After yet another historic performance from the Georgia Tech offense on Thursday night, we take a moment to identify our players of the game following the 49-28 win over Virginia Tech where the Jackets played the “Hokie Pokie” and turned their season around.
Offense: Tobias Oliver
This was an easy decision as Oliver started for the first time in his career and was stunning, carrying the ball 40 times for 215 total yards which are the most yards by any player in the ACC this season. His offensive line was opening holes the entire evening and he knew exactly what to do with them. From my perspective, his most impressive play came in the first half when he avoided taking a sack on a huge third-down play on a drive that Georgia Tech needed to stay shot for shot with Virginia Tech. I expressed doubt over what type of impact Oliver would have this season, but after Thursday night I may have to rethink everything.
Defense: All of them
In the first Quarter, Virginia Tech scored 21 points and over 220 yards of offense. In the rest of the game, they only gained 37 yards and one garbage-time touchdown. It wasn’t a big mindset change that made it happen either. Justin Fuentes said after the game that “the only thing that changed for the defense was that two guys flipped the gaps that they were blitzing, that was it.” Georgia Tech lined up their best guys and made plays when they mattered. I think we can all agree that tackling was still a big weakness for the defense as a unit especially during the first scoring drives but overall the defense looked incredibly efficient against a good ACC team.
Special Teams: Pressley Harvin III
Harvin III only had real punts on the night but the first one proved to be a momentum changer for the Jackets in a sort of strange series. The first kick was called back due to a penalty on VT. The second one was called back for a false start on GT, and finally, the third one was muffed by the VT return man and recovered by the Jalen Johnson inside the 15.
To put it in the simplest of terms Georgia Tech suffocated Virginia Tech in time of possession, holding the ball for 42:18 to Virginia Techs 17:42 and running 79 plays to Virginia Techs 47. Efficiency was the name of the game with Georgia Tech gaining 6 yards per rush to the Hokies 4.9. A solid shot in the arm for this team going into a big game with North Carolina and Miami in the next two weeks.