1-0 last season (3-9 overall, 1-0 in conference). But after struggling offensively, primarily in the running game, last season, significant improvement was expected and that wasn’t evident in the first game. Quarterback Justin Thomas made several poor reads in the option and  offensive linemen either missed blocks, blew assignments or were flat-out manhandled by Boston College’s defensive front. Tech had five three-and-outs in a stretch of seven possessions and finished with 121 yards rushing. That’s not good for an option offense. The Eagles had the nation’s best overall defense last season ranked No. 2 against the run, but Tech made them look like the ’85 Bears.

2. Some guys just have it: Thomas had a poor opening game running the option, and this follows a season in which he tried to do too much to make up for his team’s deficiencies. But whereas a number of players melt in tough situations, he seems to embrace those moments and frequently has shown an ability to pull out games in the final minutes. He did it against Boston College, completing a 22-yard pass to Qua Searcy on fourth-and-19 and a 26-yarder to Ricky Jeune on third-and-10 to set up the winning touchdown: a four-yard run by freshman Dedrick Mills. Boston College coach Steve Addazio on Thomas: “He took that game in his own hands at the end. He made unbelievable plays at the very end of the game that were critical, and that’s what great players do.”

3. Defense improved? One win over Boston College, which has been dreadful offensively, should not lead to grand proclamations about what this means for Georgia Tech’s defense moving forward. But that side of the ball kept the Jackets in the game when the offense was getting smacked in the face B.C. moved the ball well between the 20s but fizzled when it mattered most, and Tech deserves some credit for that. The Jackets forced three turnovers (two fumbles), escaped two Boston College red zone situations (fumble, blocked field goal) and saw the Eagles miss two field goals. The major breakdown was a 73-yard touchdown run by Jon Hillman in the third quarter. The Jackets aren’t Clemson-ready on defense, but they have Mercer and Vanderbilt before then.

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30 comments
shortsqueeze
shortsqueeze

Yeah bc had the best d last year in terms of total yards. A lot of good that did them! They won 3 games LOL.  Gt was horrible yesterday. Offense was a joke. 2-6 or 3-5 in conferece most likely. 4-5 total wins.

DawgNole
DawgNole

JS: "Tech is 1-0 in the ACC. It was never close to being 1-0 last season (3-9 overall, 1-0 in conference)."

____________________

So GT was "1-0 in conference" last season???

Don't think so.

TideDawg
TideDawg

It wasn't pretty but there were a lot of top ranked teams that didn't look pretty so forget that and put a W on the card. I give them points just for playing that game. GT may agree to play another (foreign) game like that, but I'm sure it will be done under duress. Don't look for any highlights in that game because there weren't any...except the W. GT is GT, PJ is PJ, Tech football is........well, they're going to win some and lose some. If that makes fans down there happy, so be it.

GTBee
GTBee

#28 - poor, poor blocking on the go-ahead TD at end of game. RB earned that TD with no help.

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

tech got lucky but i hope they keep winning so it will look better and hurt tech fans more when they loose to us we made a statement last night against a sickening school that doesnt eve make there players go to real classes i have no respect for unc at least tech has real classes that there players go to

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Wrecker @MoistDawg

You were sucked in by a longtime AJC troll whose tired act has been playing on these blogs for years.

Jlfarm
Jlfarm

What kind of article is this?? We escaped? Justin played the option terribly? Um, last time I checked we played the #1 defense in the county. Stop being homie to your dogs and tell the truth of the story. Georgia escaped NC, but all I heard was how good Kirby was. Rigged

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Jlfarm: "Um, last time I checked we played the #1 defense in the county."

_______________

Best defense in the county???

Not even the state???

Hell, that ain't sayin' much. Quicherbraggin'!

Wrecker
Wrecker

Perusing the AJC online today, I found no mentions of U[sic]Ga's "escape" with a ref-aided win last night.  In case the sports department has lost its thesaurus, the following are the various ways you should describe each team's wins:


Tech:  Backed in, escaped, scraped by, avoided defeat, did not lose, squeaked, near miss, close shave, squeezed by, or tiptoed out of town.


Dwags:  Killed, crushed, decimated, beat down, blew out, drubbed, shellacked, or stomped a mudhole in.

Wrecker
Wrecker

@Big Wally @Wrecker WTH are you talking about?  See my user name?  I am a Tech grad and fan.  Do you even understand sarcasm or that mine was addressed to the "escape" mentioned in the blog post's headline?  Reading comprehension is not your first concern.

GTroller
GTroller

Maybe it's the white jerseys but we looked really undersized compared to BC, especially in the trenches.  The OL doesn't look much better than last season.  Going to be a long year... 5-6 wins max.

