Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Missed Opportunities Cost Georgia Tech Chance At Season Changing Upset

Virginia Tech grabbed early control of the Coastal Division race late Monday night with a 20-17 win in OT over Georgia Tech.

The Hokies now have essentially a two game division lead over the Yellow Jackets and the winner of this game has appeared in the ACC Championship Game each of the seven years of divisional alignment.

Here is how Frank Beamer notched his FBS leading 252nd win and 7th over the Yellow Jackets.

* Paul Johnson said this offensive line was his best yet in Atlanta. Either he was mistaken or the Virginia Tech defensive line is very, very good. Hokie defenders blew up the middle all night preventing any of three GT B-Backs from getting anything going.

* If the former is true and the Jackets cannot get the B-Back going this year, it will be a long, long year. The dive or option to the B-Back is the bread and butter play of Johnson's spread option offense.

* Logan Thomas? Not a top overall pick type night. He was not under pressure very much and over threw numerous balls. But when a loss looked imminent, he put the throws on target including a 4th down conversion to move into field goal range (more on that below).

* Hokies won the total yardage (326 vs 288) and yards per play battle (4.5 vs 4.1). Teams that do that usually win.

* Pundits will point to the lack of success for Georgia Tech when opponents have time to prepare. That was not nearly as much of a factor as Virginia Tech having a really good defense (nearly every year).

* Tevin Washington will take A LOT of blame for this loss (more on that below). Calls will be made for Vad Lee. Maybe Lee can just run over 300 lb DTs in his face, but I doubt it. Washington made one bad (and it was really bad) throw but the game should not have to come that for Georgia Tech. The Georgia Tech safety that tried to make a big play on 4th down and missed the tackle allowing the play to get into field goal range, but you won't read about that on any GT message boards or hear on sports radio.

* HOWEVER, GT has 2 more division games in the month of September (home vs Viginia, Miami). If they lose another one I think Vad Lee will see A LOT more playing time the rest of the season with a shot at conference title all but gone with two division losses.

* The Georgia Tech defense played much better tonight than the whole of last season, but lack of play makers still very evident. No Derrick Morgan type on the edge. No Vance Walker plugging the middle. No Morgan Burnett in the secondary.

* Georgia Tech missed a lot of blocks but one in particular will be especially painful to watch in the film room. In his only snap of the game, strong running QB Synjyn Days ran a draw on third down. The lead blocker missed his block and Days was stopped short creating a field goal instead of a first down inside the 15.

* All off season, Georgia Tech talked about their 2-5 finish to the season and tiring late in games. The Yellow Jackets hired a new strength coach (as I said was needed) and proclaimed a new attitude. Game one did not succeed in these areas.

* If you have to roll up the loss for Paul Johnson's team it comes down to missed blocks nearly the whole game and missed tackles on the last drive. (Here is the "more on that below" finish) The play resulting in an interception in OT should have never occurred. The Hokies went 50 yards in 38 seconds including three plays which netted just six yards. Good and well conditioned defenses don't let that happen.

Now onto some Georgia Tech stats under Paul Johnson:
* Johnson is now 33-20 (34-20 on the field) at Georgia Tech, but just 14-13 in the two plus seasons following a (vacated) ACC title in 2009. The lack of elite talent is catching up to a very good Xs and Os coach.

* Georgia Tech is just 1-8 under Johnson when scoring less than 20 points while they also fall to 10-3 when the opponents scores <=20.

* The Yellow Jackets are now 7-13 under Johnson when they have less total offense than their opponents.

* GT opponents are off to another good start in penalty yardage as the Hokies were called for just 15 yards on Monday night; opponents of GT were the least penalized in the nation last year with just 28 ypg.

* Georgia Tech is now 8-4 ATS as an away underdog under Paul Johnson.

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