What’s there to say about the Yellow Jacket’s performance today against UNC. The defense did fairly well until the second half when they looked exhausted. There were some positive takeaways. The offense? Well, conversely, they weren’t so great in the first half as opposed to the second half, where they actually scored points. It’s not saying much when there is more entertainment to be derived by watching the Tar Heels mascot square dance with a cheerleader than there is watching Tech’s offense struggle to move down the field. That at least summarizes the first half. However, there are some positive remarks which I’ll defer until later.
So, what will we start off with for the post-game analysis? Let’s start off with defense.
Going into today’s game, Tech’s defense led the ACC in pass defense, but it didn’t look like that was the case today. By halftime, UNC’s quarterback Sam Howell had 198 passing yards. The rushing defense was no better, allowing 211 yards including 115 in the second half.
When your offense isn’t putting up any points, it must be discouraging. Unfortunately, after the offense did begin to put up some points in the second half, that’s when the defense began hemorrhaging points giving up 21. It seems the Tar Heels offense understood Tech’s zone coverage concepts better than Tech’s defense. By the end of the game, Howell had passed for 376 yards. Tech’s coverage seemed to break down against a middling UNC offense. That’s not a good look for Tech’s defense and that will need to change.
On a positive note, there was some great play on an individual basis. David Curry continued his role as the Yellow Jackets tackler-in-chief. He set a personal best with 16 tackles on the day.
Today, redshirt-freshman James Graham got the start as Tech’s quarterback. He was 5-10 for 46 yards and one interception by halftime. However, his second half play saw quite an improvement. By the end of the game, he would be 10-22 for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
Tech’s rushing game was nearly nonexistent, averaging 2.82 yards per rush by halftime. Needless to say, Tech’s offense continued to struggle moving the ball because of this. In the second half there was some improvement. By the end of the game, Tech had accumulated 150 yards on 29 carries. They’ll definitely have to improve the run game so they can control the clock and, hence, the game. By the end of the game, Tech’s time of possession was only 23:06 compared to UNC’s 36:54. This could partly be the reason the defense appeared to be so fatigued in the second half.
As promised, here’s my positive comments and it has to do with what we saw from Tech’s offense. Okay, what if, just what if, all this pain and suffering is just part of the difficult process of muddling through mediocrity as Tech transitions to the new offense that Geoff Collins and Dave Patenaude have imagined for itself. And perhaps, what we’ve been seeing is Tech slowly finding its stride. On more than one drive of the game, Tech displayed bursts of offensive explosiveness that, if they could master and do more consistently, could mean they can truly become an elite offense. Perhaps, sooner than later.