It began just like any other prototypical Georgia Tech shootout. We score, they score, we score, they score, we score...we get a STOP? Between a few such stops and a HUGE effort from Tevin, Zach Laskey, Attaochu and lots of others, Georgia Tech may have very well completed its journey from ACC bottom feeders to Coastal division champions tonight. With another little bump from crazy old testament God and the angry ACC Gods of Football, of course.
Our game plan started, like it always does, with the offense. Tevin Washington put in four touchdowns tonight (three on the ground, one in the air), tying his career high. Robbie Godhigh added another two (through the air, surprisingly enough). Tevin was also 6-10 and had 102 yards. Of the offense's (somewhat) newfound effectiveness, Tevin said that the team is paying more "attention to detail," concentrating on things like playing with positive energy and team focus in key situations. If you ask me, these don't sound so much like "little details" so much as "wholesale attitude changes," but to each his own.
The defense also helped out, with four sacks (!), one interception, and three pass break-ups, including a huge one by T.J. Barnes in the 4th that put the light out on Duke's last real chance to get back in the game. After the offense-filled first half it appeared that the D wasn't going to be a factor in this game, but as coach Johnson pointed out in his post-game conference, Duke only had 154 yards at halftime! The score was close, but that was more us shooting ourselves in the foot with that long kickoff return and less Duke gaining any offensive ground.
There were a couple big factors that influenced all these goings-on and I'd like to take a minute to adress them. We'll start with the defense, because that's the area that showed the most improvement tonight. Earlier in the season the defensive staff put an emphasis on tackling in practice. Today it paid off, with hard hits and fundamentals tackling (can you believe it? I still think I'm hallucinating) a common sight on the field. There were some missed or miffed tackles towards the end, but for the most part, guys were getting to the ball and laying out for it. I asked coach Johnson and the defensive players what was different this time, and they said there were no major changes in tackling technique. I think that our guys were getting better angles because Duke players are less athletic and shifty than other guys we've seen to be quite honest, but that's just me. The other thing the D did very well was penetration on the line. Again, athletic disparity probably was a factor here, but the ends were rotating off their blocks like I've never seen this season. T.J. Barnes and Adam Gotsis were big factors in the trenches, getting in the Duke backfield several times and earning a sack each.
The offense also saw its share of improvement, particularly regarding the blocking. The OL continued to put the defense on their butts and opened up big holes in the Duke line for the b-backs to charge on through. On the outside, Robbie Godhigh said bullocks to size and blocked particularly well laying out corners all night. As a result of all these butts on the ground, the BB's had a big night and collectively accounted for 148 of 330 rushing yards. There was really only one bad on offense: Orwin Smith left the game in the 4th quarter and was in the training room after the game. However, he left the game under his own power, and did not look to be too badly hurt.
All in all, this was a great game to have right before DWAGZ to give us confidence and give us an example of how we could and should perform. What do you think about it FTRS readers? What did you see in the game that we can work on, and what did you see that should make your dwag friends pee their pants?