Here is the reality of the Yellow Jackets 31-25 loss to the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday, it was bound to happen after beating Duke 10-straight times. Turnovers will kill your teams chances of winning every time. Georgia Tech can use this game to refocus.
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This game came at the perfect time for Georgia Tech. They had earned a ranking for the first time since 2011, came off of two huge wins beating VA Tech and Miami, and were facing a Duke team that came in to Bobby Dodd Stadium with all the incentive in the world to beat Georgia Tech.
The incentive for Duke was clear. They were going in to Atlanta to snap a losing streak to the Jackets plus defeat a ranked team which is always an added bonus.
Factor in that this is a huge Coastal Division game, and this game was a whole lot bigger than what pundits had advertised.
After all of the trash talk between Duke head coach David Cutcliffe and Jackets coach Paul Johnson, you knew that this game was going to have intensity.
It was not like Georgia Tech was severely outplayed, if they were outplayed at all.
Tech held the ball slightly longer than Duke in time of possession with the Jackets owning the ball for 30:16 to the Blue Devils’ 29:44.
The Jackets held the edge in total offense 483-373 over Duke, and they were more efficient on third downs converting 7 of 11 to Duke’s 6 of 13.
That is why this game came down purely to taking care of the football. Two inceptions and a fumble will disrupt any momentum that the offense is building and Tech managed to do that.
Zach Laskey and Justin Thomas have been pretty steady when it comes to taking care of the ball and this is the first game where any complaints could be made.
No one is going to make the excuse that the ankle injury sustained by Justin Thomas in the first half contributed to the two picks being thrown. Turnovers are turnovers, and they can’t be committed.
Paul Johnson was very clear about how he felt about those turnovers and did not make any excuses either according to the Boston Herald:
That is why this game is a blessing in disguise. Forget about the fact that the Yellow Jackets lost their first game of the year and that Duke was able to get their first win in Atlanta over the Yellow Jackets since 1994, Tech needed a game that could bring them down to earth some.
That is not to say that Tech was getting full of themselves, but sometimes taking a loss is what is needed to get refocused for the rest of the year.
The Jackets are still 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the Coastal Division which is a good position to be in through six games.
Georgia Tech will go on the road next to Chapel Hill and take on the North Carolina Tar Heels who are still in need of getting their first ACC win of the year.
This upcoming game is going to teach Georgia Tech fans a lot about their team.
It is going to be interesting to see how the Yellow Jackets respond after a loss. A road win over the Tar Heels would not only get the Jackets back on track, but could also be a strong indicator of how the rest of this season could unfold.
Losing to Duke could be a blessing in disguise if the Jackets get back on track in a hurry against North Carolina.
No one wants to see this loss have a snowball effect on the rest of the season. But as resilient as the Yellow Jackets have been to this point, the chances of this snowballing are very slim.