The best year of the Paul Johnson era was 2014. This experienced Yellow Jacket team was virtually one game away from (probably) earning a spot in the college football playoffs, but despite coming up short in the ACC Championship, there are plenty of reasons why 2014 was the best season we’ve seen yet under CPJ.
The first three games of the 2014 season were nothing short of concerning. Despite a 3-0 start, Wofford, Tulane, and Georgia Southern all appeared to give the Jackets issues on both sides of the ball. Looking back at it, no one would’ve imagined the 2014 team would end up being the best of the Paul Johnson era, but after a road win against Virginia Tech followed by a white-out victory over Miami, fans became hopeful. That is until two straight losses to Duke and UNC ruined the Jackets 5-0 start and took the spotlight off Georgia Tech – but Paul Johnson wasn’t done winning. The 2014 Yellow Jackets wrapped up their season with five straight wins, including a 28-6 beat down of the Clemson Tigers and a 2OT win over the Bulldogs in Athens.
The win streak put Paul Johnson’s playoff dark horses at 11th in the country before going to play Florida State in the ACC Championship. The Jackets looked great but ultimately fell to the undefeated defending national champs by just two points. Despite the loss, Georgia Tech was still invited to play Mississippi state in the Capital One Orange Bowl. Mississippi State was arguably the best team in the SEC West in the 2014 season, so winning the Orange Bowl was no simple task – but Justin Thomas sure made it look easy. The MVP rushed for three touchdowns and Georgia Tech capped off an incredible season with a 49-34 win over the seventh-ranked Bulldogs.