Monday, October 19, 2009

GEORGIA TECH JUMPS UP TO NO. 11

After defeating then No. 4 Virginia Tech with an overwhelming display offensive fireworks and some pretty good defense, Georgia Tech shot up 11 spots in the polls and is now looking to be the ACC’s benchmark squad with its highest ranking since 2001. The Yellow Jackets are 12th in the first BCS standings.

Georgia Tech (6-1, 4-1 ACC) posted their first victory at home over a top-five team since 1962, and the way they did it was definitely a throwback to an era when offenses such as the wishbone and veer ruled the college football landscape.

In doing so, Tech has clearly demonstrated that coach Paul Johnson’s funky spread-option offense is more than just a gimmick.

Throwing, of course, had nothing to do with it. Georgia Tech put the ball in the air a grand total of seven times. The Hokies caught as many (an interception by Dorian Porch) as the Yellow Jackets (whose lone completion was Nesbitt’s 51-yard throw to Demaryius Thomas in the second quarter).

Not to worry. With Bud Fosters’ lunch pale crew focused on stopping running back Jonathan Dwyer up the middle and A-backs Anthony Allen and Roddy Jones from getting loose on the outside, quarterback Josh Nesbitt kept carrying the ball himself. He ran it 23 times for 122 yards, the last of them a 39-yard touchdown run to seal the victory with 3 minutes remaining.

In all, the Yellow Jackets ran 63 times for 309 yards—all but 37 of those yards coming after Johnson made a few subtle adjustments at halftime, taking advantage of a defense that he said never changed the way it played the option.
For Virginia Tech, it was a long fall. The Hokies (5-2, 3-1) tumbled 11 places to No. 15 and likely doomed their national championship hopes with a second loss in Atlanta.

Coach Frank Beamer said his defense got into a “little bit of a guessing game” trying to stop Georgia Tech’s offense, and wound up guessing wrong a bunch of times after halftime. Over the last two quarters, the Yellow Jackets ran 42 times for 272 yards—a staggering 6.5 yards per carry.

Next up for Georgia Tech is Coastal Division leader Virginia. The Yellow Jackets have lost eight straight games in Charlottesville since a 1990 win helped catapult them to a share of the national title.

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