Georgia Tech came into this game looking to continue rolling towards its big match up next week against Notre Dame. At the start of the game, they did just that. After stopping Tulane with a 3 and out to start the game, the Jackets rolled down the field, capping the drive off with an impressive touchdown run by A-back Qua Searcy.
The defense was especially impressive early. The unit went into this week needing to get more pressure on the QB. On their first play of the game, they did just that, sacking Tulane QB Tanner Lee. That theme continued throughout the game, as Lee received hit after punishing hit. Outside of 1 drive, Tulane struggled to move the ball outside against the 1st team defense. The lone Tulane touchdown drive covered 91 yards, and ended with a 44 yard Touchdown from Tulane QB Tanner Lee to Devon Breaux. On the touchdown, Lee was a split second from getting sacked and DJ White simply couldn't get his head around in time. On the whole, however, the defense looked like a completely different unit from the first few games of last year. The team is swarming to the ball, coverage is tight, and the Defensive Line isn't getting pushed back like it used to. The unit was simply suffocating the Tulane offense all afternoon. The Green Wave failed to rush for 100 yards, and was only able to muster 248 total yards of offense. The average yards per carry for Tulane was 2.15. That's stellar, and was a refreshing sight after so many teams imposed their will against the Jackets last year.
On offense, the team simply looked unstoppable for the second straight week. Qua Searcy had a big game, scoring on a 17 yard pass and a weaving 13 yard run. Justin Thomas was Justin Thomas, making great moves in the open field to spring big gains. Thomas had 7.1 yards per carry on the day, with his longest run being 26 yards. Perhaps the biggest story on offense, however, was the play of Matthew Jordan. After moving to AB for only one game, Jordan came back to QB with a bang. The new backup QB led the team in rushing with 72 yards, and had had a huge 65 yard Touchdown run in the second half. His only pass of his career went for a TD as well. Coach Johnson joked that Jordan has the best QB rating in all of college football after that game.
Freshman phenom Marcus Marshall didn't play as big of a role in this game, but that was for good reason. Tulane's defense crashed hard to take away the dive, so CPJ left the heavier Skov in the game to take the hits. There simply wasn't a ton of room for the speedy Marshall to work like last week. He'll be back, but his numbers week-to-week will depend on how the opponent decides to play the option.
Coach Johnson did lament the early play of the offensive line, saying that the group did a poor job of keeping the middle linebacker away from the ball carrier during the first half. The line did improve in the second half, however, and the rushing lanes on the edge improved. Tech will face some talented linebacker groups soon, especially next week, so blocking on the second level will be a key going forward.
The start of this season has been the complete opposite of the tumultuous start the Jackets had last year. The 134 points scored in the first 2 games broke the team's modern-day record for points in two consecutive games. Last year, the team struggled against its first to two opponents, especially early in the game. The Georgia Tech program seems to have new life that it lacked at this point last season. With a top-15 match up looming, that's huge. The Jackets will travel to Notre Dame next week, and the Irish lost their QB for the season in their game against Virginia. However, the backup was able to lead the Irish to a comeback win, and that team will still be a significant test. The team is excited for the challenge, and Senior BB Patrick Skov said that Stanford's loss last year in South Bend "left a bad taste in my mouth." We'll see just how good this team is quite soon.
What encouraged you about the game? Any thing you want to see improved?