This is the part where I would make a joke about high school offense versus high school defense, but sarcasm and the Internet don’t mix too well. Instead, let’s just keep to tradition and run down the list of things we learned about the Jackets from their performance versus Louisville, right at the midpoint of the 2018 season.
When the run game is operating at 100%, nothing else matters.
Georgia Tech just dropped 66 points on an ACC team, throwing the ball a grand total of twice along the way. That includes just one completion for a whopping 12 yards. One completion. 66 points. A combination of much-improved blocking and TaQuon Marshall looking like a new man on his pitch reads was all Tech needed to help Louisville break their own school record for rush yards allowed in a game.
The flip side is that Louisville was hands-down the worst team remaining on the 2018 schedule. It was great to see how willing the Cardinals were to make Tech look really, really good, but the fact is that we won’t see 8.3 yards per carry again this year. The homecoming game versus Duke will provide the team with a fantastic opportunity to show improvement against a much better opponent.
The defense still needs time to grow, but is already showing improvement in areas where past units have been lacking.
Hidden by the final score is that Tech’s defense gave up 483 total yards to a Louisville offense that has hardly been top-shelf this season. We had lofty expectations for Nate Woody coming into this season, but the state of the roster should have betrayed the fact that we weren’t going to see a complete 180 in year one. What we have seen, however, is an uptick in the havoc plays that Ted Roof defenses struggled to generate — namely sacks, interceptions, and deflections. The Jackets got a pick-six, another near interception, 2 sacks, and additional tackle for a loss, and 7 quarterback hurries against Louisville. That isn’t world-beating, but it sure beats the goose-eggs we’ve seen for years.
Meanwhile, the short passes continue to eat up the defense. Louisville’s Jawon Pass completed 23 total passes for 299 yards, a reflection of Bobby Petrino’s gameplan and Tech’s inability to stop it at times. We may need to wait a year or so to see improvement in this aspect of the game as Woody brings in players better-suited for his style, but it will be here one day.
Wesley Wells looks like the answer at kicker for this year.
Wells hit his only field goal, a 41-yard attempt, and all 9 extra points. He’s now perfect on extra points and 1-1 on field goals after the early-season shuffle by the coaching staff to find a suitable option. He’s going to miss one at some point given that he’s a human being, but having reliable options in the kicking game is a luxury that we as Georgia Tech fans are now over a year removed from enjoying.
If I had to guess, I’d say we’re going to see a couple more field goals attempts from Wells against Duke. Probably a few more punts from Pressley Harvin III too, given that he went completely unused yesterday.
Brian VanGorder got his Doctor Strange-wannabe facial hair burned completely off.
For Paul Johnson, beating Brian VanGorder is personal. In what will likely be the last matchup ever been the two titans of salt, Johnson got the better of his foe to the tune of a school record and 66 points. What more could you want? It’s also worth noting that the last VanGorder-Johnson event came when VanGorder was hired as a special consultant for UGA back in 2016. I think that went pretty well too.