The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets had several missed opportunities in Saturday’s 20-10 loss to Pittsburgh
Despite winning the turnover battle, the Geogria Tech Yellow Jackets couldn’t find a way to solve the Pittsburgh Panthers defense on Saturday afternoon in a 20-10 loss. The Jackets were able to muster up just 194- yards and 10-points in the defeat, despite three first half turnovers by Pittsburgh.
Quarterback James Graham needed to have a quality performance on Saturday against Pitt and it was to say the least, a poor performance. The redshirt freshman just went 3-for-13 in the game for 57-yards and one touchdown. He also had one interception in his performance. The amazing thing about that stat line is the fact that his longest pass of the day was a 61-yard dime to Ahmarean Brown for a touchdown. It was the lone offensive bright spot in the game on Saturday.
That being said, it wasn’t only Graham who had a disappointing performance in the loss. Overall, it was an extremely poor offensive performance from the Jackets who looked to be getting on a role prior to the bye week, last week. The Jackets struggled to get anything going and going up against one of the ACC’s best defenses in Pittsburgh certainly didn’t help matters. James Graham struggled as mentioned above and Jordan Mason didn’t have his best effort either, picking up just 56-yards on 15-carries.
If there was a bright side to the offensive effort, it was the offensive line allowed just two sacks to the nation’s leaders in sacks coming into Saturday. It was an encouraging performance for Brent Key’s position group and should be a boost of confidence to the offensive line room.
That being said, the story of the game for Georgia Tech on Saturday was missed opportunities. The Jackets forced three turnovers in the first half including two interceptions by Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett. Unfortunately, they were unable to take care of those turnovers, scoring just seven points. Another missed opportunity in the first half was a missed 34-yard field goal by Brenton King which would’ve given the Yellow Jackets some momentum in the first half offensively.
Another missed opportunity worth noting that also probably went underlooked is a missed catch by Malachi Carter on the Jackets first drive. It was a ball Carter should’ve had but the sophomore was ready to turn up field before he fully had it in his hands. Had Carter made the catch, the Jackets would’ve had at least a first down with the ball near midfield and perhaps more as in front of Carter was wide open.
That being said, despite the first half missed opportunities, the Jackets still found themselves in the game and at one-point were within just a few yards of tying the game at 17-17.
That’s when the backbreaker for the Yellow Jackets came towards the end of the third quarter. As the Jackets were on the doorstep of the potential game-tying touchdown, Lucas Johnson fumbled the ball on the goal line and it was nearly returned for a Pittsburgh touchdown. The short yardage the Panthers got thanks to the fumble and fumble recovery lead to Pittsburgh’s final score, a 49-yard field goal. The field goal all but ended the Jackets chances to win the game, giving the Panthers a two-score lead.
The Yellow Jackets defense on Saturday wasn’t exactly on its’ game but it wasn’t bad either. It was a classic “bend don’t break” defensive effort, allowing a lot of yardage (362) but didn’t break often surrendering just the 20-points. It was a defensive effort strong enough to put the Jackets in position to possibly win with a better offensive performance, but it wasn’t in the cards.
The Yellow Jackets will have the opportunity to bounce back and get back into the win column next Saturday against the Virginia Cavaliers. The Cavaliers take on the North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday night.