The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets didn’t look anywhere near as sharp offensively as they did against Syracuse, but the defense stepped up when needed, leading the Jackets to a 35-25 win over the Virginia Cavaliers.
Miscues were the order of the day for the Yellow Jackets, who after playing a practically flawless game against the Orange just a week ago, were riddled with five turnovers and 97 yards in penalties against the Wahoos. The Jackets turned the ball over four times in the first half, including three fumbles near midfield, but the Cavaliers were unable to really take advantage of the Georgia Tech mistakes.
The game started off quickly for the Yellow Jackets, who took the ball 73 yards on their first possession to score a touchdown in just over a minute, capped off with a Davis Sims 36-yard run into the endzone. From that point on, it was a football follies highlight reel for the Jackets offensively in the first half.
But despite all the bumbling around on offense, the Georgia Tech defense stood their ground and managed to keep the Jackets in the lead, as Virginia was able to muster zero points from all five Georgia Tech turnovers.
But it was two huge gambles by the Hoos that may have cost them the game, however.
After missing one field goal in the first quarter, Virginia had the ball lined up for a 32-yard FG attempt, when the Yellow Jackets jumped offside. Rather than going for the chip-shot field goal, head coach Mike London opted to go for the short yardage first down, and lost the gamble. The Cavs were stonewalled by the Tech defense and turned the ball over on downs.
Then, as the first half was expiring, Virginia had the ball at the 1-yard line, and decided to try to run into the endzone rather than lining up the field goal unit. Once again, the Tech front stiffened, and the Cavaliers were denied, as the clock ran down to zero.
Those six points (not to mention the three from the missed FG), ended up being the difference in the game.
Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson has to be happy about a win on the road in Charlottesville (which is a rarity for the Jackets) but he couldn’t be pleased about what he saw from his offense, with the exception of the running games by David Sims and Zach Laskey, who combined for four rushing touchdowns and 240 yards. Both quarterbacks, Vad Lee and Justin Thomas, had less than stellar games, both trowing interceptions and Lee giving up a fumble.
The Jackets will now return home to welcome the Pitt Panthers to the Flats, in a game that could seal the Yellow Jackets bowl eligibility for 17th straight season.