Resilience. The one word that came to mind after a legendary win for the Georgia Tech Football program. The Jackets were given every opportunity to give up. A big underdog hosting undefeated Florida State, Tech was coming off 5 straight losses in Power 5 play, many of which were heart breakers. They were banged up, suffering a ludicrous number of injuries before and during the game. Finally, with only a few ticks left on the clock, they stared down the best kicker in the nation, attempting a kick that was the same distance as the one that broke this team's heart last week.
But they didn't care. Pat Gamble burst through the line deflecting the kick, and Lance Austin had the smarts to pick it up and run his way into Georgia Tech lore. The play was indescribable, a reversal of fortune from the luck Tech had been handed so many times this year. It was only possible because of the team's resilience.
The Georgia Tech defense, who had performed so poorly in the past few weeks, didn't back down from one of the best running backs in the country. Dalvin Cook was held to 82 yards tonight. Considering his recent 200 yard performances, that stat line is incredible. The defensive line also got after FSU QB Everett Golson, making him pay for every throw and forcing several bad throws to receivers who were otherwise open. After the game, Coach Johnson said DT Adam Gotsis "played like a champion," leading his team to victory.
On offense, the A-backs, a unit more decimated than any other by injuries, carried the day. They gained consistent yards on the rocket toss, and ran for several clutch first downs. The blocking of this group was heavily criticized in Tech's early losses, but the improvement they have showed each week has been stellar. This group of freshmen and former walk-ons deserves special recognition, as does A-backs coach Lamar Owens. It is incredible how far this group has progressed.
But perhaps no player showed his resilience more than Quarterback Justin Thomas. After a dreadful start involving 2 bad interceptions, Thomas roared back with a long touchdown run, and was able to complete a huge pass on 4th and 5 in the 4th quarter, which led to the game-tying field goal.
Jamal Golden also deserves recognition for his resilience. In previous games, I questioned his play, describing it as tentative and non-committal. Golden showed up big in this game. He led the team in tackles, and came up with the all important interception in the end zone that made this ending possible. At the end of the game, it was Golden who streaked down the sideline in front of Lance Austin, paving the way to victory once more.
There were many things the team could improve on from this game, but perhaps that's a positive. After beating an undefeated Top-10 team, this is just the beginning for the Jackets. Injuries were also a concern, and will be something to watch during practice this week.
This team has heart, and this is the type of win that can save a season once thought lost. Buckle up. This season may just get crazy.