Even being a 9-point underdog on Saturday, Tech should have put up more of a fight against Temple in Coach Collins’ return to Philadelphia.
Tech struggled from the very beginning of the game. Even while being an underdog in this game, coming off of a BYE week one would expect Tech to play in this game better than they have all year. Instead, they looked quite possibly the worst they have all year.
Saturday was the first game that the Jackets could not find the end-zone since playing LSU in the 2008 Chick-Fil-A Bowl. That game resulted in a 38-3 loss.
They are still searching for their offensive identity, seemingly to look more anemic and suspect every week. Temple completely outplayed the Jackets in every aspect of the game. Even when driving the ball into Owl territory, the Jackets managed to find a way to turn the ball over instead of finding the end-zone.
Things That Tech Needs to Work On
As the evidence from Saturday’s game shows, the Jackets and offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude need to seriously work on their offense. The Jackets could not find the end-zone a single time throughout the entire game, with their only points coming by a safety in the third quarter.
After dropping the last two games against The CItadel and Temple, Tech is now getting ready to face off against North Carolina. UNC played Clemson, the number 1 ranked team in the nation, on Saturday in a close 21-20 loss.
Seemingly every week, this is the Jackets main problem. Through four weeks of the season, the Jackets offense looks more stagnant than ever. This is something that they must work on if they still want to savor the season in the ACC Coastal Division. Yes, it is still possible.
The Jacket Nation got to see more of freshman Quarterback James Graham on Saturday, as he led the Jackets in passing for 100 yards. Graham only threw for 10/24 and one interception which led to an incredibly low 9.2 QBR. Graham made some very nice passes on the run and to the sideline, but he did miss a few deep targets in the game. Graham clearly has potential, he just needs to get more playing time under his belt and get more comfortable in Patenaude’s offense.
Tobias Oliver got the start at Quarterback again on Saturday, and threw for 4/11 for 74 yards. Oliver was also the leading rusher for Tech with 11 carries for 68 yards and a 6.2 average.
Aside from Oliver, there really was not much else going on in the run department for Tech. In the Running Back spot we got to see more of freshman Dontae Smith who rushed for 35 yards on 7 carries. We also got to see more of freshman Jamious Griffin who rushed for 20 yards on 6 carries. Sophomore Jordan Mason had a very quiet day on the ground, as he only manged 8 yards on 5 carries.
Wide Receivers Ahmarean Brown and Jalen Camp both had good games on Saturday, as Brown had 3 receptions for 64 yards with a long of 42 yards, and Camp with 4 receptions for 63 yards with a long of 27 yards.
With still no clear-cut starting quarterback, Tech fans need to just wait it out with James Graham. He is clearly the best passer of the three quarterbacks, he is just going to need playing time to get adjusted to the game.
Aside from the stagnant offense, turnovers killed Tech on Saturday. Tobias Oliver fumbled the ball twice, one of those coming at the goal line, and the other when the Jackets were marching into Temple territory.
James Graham also threw a late interception, but by the time that pick was thrown the game was virtually over.
Oliver’s two fumbles came at the worse time for Tech, and without them it could have led the Jackets to a 14 point swing, as well as giving them much-needed momentum. In a game where the offense was playing so softly, it proved incredibly costly to give up turnovers when finally driving down-field.
Positives Coming Out of the Game
In a game that was very difficult to stomach, it can be hard to find many positives in the outcome. The Yellow Jacket faithful just have to hold on and trust the process. It takes time to rebuild, and it is way too early to be calling for heads. There are still a couple of things that Tech got right on Saturday.
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Where the defense covered the passing game of Temple, they gave up in the run. They managed to give up 195 total yards on the ground, 135 of them coming from freshman Running Back Re’Mahn Davis. Davis also had 2 rushing scores.
Aside from allowing the yards to Davis, Tech played a good game on defense. They were, after all, responsible for the 2 lone points on the scoreboard.
Pressley Harvin III
Not enough can be said about junior Punter Pressley Harvin III. It seems that every week Harvin puts the Jackets’ defense in prime positions. With the offense performing the way it has this season, it is really something special to have a Punter like Harvin more or less bail them out in key situations, and keep them in the game.
Harvin punted the ball 6 times on Saturday for a total of 260 yards. Harvin was also responsible for the 45 yard punt that was downed at the Temple 1 yard-line, which resulted in the safety for the Jackets.
Not looking at Oliver’s turnovers, but purely looking at his running ability, his throwing ability when needed, and his versatility as a player. Oliver is still great at making something out of nothing, and the versatility to put him in as Quarterback, slot Receiver, returning kicks, and just plain running the ball, Oliver is something special. He may not have the best arm, but his pure football playing ability is not something to overlook.
Graham may not have had the day that he wanted, but he did get to see exponentially more playing time. Practice makes perfect, or in this case being-on-the-field-and-taking-snaps makes perfect. Graham will be a good Quarterback given the time with his ability to throw on the run as he showed on Saturday. The potential in the freshman, like Oliver, is not something to overlook.
This was another disheartening loss for the Yellow Jackets. Losing back-to-back games against the likes of The Citadel and Temple can absolutely be a confidence killer. We, as fans, need to stick with the team as much as possible. There is no need to be fickle and it is time to understand that this is a process. We all knew that going into this year it would be a bumpy ride. Yes, expectations were probably a little higher than the team sitting at 1-3 in the season right now. It is just too early to complain and call for heads.
The Jackets currently hold the 23 recruiting rank via Rivals, which is up from last years ranking of 43. The year before that was 53. We have to give time for Coach Geoff Collins to get his guys in here, and then see what happens. Just be patient and have faith fellow Jacket fans. The team will come around, and Geoff Collins will have his name known when the time comes.