One heck of a Tech win, one ugly UGA loss

Georgia Tech running back Qua Searcy (1) dives into the end zone for a game-tying touchdown against Georgia in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, in Athens, Ga. Georgia Tech won 28-27. (Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Qua Searcy for the win. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

ATHENS — Yeah, I picked Georgia Tech to win. Full disclosure, though: When the Yellow Jackets were halted on fourth-and-4 with 11:58 left, I figured that prediction — like one or two others — was gone with the wind. Georgia had established itself as the better team. The Bulldogs had outscored Tech 20-0, outgained it 368 yards to 243. Talent, as talent often does, was holding sway.

Final score: Tech 28, Georgia 27.

As I’ve written elsewhere, the more gifted team did not win. The tougher team did. The smarter team did. The Bulldogs will spend days if not months if not decades wondering how this one got away, but the cold truth is that Tech snatched it from them.

If we go by ESPN’s win probability graph, Georgia had a 97.4 percent chance of prevailing after Qua Searcy was dropped for a 7-yard loss on fourth down. This was an odd little inside handoff, not a staple of Paul Johnson’s offense. It had become clear — or it seemed to have become clear — that Georgia had tinkered with its defense, which was shredded early, and found a way to stop the option. And when a play that Tech doesn’t run every week or every month goes for minus-7 after a third-down lateral to a backup offensive tackle goes nowhere … well, you figured the Jackets were out of ideas.

But they weren’t. Georgia went three-and-out for the only time all game. (Say this for Ted Roof’s defenders: They don’t stonewall anybody, but they do pick their moments.) Backed up to its 6 — and then its 4 — Justin Thomas hit two long passes off play-action. The game was again afoot. And when, after Dedrick Mills’ touchdown, Jacob Eason threw behind Terry Godwin, whose reaching hands deflected the ball to Tech’s Lance Austin, Tech was positioned to win the darn thing, 97.4 percent be hanged.

When I say that the more talented team didn’t win, that’s not to suggest this game had the wrong outcome. Georgia left the door ajar. Tech stormed through. That’s football. Tech mightn’t have had a Nick Chubb or a Sony Michel, but it had the better team by season’s end. (Hey, it’s why I picked the Jackets to win.) I wouldn’t have thought this possible back in August, but there it is.

As for the coaches: Paul Johnson had a heck of a lot better Year 9 at Tech than Kirby Smart did his Year 1 at Georgia. (Johnson also had himself a pretty fair Year 1 back in 2008, if memory serves. Won here, I do believe.) Not that everything revolves around yours truly, but I picked Tech to go 7-5. It went 8-4, having won five of its final six. I picked Georgia to go 10-2. It went 7-5.

For much of this game, you could see that the Bulldogs had enough manpower to have done better than 7-5. For reasons unknown and perhaps unknowable, they didn’t. They lost twice at home as favorites. They lost to Vanderbilt. They led Tech by 13 points with 6 1/2 minutes remaining and couldn’t win.

Smart’s story has only begun to be written, but this wasn’t an auspicious beginning. He’ll recruit well and his talent base will be restored to the usual exalted level soon enough, but the offense — even though it mustered 402 yards Saturday — was a stop-and-start (or start-and-stop) contraption.

When Georgia needed to run clock and kill the game, Eason threw poorly on second-and-8 and saw the game change. When Georgia needed to sling it long over the final 30 seconds, the freshman with the big arm could managed completions of 8 and 6 yards. Had Smart and Jim Chaney learned nothing from Joshua Dobbs and Jauan Jennings?

As for Johnson: There’s no better way to impress a new boss (who happens to be a Tech man) than to beat Georgia in Athens. If this wasn’t quite the bounceback from 3-9 that Johnson expected — his team was only 4-4 in ACC play — it ended pretty darn well.

Even fuller disclosure: When it was 27-13 and fourth-and-4 had failed, I thought, “This is probably the worst Georgia team we’ll see for a while; if Tech can’t do better than this, that doesn’t augur well for 2017 and beyond.” Then Tech up and took the doggone game. Meaning: Even a guy who thought he saw it coming didn’t quite see this coming. Heck of a win.

Reader Comments 0

81 comments
KBP
KBP

Jim Chaney has been the problem with this whole year except the Ole Miss game. Why did it take so long to stop running up the middle when clearly the O-line was getting whipped in most every game this season? Why not throw more screen passes to beat the pass rush? Greyson Lambert could have led us to 7 wins and allowed Eason to redshirt to work on his decision making an accuracy on deep balls. Enough about the receivers. They struggled because of coaching decisions/play calling. When it's third and 7, it's a safe assumption that a pass play is coming and if I know that, then surely a salaried defensive coordinator knows that. There is more than enough talent on both sides of the ball to beat TN, Vandy, and Tech. Tell me how Terry Godwin does not have a better sophomore season than his freshman season if it's not because of Coley's and Chaney's philosophy. Why the obsession with receivers who can block? Most great receivers are not great blockers and yes there are exceptions. Bottom line- it's Chaney and because Smart hired him, it's Smart too. I'm all in with Smart but done with Chaney. Maybe Colorado State fires Bobo and Smart hires him.

