Georgia Tech did give up a garbage-time TD, but other than that this defense played a beautiful game. It wasn’t due to one unit either. The defensive backs made some solid pass breakups and ended with two interceptions (both by AJ Gray) and could have easily ended up with two more (Corey Griffin dropped 2). The defensive line put good pressure on UNC quarterback Chazz Surratt and did a great job of giving no running lanes to the running backs. The linebackers made some very good open field tackles and did a very good job of preventing any big plays. This was a team effort and a fantastic all around performance.
This team did not look like itself on offense at the beginning of the game. They were getting stuffed inside. The play calling was erratic as Paul Johnson insisted on airing it out early and running those quarterback rollouts that led to Taquon Marshall getting taken down for little or no gain. Georgia Tech’s second drive was a nine minute long march down the field that led to a touchdown on a great improvisation from Taquon Marshall. They had a few more poor possessions before going on a 17 play, seven and a half minute drive that stalled within the 10 yard line and led to short field goal. UNC focused on preventing big plays in the 1st half and it worked. GT struggled to grind out those long drives. It didn’t matter much because the Tar Heel’s offense was smothered.
Things changed quickly in the second half Tech looked to be on one of those long grind it out drives when Taquon fumbled. The very next play AJ Gray picked off Surratt to give Tech the ball back. On the Jacket’s first play after that KirVonte Benson broke loose for a 63-yard touchdown. That put Tech up 17-0 and in full control. Their next drive included a 65-yard run by Marshall and ended in another touchdown, this time on a pass to Ricky Jeune. From there, it was clear that Tech was going to win. After another pick by Gray gave Tech a short field it looked like the Jackets were going to run away with it. Instead, Benson fumbled while stretching for a touchdown. It didn’t really matter. UNC did score a quick drive late and GT responded with a touchdown drive led by Matthew Jordan in the final minutes. Final score was 33-7.
I will note that North Carolina has been decimated by injuries which certainly helped the Jackets as they wore down over the course of the game. For GT Shamire Devine did leave the game with an upper body injury. He has been fantastic this year so hopefully he heals up in the bye week. Taquon was the leading rusher with 137 yards on 27 carries while Benson added 130 yards on 18 carries. Marshall was 5/10 for 53 yards through the air, though the receivers had a few drops. I’m giving the game ball to AJ Gray for his two picks and his solid tackling (somehow he was credited with zero tackles, but I distinctly recall him making at least two).
Is Georgia Tech’s offense more like a red sock in the laundry or a conveyor belt?
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