Tech-nically speaking, it wasn’t much of a showing

Sub Tim Byerly led a rather inspired rally, you’d have to say. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

Sub Tim Byerly led a rather inspired rally, you'd have to say. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

Sub Tim Byerly led a rather inspired rally, you’d have to say. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

These short takes off Georgia Tech-Duke are presented as a companion to the game column, which can be found here. Tech lost 31-25.

1. Justin Thomas has had some splendid days in his first season as Tech’s quarterback, but this wasn’t one. He ran the ball quite well — 119 yards on 19 rushes — and he kept plays going longer than they should have. Trouble was, his improvisations masked the inherent problem Tech was having: Its running game wasn’t overwhelming Duke, which entered the game ranked last among ACC teams in rushing defense. The Jackets were moving — they punted only once — but weren’t scoring touchdowns. Two bad Thomas interceptions removed all rational hope. After the second, Thomas gave way to Tim Byerly, who steered Tech to more touchdowns in seven minutes than Thomas had in 51. Coach Paul Johnson said afterward that Thomas had rolled his ankle in the first half but tried to gut it out.

2. Tech entered the game 5-0 in large part because it led the ACC in turnover margin. They induced no turnovers Saturday and lost. We saw again Saturday that the Jackets’ defense isn’t apt to shut down any well-coached opponent. (Miami, which is poorly coached, doesn’t count.) The Devils didn’t exactly overrun Tech’s D, but they found a working method and kept drives alive, and when they drove they tended to score touchdowns. The Jackets registered no sacks and yielded first-half first downs on second-and-22 and third-and-26, much to Johnson’s obvious chagrin. (In his postgame briefing, he mentioned the two long-yardage plays and seemed enthused about neither.)

3. Tech’s path to a Coastal Division title would have been clearer had it won, but one loss shouldn’t be seen as a disqualification. The Jackets essentially swapped a home loss to Duke with the road victory over Virginia Tech. They hold the tie-breaking edge over Virginia Tech and Miami, though Duke now holds the tiebreaker over them. It’s true the Devils have much the easier schedule — only two ACC road games remaining, those at Syracuse and Pitt — and Duke doesn’t have to play Clemson, which Georgia Tech does. Still, the Devils aren’t apt to go 7-1 in league play. Going 6-2 still figures to win the division, and Tech has a real chance to do that.

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105 comments
GT71
GT71

Amazing - the AJC stoops to new lows to fill up the available space around the ads and the pics - a month-old column that was pretty god-awful when new.  Now, a month later, it stinks like a week-old mackerel.

I mean, WTF, AJC?  Just WTF?

gt2014
gt2014

Bradley only writes articles to belittle Georgia Tech. The exact reason I'll give the AJC $0. Bradley can go get [Iron Maiden] with an unlubricated pineapple.

THWG
THWG

Nov 14 I come looking for a Clemson preview and find an article 5 weeks old featured on Tech's main page...nice job, ajc.


By the way, the new website is 100% awful. 

It is Nov 7 almost a full month since the Duke game.  This article is still the featured Mark Bradley article on the GT home page.


What is the matter Mark you missed one opportunity to bad mouth Tech, you see they have played three games since Tech and lost one of them to UNC.  Where is the bad PR Mark??


Of course we also won two games as well but we know Mark would never waste his time writing about a GT win.


AJC.com is such a looser.  Should change the name to the Athens Journal and Constitution. 

Dawg350
Dawg350

North Carolina take shirt off and swing it around like a helicopter!!! 48-43! Hahahahahaha! Tech is fools gold just like the color of their helmets!!! Go dawgs!

GTPhenom
GTPhenom

There are two ways real GT fans can look at yesterday's game. First and foremost, let's make it clear: The Jackets played *terribly* yesterday. By far their worst game of the year. But, there are positives that can be taken from that. So many of the things that happened yesterday were self inflicted wounds. Horribly timed penalties, poor ball protection leading to turnovers, and a lack of execution on option plays probably directly resulted in at least half of Duke's points, if not more. Reality is, take away a questionable targeting call, a horribly timed offsides on a punt, and a catch that was called a no-catch, and the Jackets may have come away with the victory. These are not hard things for a team to fix. They are nothing more than mental errors that well-coached teams fix.


Now . . . the other side of things, is looking at the track record of this team. Yes, the officiating was questionable yesterday. Yes, the Jackets hurt themselves more than anything else. But the Jackets can't put together a complete game. Every game, the Jackets have had stretches where they've looked terrible (first quarter against Miami, first half against VT, second half against Southern), and that suggests a lack of focus and leadership. The best teams don't have these kinds of problems.


