For the second week in a row, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were at home. For the second week in a row Tech played a sloppy game. The Yellow Jackets hosted the Citadel Bulldogs. It was the 11th meeting between the two schools. The final score was 27-24. The game had to go to overtime to determine a winner. With that the Bulldogs secured their first ever win against the Yellow Jackets. And with their loss, Georgia Tech dropped to 1-2 on the season.
For Tech, there were good and bad takeaways from today’s game. Mostly bad. The key areas I thought were important before the game were the defense’s performance against the option and the offense’s ability to become more comfortable with the passing game. Neither one really happened. With that said, here is what we saw today:
The importance of being comfortable with the passing game is a key metric to measure this team’s current standing. Being comfortable and establishing a presence in the pocket has been a desirable characteristics that the Yellow Jacket quarterbacks haven’t displayed frequently this season.
This game was not any different. By halftime, Yellow Jacket quarterbacks were one for six on completions for 28 yards. Their run game was nowhere near where it needed to be. The Bulldogs out-rushed the Yellow Jackets nearly two-to-one. You can’t win football games that way.
Tech’s offensive line is partly to blame. Though they significantly out-sized the Citadel defensive line, they couldn’t help establish a run-game for Tech. Tech lost this game in the trenches.
Last week against South Florida, the defense struggled with the Bulls’ speed. On more than one occasion they gave up big plays at key moments (particularly on third downs). This often came on screen passes and rushes to the edge.
In today’s game, we saw few passes from the Citadel. When they did pass it counted. This includes a touchdown pass for the first score of the game late in the first quarter. Where Tech struggled the most was on third down. They gave up far too many third downs. But the ugliest aspect of the game for Tech was its performance in the trenches. The Bulldogs’ offensive line was smaller than Tech’s, but that didn’t stop them from running the ball and running it well.
Tech lost the game in the trenches, and they lost it badly. The option should not be anything this defense hasn’t seen before. But that wasn’t apparent from their performance. You’d expect with their familiarity, they’d be prepared for the Citadel’s run attack. Several times Tech defenders struggled to get to the edge, as the Bulldog running backs would pick up whatever yardage they needed -- even running up the middle. And the worse thing is, this happened very frequently on third down.
Georgia Tech had an opportunity to win the game with moments left in the game. But they settled for a field goal forcing the game to overtime. Part of the reason was poor game and clock management by Tech’s coaching staff. Add that to the list of areas where Tech needs to improve.
Speaking about Tech’s future in the post-game press conference, Collins said, “I understand what this program is going to look like. I understand what this program is going to be,” said Collins. Today sucked, said Collins before he followed that up with, “The future is bright.”
Thankfully, the Yellow Jackets will have an off week next week before traveling to Philadelphia to play Collins’ former team the Temple Owls. They’ll be back in Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 5th as they host the UNC Tar Heels. Hopefully by then, they will have figured out some of the many problems that have been on display as this team adjust in its transition year.