Georgia Tech came in knowing a win against Duke would end their ACC contests with a share of the Coastal divion lead. In workman-like fashion, Tech grinded it out early, then rode the hot hand of Tevin Washington and the B-Backs to a 42-24 victory on Saturday. It was Senior Day (as well as Military Appreciation Day), and Seniors played key roles in the win. Tech has now won 4 out of their last 5 games.
The game started like a shootout...albeit in slow-motion. Both teams matched each other for scores in the first half, but on only 4 possessions each. As they did the week before, Tech's defense locked down the opposition in the 2nd half. They say that the 1st drive of the 3rd quarter is the most important in the game. With Tech facing a 3rd-and-7 on this opening drive in the 3rd, Tevin threw a bubble screen to Chris Jackson, and what ensued will be remembered for a long time. The ball goes through Chris Jackson's fingers, and after later admitting to missing his blocking assignment, OT Ray Beno snatches the ball out the air...then stumbles upfield down the sideline for 9 yards and a 1st down. Tech never looked back after that heads-up play by Ray Beno.
It's hard not be impressed by the complete dominance of Tech's offense, as they controlled the clock to the tune of a 38-22 TOP edge. So you like a good "Death March" drive? How about 5 of them? On 5 of the first 6 drives, Tech reeled off drives of 13, 10, 16, 13, and 18 plays (these 5 drives alone consumed 31 minutes) and 5 touchdowns. How do you do that? By converting on 3rd down, which Tech did 13 out of 20 times. B-Backs Zach Laskey and David Sims ran hard, combining to rush for 142 yards on 29 carries (4.9 yards/rush)...and each provided a TD for Tech.
As had been the gameplan, CPJ gave Tevin and Vad Lee each 2 series. Who'd have thought that Vad's second drive (and Tech's 4th overall) would start only with about 1 minute left in the 1st half? Tevin finished the game, but not without Vad showing incredible athleticism on a 4th and Goal from the 2 where he was dead-to-rights behind the LOS...yet made a wiggle, made a tackler miss, and lept across the goalline to put Tech up 21-17.
On Senior Day, it was Senior Tevin Washington that stole the show. He opened the scoring in the 1st quarter with a 1-yard TD run that eclipsed Josh Nesbitt's ACC record for career rushing TDs by a QB (by the way, Vad is already in the top-10 on this list and may destroy this record before all is said and done.) Tevin on the day rushed for 62 yards on 19 carries, and passed 6-10 for 102 yards and 3 TDs.
After allowing Duke to score on 4 of their first 5 drives, Tech's defense once again locked the Blue Devils down in the 2nd half. In the final 20 minutes of the game, the defense held Duke to only 33 yards on 14 plays...including a 4th down stop (on the fake punt) and an interception by Jamal Golden.
The most noticeable aspect of Tech's defensive output was the disruptive pass rush that pressured Duke's Sean Renfree. On the afternoon, the defense recorded 4 sacks (Attaochu 2, Barnes, Gotsis) and forced 2 holding penalties in big spots. The defense also held Duke to only 3.5 yards/rush, and limited Duke to only converting 3 out of 10 3rd downs. And finally, we saw solid tackling and pass coverage for an extended period.
There actually wasn't a whole lot of Special Teams play in this game, except for the XP team. Tech only recevied 1 kickoff and 1 punt return...Duke's Ross Wilson put the ball in the endzone on kickoffs, and because both teams went for it on 4th down 4 times each in this game. The units were solid, with the exception of a Sean Spoole shank of a rugby-style punt before the end of the 1st half (thankfully Duke didn't have much time left).
OK, it's COFH week. Does Tech keep the momentum going into Athens? Does Tech get motivated by ruining the MNC chances for the DWAGS?