So what do we conclude? I'm going to personally say this. The team had a much better start than I think almost anyone predicted. But many of those wins were by a razor's edge. This team is at a turning point in it's season. Lose next week at UNC, and I think the season could start to fall apart. Win, and I think we have a chance to keep making the push forward.


I'll make one last comment: I didn't personally think this team could win more than six or seven games. I thought best case scenario was seven wins with maybe one win over the big four. This team, at least to this point, has exceeded my expectations, and has every chance to do MUCH better than what I expected. So let's not all completely lose it, and act like the season is over because of one loss. The Jackets still have every chance to be a great team this year.

kenstallings
kenstallings

Time for some blunt honesty.  Georgia Tech lost at home to Duke for one primary reason -- they are not a good football team!  Tech played nobody of consequence and managed to enjoy a weak opening schedule where their toughest game was on the road at Virginia Tech, a team that itself is enjoying a relatively weak slate of opponents.


The ACC's division is so terribly skewed and has been for a long time.  Without question, the two best ACC teams are Clemson and Florida State, both in the Atlantic Division.  This leaves the Coastal Division as a collection of relative weak sisters who get to vie for the distinction of who loses the fewest games for the honor of facing the winner of the Atlantic Division for a chance to steal the conference title.


Georgia Tech squeaked their way into the lower regions of the national rankings because too many voters put record ahead of competition.  Clemson fell out of the national rankings because they lost road games at Georgia and Florida State.  So, we are supposed to believe Tech is a better football team than Clemson?  That's the easiest question there is.  


Duke is not an elite football team either, but they are a good team.  


Going forward, we will see how good Georgia Tech really is.  Road games at UNC and Pittsburgh will tell the tale, and if it reveals that Tech is merely a decent team, then they will struggle mightily at home versus Clemson and on the road at Georgia.

OOH-IO
OOH-IO

Only 44,000 for a "big" conference game?  Wow.

Realisticfan
Realisticfan

All your Techies, QUIT COMPLAINING.  If anyone had offered you a 5-1 record after 6 games there is not 1 single one of you who would not have taken it and felt like you were stealing.  

HabDawg
HabDawg

Did you really think that Tech was any good? Let's be honest here folks they got an unbelievable break to beat Southern and Tulane and Wofford gave them a run. Come on people. Virginia Tech is average at best and so is Miami. Beating those 2 doesn't make you a top 25 team. You can't look at 5-0 and think somebody is quality. You have to dig deeper. Clemson will beat you and the trip to Athens will be a nightmare. Oh well at least you got to enjoy the spotlight for a week. Enjoy your L in Chapel Hill next week. GO DAWGS!!! 

Peachs
Peachs

The refereeing was questionable in this one. The momentum between that and a time lapse for weather for a team that was hitting speed bumps already for spearing that was not and a catch that was and call not, put a lot of thinking time on Thomas which as a freshman is not good. Also Duke is not Duke which no one can get use to. This team blocked and played defense as well as anyone we played all year. How this team lost to Miami is the bigger mystery to me, they are very fast and well coached. Maybe the refs in Miami helped Miami that time and owed them one.

GTBee
GTBee

Typical Tech. Somehow get to 5-0. Get ranked. Have Duke up next to go 6-0. And lose. This is why we will never be taken seriously while Johnson is still coach.

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

Tech has no business playing FSU in the title game. A sense of shame at this point is appropriate.

drydirtroad
drydirtroad

Tech better adjust to the better team play beginning with Monday practice on RB Field. We gotta play Clemson and Georgia. We should practice the shotgun mighty quick.

drydirtroad
drydirtroad

Tech cannot pass from LOS snaps against the better teams. Tech does have a shotgun. Where was it yesterday when the passing game began to reveal it was getting shut down? Tech sticks with a game plan I guess, but needs to be able to adjust way, way better. For instance, when Duke passed, Tech should have adjusted and blitzed on about every play.

drydirtroad
drydirtroad

Gotta hand it to Duke, their running game outdid Tech's, and usually right up the middle.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@kenstallings Ken, and i understand that Bob has covered this beautifully. How the hell can Duke be a good team and Tech is a bad team? Miami spanked Duke........right?.........we handled Miami pretty easy in my opinion, but we are a bad team in a conference that looks a lot like the SEC least....................troll on dwag.

GTPhenom
GTPhenom

@kenstallings Tech played their worst game of the season, and lost to a good team. News flash, that's what happens to any team. We basically, as Bob said, turned the ball over four times in this game, and still lost by one TD (although the comeback was against a very soft defense, let us note). Tech followed up one of their best games of the season, with clearly their worst. That happens to teams sometimes. Assuming you are actually a GT fan, just look at 2009. I remember all of the doom and gloom after the Miami game that year. The Jackets went on to win 8 straight, win eleven games, and take home an ACC crown. One loss does not define a season.

