We've let the dust settle. It took a good three days but it has finally subsided. Today, we're recapping the Kansas game and how the Kansas Jayhawks defeated the Yellow Jackets. I usually don't recap right away because I've gotta wait for ramblinwreck.com to publish the box score. I watch the NFL on Sunday so that's kinda my brain's day to relax. Then, I write my thoughts up on Monday morning for a Tuesday post. It's still fresh and the emotion has kinda worn off.
First off, let's look at what the Jayhawks did against us defensively. According to Owen Kemp at Rock Chalk, the Jayhawks used a version of the 3-3-5 to balance their defense and more importantly to prevent the big plays on the edge. Here's a graph on how our A-backs, B-backs, and Quarterbacks yards per carry changed throughout the progression of the game. To me, it appeared Kansas focused all of their efforts towards stopping Nesbitt and Allen at the LOS and kinda fending off the chop blocks on the edge as the A-Backs almost always got their yards.
The frustrating part about our game was that statistically we didn't perform that poorly. We averaged 7.03 yards per play on 1st down, 5.72 yards per play on 2nd down, and 6.79 yards per play on 3rd down. We even distributed the ball fairly well amongst our playmakers
For me, there were three things that killed us: penalties, third down conversions, and field position. In 2009, Georgia Tech averaged 47 yards in penalties per game. Against Kansas, we managed 9 penalties totaling 91 yards. Tell me if these box score lines mean anything to you:
4th and 2, KU 38...Rojas, Alonso punt 47 yards to the GT 15, fair catch by Tarrant, J., PENALTY GT roughing the kicker (Richardson, L.) 15 yards to the GT47, 1ST DOWN KU, NO PLAY.
3rd and 16, KU 43...Webb, Jordan pass complete to Wilson, Johnath for 10 yards to the GT47 (Butler, M.), PENALTY GT roughing passer (Jefferson, B.) 15 yards to the GT32, 1ST DOWN KU.
The first penalty extended a stalled out Kansas offense until we fortunately intercepted Webb on the GT 32. The second penalty was followed by Kansas' go ahead and eventual winning touchdown rather than a 4th and 6 punt. I am merely pointing these penalties out because they were exceedingly frustrating, to me (probably moreso to CPJ). Some might even call them SUPER LAME penalties.
Concerning 3rd down conversions, Georgia Tech wrote the book on converting third downs. CPJ's offense is supposed to create manageable third downs with well executed first and second downs. Kansas' off-color defense really threw the Jackets for a loop and prevented consistency from drive to drive. It was boom or bust. Exactly 50% of our plays netted 3 yards or less (31% of them didn't net any yards at all). Converting only 4 of 13 third down attempts was the 4th worst conversion percentage in a game since CPJ's been at Tech.
Looking at our average down and distance shows what happened. Our average 2nd down was 7.18 yards to gain the first, our average 3rd down was 5.50 yards to gain the first, and our average 4th down was 5.88 yards to gain the first. When we converted the third down, it was a big time play (22.3 yards per play) but when we failed to convert, the play blew up in our face (0.60 yards per play). There was no middle ground. There was no rhythm.
Field position was marginally relevant but still worthy of discussion. KU scoring drives started on average from the Kansas 40 while Georgia Tech scoring drives started on average from the GT 30. Both teams average drive started around their own 32 with Kansas owning a slight edge in this department.
Ultimately, miscues, penalties, and inconsistent offensive execution seem to be the theme for our loss. Hopefully, we can iron out some wrinkles for the North Carolina Tar Heels and rebound as ACC play begins. I will look at some defensive stats later this week. Any thoughts?