Georgia Tech Football Upon Further Review: Digesting the blowout loss to Virginia Tech

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 2: Head coach Geoff Collins of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets looks on during the first half of a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Bobby Dodd Stadium on November 2, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 2: Head coach Geoff Collins of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets looks on during the first half of a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Bobby Dodd Stadium on November 2, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Georgia Tech came out flat and fell flat on Saturday afternoon in a 45-0 loss to Virginia Tech, the Jackets first shutout loss since 1997.

On Saturday afternoon, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets’ took the field looking for win No.3 of the season. Unfortunately for the Jackets, getting win No.3 on Saturday was not in the cards for the program as they were defeated handily by the Virginia Tech Hokies 45-0.

The Jackets surrendered over 450-yards of total offense and were carved up both on the ground and through the air while the offense appeared to revert to prior performances earlier this season. Yesterday, following the game we provided five key takeaways from the loss. Today, we take a deeper look at the loss to the Hokies.

Stats that tell the story:

Before delving into our thoughts, there are two stats to take away from Saturday’s game.

 2-for-15 on third down

The Jackets once again struggled on third down against the Hokies, going 2-for-15 on the afternoon, one of their worst third down performances in a long time.

Jackets hurt themselves -6 penalties for 40-yards, 2 turnovers

The Jackets weren’t disciplined on Saturday by any means. The Jackets were penalized six times though it could’ve been quite a bit more. The Jackets also turned the ball over twice, both interceptions out of the hand of James Graham. Graham also at one point fumbled the ball but the Jackets got eh ball back.

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Allowed 7.5 yards per play

The Jackets defense struggled like it hasn’t in a long time (more on that later). The Jackets surrendered 461 total yards to the Hokies on 61 plays (16 passing attempts, 45 rushing attempts), an average of 7.5 yards per play.

Trick play/Reverse in Virginia Tech’s first series set the tone

The end-around “trick play”, reverse, whatever you want to call it in Virginia Tech’s first series really set the tone of how Virginia Tech was going to be able to move the ball on Saturday. During that play, the Hokies quickly showed that they were the team with the better athletes and that Georgia Tech would have a hard time with their speed. Prior to that trick play, the Hokies had decent field position but that was even with a tremendous punt by Pressley Harvin III.

The reverse then allowed the Hokies to really gain all the early momentum and a few plays later they would put up their first touchdown of the afternoon. A few minutes later, they were able make it a 14-0 game with rather ease. It was a boat race from there to say the least.

Injuries are taking their toll on the Jackets

The Jackets have been cursed by injuries this season and it feels like Saturday was the culmination of all those injuries causing key holes on both sides of the ball. We’ve rarely seen the Yellow Jackets defense dominated like they were on Saturday but it makes sense when considering who they were without in the game. Players that were missing or not fully healthy entering Saturday included Chico Bennett Jr, Bruce Jordan-Swilling, Chris Martin, Antwan Owens, and Kaleb Oliver. When you’re missing four key starters and then a solid depth piece, opposing offenses are going to have their way.

Type of performance that can break a quarterback mentally

I think it’s important to say that James Graham’s performance wasn’t all his fault. Nobody on the offense really performed well outside of a select few. That being said, whether it’s his fault or not, James Graham’s performance on Saturday was the type that could really hurt a quarterback’s confidence and mentality. Graham on Saturday had two turnovers and also fumbled the ball once in the game. The one interception Graham threw was 100% an awful decision and it very well may be the worst decision he’s made this season.  The other interception came and fumble was the result of poor blocking but either way, turning the ball over twice and putting it all on the ground , all within a 10-15 minute window of the game can break a quarterback mentally and kill their confidence. It will be interesting to see if the Jackets go back to Graham on Thursday and how he bounces back from the tough performance.

Jamious Griffin and Christian Malloy show promise in brief appearance(s)

Both Jamious Griffin and Christian Malloy saw time on the field on Saturday in the blowout loss and both took advantage of their opportunities. The true freshman in Griffin carried the ball twice for 21-yards including a nice 13-yard scamper when the Jackets were pinned deep in their own territory. Griffin earned our offensive player of the game honor for his contribution. Malloy, on the other hand, had two more carries than Griffin with four and rushed for 21-yards, an average of 5.3 yards per carry.

It was a tough day on the ground for the Yellow Jackets with all other ball carries combining for 25-carries and 11-yards so to sane Griffin and Malloy combine for six carries and 42-yards, you’ll take that. It’s a small positive but it’s a positive to take away from the game.


Overall, it’s safe to say the Yellow Jackets never seemed to have it on Saturday. Whether it was a lack of execution, a lack of preparation, or just a lack of talent, the Jackets didn’t have it on Saturday. The Jackets were dominated from start to finish on both sides of the ball. Now, no matter what the reason is for the 45-0 loss, it’s an inexcusable loss. One can make the argument that this was in-fact the Jackets worst game of the season. Yes, they’ve been blown, yes they’ve lost to an FCS team but entering this week, the Jackets were making strides and the loss to the Hokies really wipes away any of that good will built over the last few weeks.

Geoff Collins and his coaching staff will need to go to the drawing board and quickly as the Jackets will need to prepare for a Thursday night showdown against the North Carolina State Wolfpack this upcoming week.