GTBob
GTBob

@kenstallings "Duke is not an elite football team either, but they are a good team."

So Tech is a bad football team and Duke is a good one. Never mind that Duke needed three turnovers from GT, and a penalty on a punt that was basically another turnover to win by less than a touchdown. Never mind that Duke got killed by Miami and GT handled Miami with ease. You are right, GT just isn't anywhere close to the awesome team that Duke is. Fine logic at its best. It isn't even possible that Tech just played a bad game. That is just crazy talk.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@OOH-IO Not as bad as losing in front of 100,000 or so.................still a loss.

GTBob
GTBob

@OOH-IO It doesn't matter how good Duke is or if the game against them is important. They have no fans, and the game against them is never going to generate any excitement at all. Add in the fact that it is fall break at GT and the attendance is pretty predictable. I actually would have guessed it would be even less.

buztech
buztech

@HabDawg Gee, ugag was lucky to beat UT and the Mizzou offense was a complete no show yesterday.  Enjoy your L in Little Rock next week you troll.

GTBob
GTBob

@HabDawg So all of the teams we played so far are awful and we got really lucky in every one of those games. In reality, we are one of the worst teams in football history. Got it.

Realisticfan
Realisticfan

@Peachs Why is it that with Tech its always the REFS fault.  You can bash me but with Tech they always blame the refs.  In truth, Ga Southern should have blamed the refs for their loss to Tech. Did you give the Refs credit for that victory?

GTBob
GTBob

@GTBee Would we have been taken more seriously if we had started 3-2?

GTBob
GTBob

@Iluvnutella If Tech earns their way there then they deserve to be there. Nobody from the SEC east has any business playing in the SEC championship either but it is going to happen.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@Iluvnutella You're right NuttButter, idiot was a little harsh..........i would have said "stupid" and you and the other trolls don't worry, at the end of the season GT will still have a richer Football history than the Dawgs or whoever ya'll support. Didn't you jump on that Gus Bus?

Teaching350
Teaching350

@Iluvnutella So WHO should face FSU then you freaking idiot? If a Team wins the Coastal then they deserve to play the Atlantic winner.

GTBob
GTBob

@drydirtroad Duke only passed the ball 25 times and we did blitz several of those plays. Once again, please try watching the game. 

Peachs
Peachs

@drydirtroad Did not think of that but now that you say it I agree with you.  We should do some more play actions under center, that is what Duke has noticed about us and the blocking is not very good runnng out of a under center formation when we pass.  . 

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@drydirtroad Basically DDR, teams crap their pants from time to time even at home.........now did you watch Mizzou yesterday?..........did that look like a team that could go to Columbia SC and beat CSS?............................bad day at the office. Just a game.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@drydirtroad Duke won the Coastal last year and should have beaten A&M, did you think there was no chance we might lose this game?.......................................we played a sloppy game and lost, man up and quit whining............................like blogging with a bunch of damn kids.

forexbomb
forexbomb

@GTBob @kenstallings I think GT just played a bad game...  I have said this before.. GT can NEVER take a Saturday off, against anybody.. We could lose every game we have left, or we could win every game... Well, I shouldn't get carried away.. We can win every game with the exception of Clemson and UGA...  They are way above our talent level....  Don't get me wrong GTBob, anything can happen, but the odds are totally against GT beating Clemson and UGA... IMHO...

RuePaulJohnson
RuePaulJohnson

@gtcaryd @Iluvnutella

A richer FB history before the Korean War was completed, yeah right?

Modern-day CFB among most fans is what happened post 1964 or the last 50 years.

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

@Teaching350  nice name calling............well,  I would say Duke should (again). They are the ones who came onto the Flats and took a big fat dump on our carpet. Now go help Fish-fry clean it up.

GTBee
GTBee

Prob Duke no?

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@RuePaulJohnson You make a good point, most dawg fans would love to just recognize those years............you got a long way to go to catch the Jackets troll.

420 bulldwag
420 bulldwag

@Iluvnutella  why not spell out your entire name?

Iluvnutsonafella!  that certainly explains a lot!

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@drydirtroad 

You expose your stupidity every time you post

Duke had more rushes (47) than pass attempts (26).  They had more rushing yards (242 vs 131) and more yards per rush (5.1) than per pass (5.0). 

drydirtroad
drydirtroad

@gtcaryd @drydirtroad Duke got beat by us last year, and then became ACC champs; no, I had aplomb about the outcome, but you're right about playing a sloppy game