Dawgcatcher
Dawgcatcher

No crying. Tech "won" the game. Congratulations! Tech players wanted the game more. No surprise, Tech had better coaches. Three DC and we couldn't come up with a plan to stop them with a commanding lead and less than seven minutes left. I tip my hat to this coaching staff and McGarity!! We'll be in this position again.

Dawgonnit
Dawgonnit

This is why is hard to go against Johnson's triple option...it looks ugly then you look at the scoreboard and you're still in the game. Even the earlier losses with Clemson, Miami, UNC if the ball bounces Tech's way they are in the game with 10 minutes left. Have to admit to eating Turkey as I didn't think Johnson's offense could do it with the attrition on the line and freshman playing and passing game that was unpredictable..  Also the defense has started to show some big play promise again.  Johnson may be right in that he has evaluated talent different but with the option talent is different as GA. found out. Last year has now been turned around.

GreyWind
GreyWind

This game was indicative of the whole season. My dawgs were out played, out coached, and outSmarted. Well Mark you got your wish, no more "boring" 10-2 seasons. Do you think we traded up now in coaching staff? The guy who deserves a medal on the team is Greyson Lambert who loyally stuck by as a backup and was never called in as a freshman made a lot of freshman mistakes when the games were on the line this season. Well hopefully the freshman can learn from this season and go forward. We will not know till this time next year.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Ugly losses are side by side in the loss column with pretty losses. Same with ugly wins......but, you all know that.


Tech won it....Georgia lost it. The Dawgs will be back....Tech...not likely!

Lochness
Lochness

Indeed, sir, a hell of a hell of a win.

I feel bad for Kirby. He'll feel this sting for years.  But he'll be a good coach for UGA.  He's just getting his first-year head-coach britches on.   He'll do good in the long run.

Until then, sting 'em you nasty swarming bees!

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

I do not want to be a DAWGS fan anymore -- they stink bad.  I want to be an Alabama fan now -- the people of Georgia deserve better than Kirby Not So Smart and this so called football program

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

At this point I would campaign for Bobby Petrino over what we have now -- I want to win now & do not care about the long run & I hate the excuses for a young team --these so called young guys at UGA cannot get the job done they proved it this yr

JKToole
JKToole

@PissOnThemDogs Johnson is 3-6 vs UGA in his tenure at Tech (those wins combined for a 9 point difference). He lost  5 years in a row from 2009-13. Relax, Francis.  He's never beaten UGA on his own home field and is only 3-2 in Athens. Not exactly Hall of Fame numbers.

ErksRRTrackDog8
ErksRRTrackDog8

Because of constantly hearing the despicable vile taunts along with the relentless public persecution of Mark Richt for his Christian faith...i for one am SO HAPPY the techies beat UGA today. These same "fans" of UGA metaphorically (if not literally)  fondle themselves thinking of 16 and 17 yr old football players coming to play for "their" team - it is embarrassing but they are too ignorant to realize it. 

Those same "fans" when those young men don't come to UGA or do and don't perform as they deem adequate - post demeaning hateful comments on internet boards.That sort of behavior makes me ashamed to be a human being (much less a UGA supporter)

I don't have any idea if Kirby Smart will be a huge success at UGA. I guess it depends on what your definition of success is. 

What i do know for a FACT is that McGarity (he has made SO MANY great administrative moves eh?) threw an exemplary American (along with a very good football coach) under the bus. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of young men living productive inspiring lives in America today who will say CMR played a huge positive role in their development as gentlemen citizens. As for me i will take 9 football wins, a clean program, and a coach who helps young men win at LIFE every damn day...Just look around America today and you will see we need far more Mark Richts coaching at every level...  

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@ErksRRTrackDog8  If you think being pretty good is acceptable than CMR's record is fine for you.  Everyone knows CMR is a heck of a fine American, Christian and gentleman, but the UGA fan base wants what Alabama, LSU, Florida & Auburn have accomplished in this century -- a National Championship or two and in Alabama's case more.   Kirby Smart is a bust though and he needs to go now -- get someone who will win now cause patience is for losers and its not a game for choir boys

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

One heck of a Tech win, one ugly UGA loss, you contradict your own self if Georgia played ugly then Tech got lucky. So what are you trying to say as usual Bradley you are a terrible writer

Mulk
Mulk

@SouthGeorgiaStrong


Tech has to be well coached to even stay in a game with UGAG. Allowing Tech to stay close is an ugly coaching job. Ergo, heck of a Tech win and ugly UGAG loss.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

Looking at the front page of this mornings AJC. Small headline at the top of the paper in black and white with no picture on the front page! Sports page has few articles buried inside. The AJC plays favorites as do the local news, esp channel 2. Was the game too late in the day to give better coverage of a TECH WIN?????


