Week one - 2014. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets open up the season at home against Wofford with plenty of questions marks surrounding the team.
After a half, Tech leads 10-9.
Fans are spotted leaving Bobby Dodd Stadium with plenty of complaints about that high school offense and how pathetic the team was.
Week one - 2015. Coming off of an extremely impressive 2014, the Jackets open up the season with another cupcake at home. The first quarter ends - Georgia Tech leads 34-0.
If that's not enough to explain the enormous strides this team has taken in just a year, I don't know how else to explain it. A team that has a majority of the starters that played in that opener against Wofford a year ago still on the team looked like a completely different unit in the opener against the Alcorn State Braves. The confidence was there, the talent was there, the motivation was there, and the atmosphere was there.
The Georgia Tech team that took the field on Thursday night was one that looked the part of a potential title contender in the coming months. Even compared to recent blowouts by Tech teams that turned out to be very mediocre, this blowout looked different. The first-team starters could've scored 100 in the game and had time left on the clock. True freshman Marcus Marshall could've ran for as many yards as he wanted behind an offensive line that was an absolute force on basically every single play. The first-team defense could've forced more three-and-outs than first downs with plenty of breathing room. It was almost torture watching how easy it looked.
We shouldn't get ahead of ourselves, because big schools are supposed to blowout cupcakes to start the year, but it did look different. And there's a difference between progressively beating down an inferior opponent and scoring five touchdowns in 14 minutes without breaking a sweat.
"I thought our guys got off to a good start," head coach Paul Johnson said. " When the 1's were out there on both sides of the ball, they were playing pretty well. We got ahead and were able to substitute pretty liberally and let everybody play. It was a good way to start the season."
To summarize how good the 1's were, they only played the first quarter really. He finished the game completing three-of-four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown and three carries for two yards and a touchdown. His rushing yardage was hurt by a 19-yard loss on a sack that both he and Paul Johnson called "a boneheaded play." His touchdown pass was a beautiful rope thrown to Micheal Summers in the corner of the end zone that had perfect placement. Thomas' throws looked very sharp in limited action.
When Thomas was asked about those throws being something we maybe didn't see last season, he responded, "I feel like I've always been able to throw the ball pretty well."
After Thomas' big loss on the sack, Marcus Marshall got his first career carry and made it count going for a 49-yard touchdown. Marshall would add another long touchdown run in the third quarter with a 64-yard score to cap off his impressive game. He finished with eight carries for 184 yards and two touchdowns. Marshall was explosive and showed his endless potential in this offense. Paul Johnson was also impressed by his play, but he made sure to mention his one fumble a few times which was Tech's only turnover in the game.
The starter at B-Back held his own as well - creating a bit of a thunder and lightning combination. Patrick Skov carried the ball 12 times in the game for 72 yards and three touchdowns. Like anticipated, Skov ran right at - and right through - defenders on his way to a wonderful debut at his new school. Skov tripled his career yardage at Stanford in the game, and he was very talkative and upbeat in his post game interview.
Skov talked about the unique situation it is to play in his new role, and he described his experience in a unique way as well.
"It was a good atmosphere," Skov said. "I'm enjoying the southern atmosphere here, and hopefully we'll keep the vibes going.
When asked about Justin Thomas, Skov described how he sees him in the offense.
"I love JT, that's my boy. He drives the car, he's what makes the offense goes. I learned quickly how my position feeds off of the quarterback. He's the driver, it's up to him to give or pull, but it's what the defense gives us, and he's gotta kinda be able to dish it out like a point guard, and we all build off of each other."
Once the clock hit zero, the Jackets had built up a 69-6 lead to record an encouraging opening win to the season, but as always, Johnson is keeping everyone level-headed and looking ahead to the next game and the steps needed to take for the Jackets to succeed.
"All in all, it was a good way to start," Johnson said. We've got a lot of improvements to make, and we need to get ready for next week."
- Broderick Snoddy had three carries early in the game and looked like his old self. He said he is definitely 100%.
- Tim Byerly looked very good in his duty at quarterback. He's a true luxury to have as a backup.
- Paul Johnson was about as smiley and optimistic as you'll ever see him after a game this early in the year.
- Patrick Skov was a fantastic interview. He seems to have a personality that really leads the locker room and creates a positive atmosphere around him at all times.
- Among the eight true freshman that saw the field, Marcus Marshall was obviously outstanding, A.J. Gray made some nice plays on special teams early and played well on defense, Vic Alexander was very active defensively and had a nice TFL, and TaQuon Marshall didn't look great in the return game, but he made some great blocks offensively, and a very nice catch-and-run from a pass thrown by Thomas. Those four guys should be the ones we see the most of this season with the addition of Brad Stewart. Stewart and Thomas narrowly missed on a long pass in the first quarter.
- Marcus Allen left the game with an ankle injury and didn't return. Johnson didn't seem to think it was serious.
- 69 points is the second most ever scored by the Jackets in the modern-era.
- Tech's 34 first-quarter points is a modern-era school record.
- Tech didn't commit a penalty in the game for the second time during Paul Johnson's tenure. The other game came against Syracuse in 2013.