In a game that was heavily favored for Georgia Tech, The Citadel dealt a fatal blow in overtime to shock the Jacket nation with a 27-24 loss.
This loss marks only the second time that Georgia Tech has lost to an FCS team, the first coming from Furman in 1983.
The game never really felt like it was in Georgia Tech’s favor from the start. From uncharacteristic unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, to an anemic offense that just couldn’t seem to find their identity. There was no doubt that on this Saturday, The Citadel was the better team.
Things That Tech Needs To Work On
As made evident by the loss Saturday, this Georgia Tech team has a lot holes that need to be patched. And soon. Coach Collins returns to Temple for their next game, which can also be a dangerous game for the Jackets. Temple won their game against 21 ranked Maryland on Saturday, proving that they are no pushover. After the Temple game, Tech really starts to get into the meat of their ACC schedule.
The offense is still a work in progress. That has been made quite evident. In the post-game interview Coach Collins stated:
"“The transition that we’ve gone through, no doubt is monumental. But every single day is a new experience to get better. This is just one of those times, a bump in the road that we’ve got to overcome. We’re going into a bye week and we will get the things rectified very quickly. The attitude, the demeanor in that locker room was appropriate. They were upset. They want to get better. They don’t want to put that kind of performance out there. So they’ll be committed to getting better when we get back to work on Tuesday.”"
This offense is clearly struggling, and Coach Collins and Offensive Coordinator Dave Patenaude must play to their players strengths. It is a complete rebuilding year, and may still take a year or two before we see Coach Collins’ vision truly come to fruition.
That being said, Patenaude’s offense, as seen on Saturday, is still a cause for concern. Even in a rebuilding year, one would think that the offense could somehow muster up more than 301 yards against an FCS team.
It would have been nice to see the Jackets throw the ball more, as they only threw the ball 13 times for 7 completions between Lucas Johnson and Tobias Oliver. Johnson went 5/10 for 91 yards and 1 touchdown, and Oliver went 2/3 for 27 yards.
It also would have been nice to see Jordan Mason get more carries. Mason continues to perform on a high platform, and this game would have matched up perfectly for him to really breakout. Mason did end the game with 2 touchdowns, but only had 11 carries. A solid, more consistent run game with Mason could have opened up more passing opportunities later in the game.
For a team like The Citadel to come into Bobby Dodd Stadium and perform their triple-option offense like they did, goes to show that Jackets just were not prepared. The triple-option is a tough offense to defend no doubt, but seeing as how the Jackets primarily ran that very offense for 11 years, one would think some of the older guys on the team would be a little more prepared to stop it.
The Citadel ended up with 350 total yards, 320 of those coming on the ground. They also averaged a whopping 4.5 average on 71 rushes. This is in part due to the fact that the Jackets offense could not stay on the field, as time of possession went way of The Citadel 41:50 to Tech’s 18:10.
Both kickers for the Jackets were not exempt from this debacle either. After the Jackets first touchdown, kicker Wesley Wells missed the PAT, in which later the Jackets converted a 2-point conversion to even the odds. Kicker Brenton King made a time expiring 34 yard field goal to send the game into overtime, but on the Jackets first possession he missed a 46 yard field goal that would have put the Jackets up 27-24.
Coming into this game, Georgia Tech had only 4 penalties between their last two games. That quickly changed as Tech racked up two unsportsmanlike penalties on the same drive, one following a sack and one following an interception. The Jackets totaled out with 5 penalties for 55 yards.
Positives Coming Out Of The Game
In a game that was extremely difficult to watch, and quite frankly shocking, it can be tough to find positives. Fortunately, there are a couple of things that the Jackets can look at to keep their heads held high.
Linebacker David Curry had quite an impressive game. Curry racked up 14 tackles, 1 sack and 1 interception. When asked about Curry post-game, Coach Collins had this to say:
"“He kept it together, kept changing the calls, kept getting us lined up. So, I’m proud of him. David Curry is a battler. He is a warrior. He’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever been blessed to coach. Highly intelligent, high character, high-care factor, and it’s a blessing every single day that I walk into this building and get to coach David Curry, along with every single one of the players on our team.”"
Quarterback Tobias Oliver didn’t have many stats as far as throwing the ball, going 2/3 with 27 yards, but he got a lot of work done on the ground. Oliver was Tech’s leading rusher in the game, rushing for 92 yards on 11 carries, and an 8.4 average.
Oliver also played huge dividends on special teams. He had two kick returns for a total of 92 yards, his longest coming in at 52 yards which helped set up the game-tying field goal at the end of regulation.
This game was not pretty. It left a lot of unanswered questions that Coach Collins and Dave Patenaude will surely address during the teams upcoming bye week. Although it is extremely alarming and fairly disappointing, the biggest challenge is yet to come. Hopefully the teams and coaches can get most of these kinks out during their off-week, come up strong against Temple, and then go on to make some noise in their ACC stretch. One can hope…right?
All quotes are from RamblinWreck.com, the official website of Georgia Tech athletics.