LongBeachJacket
LongBeachJacket

Jeff - We had a "gut check" win. Under pressure late. Did not fold.  As you say Justin Thomas showed his true colors under pressure. 
The team never quit.  Just kept playing.  If this is any indication of the character of this team, it will meet (or exceed) your very own preseason prediction (I think you had us at 8-4...which I could live with...).


This was an excellent type of game for Tech to open with...as opposed to...say Alcorn State...which told us nothing last year and misled us.  


The team (and coaches) now will have a crisp appraisal of what the weak points were...and have time to correct them.


What they don't have to correct is the guts, drive and "never quit" character that was on display.


GO JACKETS!!!

DawgNole
DawgNole

@LongBeachJacket: "This was an excellent type of game for Tech to open with...as opposed to...say Alcorn State...which told us nothing last year and misled us."

_________________

BINGO!

NO FBS team should play powderpuffs like Alcorn--ever!

And yes, I know, "They all do it."

And they're all wrong. 

Buying Ws to pad results is immoral--and should be illegal.

UpWithTheWhiteAndGold
UpWithTheWhiteAndGold

Sounds like you expected Tech to win big. That's not realistic. The BC Defense was as advertised.  How about some positive short-takes?


* Tech defense and offense come-up big in the 4th quarter. They made the plays necessary to put themselves in position to win. Then they closed the deal. That's not something we saw from the 2015 squad.


* Despite poor field conditions with a slippery turf and constant rain Tech only fumbled once. Tech was plus in the turnover comparison.


* Tech was good on special teams. Blocked FG. Kick-offs into the end zone. Made FG attempt. Good yardage on kick-off returns. Sure-hands on the punt returns.

khd713
khd713

@UpWithTheWhiteAndGold Because for the most part Tech looked out-of-sync and it took everything they had to steal a victory away from one of the worst teams in nation. That's why. Would it really make you feel better for Schultz to blow smoke up your tail and tell you Tech's performance was better than it was? The offense and defense came up with big plays when we needed it? He said that, and he also praised Thomas and the defense (which I thought looked OK in the first half but got beat badly and out-coached in the second half). Poor field conditions? Both teams had to deal with that, and Mills' fumble was a killer. Special teams was good? Great. There, hope that makes you feel better.

GTPhenom
GTPhenom

@UpWithTheWhiteAndGold @khd713 Exactly. It's not to suggest that this team is of the same caliber of that 2014 squad, but it is far too early to suggest that they can't be.

UpWithTheWhiteAndGold
UpWithTheWhiteAndGold

@khd713 When you finish last season 3-9 where nothing went right, it is nice to find some positive traction in a few aspects of the game. I watched the same game you did and I saw plenty of things to be unhappy with. But I'm happy the team gutted out a win. I'm happy the team found a way to win. Last year that didn't happen. Be happy with the positive and go correct the negative.


For all the wonder of the 2014 season, it started with some out-of-synch offensive playing too. They almost lost to Wofford that year. 




PaulinNH
PaulinNH

GT loses that game last year.  They were outplayed most of the game but Thomas made the difference at the end.

JSSN
JSSN

@PaulinNH 

They better not make the mistake of taking Mercer for granted because of their loss to the Citadel. That game has Middle Tennessee State written all over it if they're not careful!

GTPhenom
GTPhenom

@JSSN @PaulinNH Ehhhhh . . . MTSU was an FBS level team with a solid QB who could take advantage of an unprepared team that year. Not to mention that the team GT fielded that year was probably the second worst of CPJ's tenure, only beaten out by last year's god-awful season. It would take a massive breakdown if you ask me for Mercer to stand a chance next week.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

Thanks Shultz!!!! As always more negatives that positives in referring to a fantastic GT TEAM win..Perhaps one of your Bulldog friends in Ireland will assist you in getting a flight back to Atlanta.

I don't think the Jackets have room for you on their return flight!! LOL 


khd713
khd713

@LOGS1973 I'm not a Schultz fan, either, but this column is a pretty straight-up accurate assessment of the game. Tech looked like crud for the most part, but somehow managed to steal a victory. And Schultz was highly complimentary of Thomas and the defense, so what, exactly, do you want? Would you rather he spin a bunch of lies about how Tech looked like a juggernaut just to kiss your butt? Get a clue, dude.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@khd713 @LOGS1973 I will be happy to advise you!! He needs to join with Mark Bradley

in coverage of UGA games as that is what

the AJC is about.. You get a clue and start paying attention to the AJC"s coverage as a whole and advise what they are all about... Dude..

DawgNole
DawgNole

@LOGS1973 @khd713

No, YOU get a clue, dimbulb.

You have ZERO credibility after brain-dead predictions like this:

LOGS1973 September 3, 2016

The Heels should boat race the Dawgs . . . .

Tar Heels should win big!