In what was the final chance for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets to salvage a somewhat respectable finish to a disaster of a season, the team was unable to capitalize on any opportunities and repeatedly stalled offensively to fall to the Georgia Bulldogs 13-7 and finish the season 3-9.
"I think that game is a microcosm of our season," said coach Paul Johnson. "We have a hard time valuing the ball. Anytime you lose the turnover battle like we have the last couple of games, you're not going to win very many games. We can't seem to finish plays on offense. We get in the clear and we're one block away. Three times I counted we drove down to the 30-yard line and guys miss assignments. I wish I could explain it. I guess it's being young."
The Jackets were able to pull within six points late in the fourth quarter when Justin Thomas connected with Ricky Jeune on a 15-yard touchdown pass for their first points of the day.
Paul Johnson elected to kick it deep with just over three minutes and two timeouts left, and the Tech offense didn't get the ball back until there were under 20 seconds left on the clock.
The clock soon hit zero, and the Jackets had officially endured one of the most disappointing seasons in school history.
"We had a chance," said Johnson. "We got them down there on the six-yard line and whenever we need a stop, we can't get one. We're playing man-to-man and we turned the guy loose. It's disappointing. It's all stuff I think we can fix. I'm hell-bent to get it fixed. I'm not going to go through this again."
The final score suggests that the game was a battle of strong defenses, but even that is a bit misleading.
Both teams moved the ball fairly well, but neither team could seem to execute when it mattered most.
Not counting the kneel to end the first half, the Tech offense moved into UGA territory in each of its first six possessions -- yet they didn't get points on any of them. The Georgia offense moved into Tech territory on seven possessions, including inside the Tech 25-yard line five times, and only managed 13 points. In a season where both teams have been wildly underwhelming, neither program seemed to want to take a hold on the game.
The difference ended up being UGA running back Sony Michel's ability to break big plays that got the Bulldogs into plus-territory. He ended the day with 24 carries for 149 yards and one touchdown. When reporters brought up that the Jackets' defense played well, Johnson quickly pointed to how Michel tore them apart.
The analysis and the chatter about the game and the season could go on and on, but we've already heard and seen it all, and quite frankly, we're probably all tired of it at this point. Johnson seemed certain there would be changes coming fairly quickly to the program, which, I can only hope, means some coaching staff changes. Plenty of young players have experience now, and all we can do is look forward to next year ... because I don't want to talk about this one ever again.
"We played a lot of young guys," said Johnson about the only positive takeaway from the season. "A lot of guys got experience. I think sometimes guys take winning for granted. They should have gotten a good dose of that. I know I did. It's unacceptable. We've got to get better."
Still, what's the good word?