THWG

YellowJacket7879
YellowJacket7879

@Mulk @RoadScholar  The headline for a UGA win would be (and has been) on the front page saying "DAWGs Run This State".  Instead, the front page doesn't even tell you who won.

Mulk
Mulk

@RoadScholar


A noon kickoff is kinda late for a UGAG loss. However, plenty of time to report a 3:30 kickoff against Auburn.

Hunk
Hunk

It was a good win for Tech and the win over Vandy is looking better all the time too.

RCW77
RCW77

Eason should have been pulled Smart just gave up on this season


FlatTire
FlatTire

@TOJacket the punter? we already tried that multiple times but thanks


again pulled for who?

bobbyross1990
bobbyross1990

Where's bigmacondawg? Time to pay the piper and suck it up buttercup. You have been running your mouth all season. Now, bend over and take it like a man! WE RUN THIS STATE!

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@bobbyross1990  12 of 13 too.  Although I am convinced his blog name is actually his class position in middle school.

GtKpt
GtKpt

Mark, thank you for several very kind, objective, and a bit humble reports on the game, and commentary about the Jackets.

Peachs
Peachs

The game got feisty, Georgia plays that promo video on the big board between the third and fourth quarter switch.  I looked down and every Georgia Tech player and coach were watching it with steam coming off the heads. It was like Tech forgot why they hated these guys and Georgia reminded them going into the fourth.  They were like an old man coming off his death bed, saying "I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm good once as I ever was!"



Mulk
Mulk

@Peachs


You have some experience with older men?

RLS7571
RLS7571

Perhaps what you saw in this game was the difference between 4 and 5 star look at me players and the kids that may not be as talented but really come to play.

CKPA1
CKPA1

uga fans will be butt hurt for the next year.......  Gotta love it.

Mulk
Mulk

Van Gorda is a genius.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Mulk Maybe that's why he is unemployed! UGA should stop payment on his check!

Tommy Trojan
Tommy Trojan

"Stylized offense," Mark. You forgot "stylized offense."

797979
797979

...ugly win....ugliest 8 win team in the country.....but they beat Georgia.....Beautiful......364 days of heaven.....

TOJacket
TOJacket

Ugly win...get lost troll.

Under-Educated White Guy
Under-Educated White Guy

Any team that releases its coach after going 10-3 its last 2 seasons deserves what it gets.  

TOJacket
TOJacket

I think he might be right. Kirby looks...well, not like a head coach.

FlatTire
FlatTire

@MaybeMaybeNot @FlatTire @Under-educated White Guy um yea; I was sick and tired of 9-10 win seasons with


0 SEC championships

10 of 11 seasons with at least 1 loss by 18 or more points

Meaningless bowl games to Shreveport Charolette Jacksonville Tampa and Memphis over and over

Never beating every SEC east team in same year when the SEC East has been abysmal since the late 90's

a horrible record against the top 10

and a bad record against the top 25

Consistently losing to your main rival Florida over and over


So yea I don't celebrate 9-10 win seasons just like I don't celebrate 7-8 wins


they are both forgettable and you don't get rings or banners for either one

FlatTire
FlatTire

@TechParrothead yea I did; please tell me why someone should be paid $4million a year to win 9-10 games in a state that sends more players to the NFL than 46 other states?


and read my other comment below

FlatTire
FlatTire

I agree with finding an experienced head coach. But please save me the lectures on how great 9- 10 win seasons are. They are as forgettable as 6 win seasons

Jacket Detective
Jacket Detective

OK firing Richt was the right call but you have to hire someone better.

That is where your strategy fails.

Spurrier trained as the Duke head coach and so was ready to take over at Florida.

Smart lacks the head coaching experience he needs and so may take a year or two to get the hang of it.

I gather Dawg fans wished he got his training finished first before they grabbed him.

Mulk
Mulk

@Jacket Detective


Ding! Ding! We have a winner. Good post! Nothing wrong with a coordinator going to a smaller program and proving himself. Otherwise, the hiring program is buying a pig in a poke.


If UGAG is all that it is purported to be by some folks around here, then they could have gotten a proven hire.


TechParrothead
TechParrothead

FlatTire, if you think the Dawgs did the right thing letting Richt go, you have more issues than a FlatTire.

Dad2Three
Dad2Three

@TOJacket But he is making $4M per year.  Why do you pay someone $4M who has never been a head coach?!

Dad2Three
Dad2Three

@FlatTire Flat Tire, You need to lower your expectations, like us Tech fans, and you won't be so disappointed.  Although, given all of the top 10 recruiting  classes, the 4 and 5 star recruits and the NFL players, I can kind of see you point.