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Tuesday Thoughts 12/1: Things to Give Thanks For

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In which we reflect on the good things we have

Georgia Tech v Boston College Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images

Hey y’all it’s been a while, welcome back!

Person 1: “Hey did you hear Georgia Tech ran for 377 rushing yards last night?”

Person 2 (uncultured): “Yeah that triple option is pretty nifty when it’s working”

Person 1: “Actually they don’t run the option anymore, they did this in a PRO STYLE offense”

Person 2: **head explodes**

Game Recap in Three Sentences

The rushing attack squadron was on fire, totaling 377 yards (and averaging 7.9 per rush) on the backs of Jeff Sims (108 yards), a healthy Jordan Mason (105 yards), a first-half-only Jahmyr Gibbs (91 yards, 2 TDs), and Dontae Smith (60 yards, 2 TDs).

The defense stepped up big time, forcing 5 total turnovers and holding off Duke when they needed to.

A wild and wacky game, this one featured 8 total turnovers, stadium light malfunctions, a safety, a fumble touchdown, a muffed punt touchdown, 19 total penalties, long touchdown runs, and points points points.

#404 Swag Champion of the Game

Jordan Mason - a hearty welcome back to you sir. Mason made his return as the featured back taking 21 carries for 105 yards. It’s great to see him healthy and running all over the defense.

ATLeast We Ain’t Them of the Week

I’ve got an ensemble for y’all this week:

  • Kent State and UL Monroe both gave up 70 points this week.
  • Pitt gave up 31 first quarter points to angry Clemson.
  • Vanderbilt had a chance to do something cool and instead chose to fall down a flight of stairs and barely cross midfield en route to a 41-0 whalloping.
  • UMass maintained their identity in a 0-45 drubbing from Liberty. The Minutemen have now finished their 2020 schedule at 0-4 with a differential of 12 points scored to 161 POINTS GIVEN UP. I feel comfortable going ahead and bestowing the title of “Yikes Team of the Year” upon them.

Above The Line of the Week

  • Family and loved ones
  • A consistent and powerful rushing offense
  • Night games at Bobby Dodd

Stat of the Week

Courtesy of Robert, our success rates for each quarter were as follows: 31.6%, 42.1%, 43.8%, 69.2%. There’s one word that describes that: improvement. The offense actually got better as the game went on and that is fantastic to see. From an offensive perspective this was one of our best wire-to-wire games in the Collins era.

5 Star (7 Star, 5 Star) Developmental Program Haiku of the Week

Looks like football’s back
Chugging away on offense
Always hated Duke

Things to Give Thanks For

In the spirit of the season, let’s give thanks for what we have.

More talented running backs than I’ve ever seen - I loved the offensive game plan in this game. We pounded the ball with our stable of talented backs (it could’ve been even better if Gibbs played the second half) and took a lot of pressure off of Sims’ arm. This is what I’d like to continue to see; heavier reliance on multiple backs and using the passing game more as an end zone attack. We’ve got a special group of guys and I think we could easily carve out an identity as the team that can rotate three+ guys capable of starting.

Jahmyr Gibbs - Gibbs turned in a fantastic box score despite only playing in the first half - 6 rushes for 91 yards and 2 scores along with 4 receptions for 48 yards. He continues to impress everyone with his athleticism and vision and it’s easy to forget that he’s just a freshman. Let’s hope that his injury isn’t anything serious and he can finish out his electric first season as the featured back.

Playing a rivalry game on Thanksgiving weekend - No it ain’t COFH, but I’ll still die on the hill that Duke should be more of a rival. With UGA off the schedule this year the Blue Devils are officially our longest continuously-played opponent. We’ve played every year since 1933 and GT holds the overall edge at 52-35-1. They’re another academic-minded school with a surprisingly good football history and I think it’s time we finally name this game as a rivalry (Nerd Bowl? Color Bowl? Battle for the Golden Pencil? Let me know in the comments what y’all think a good name would be). Seriously though, it feels great to handily beat a team that has absolutely owned us over the last little while (reminder that they were 4-1 against us in the last five games preceding this one).

2020 Duke acting like 2020 Duke - Duke entered this game as one of the most turnover-prone teams in the country, averaging a little over three per game. That proved to be the case on Saturday as they coughed up four fumbles and one interception. After having teams like Syracuse play their best game of the year against us, it’s nice to hold an opponent down where they should be.

Offensive consistency - 14 points scored in each quarter is an underrated improvement from an offense that has been struggling to piece two halves together. I mentioned the rising quarterly success rates above, but I want to harp on the fact that this really was a complete game from the offense. Turnovers are still a problem, but we only punted on consecutive drives once in this game.

The return of solid second half defense - I’ve mentioned this many times before, but the Collins era defense has actually been pretty good about making second half adjustments and this game was a continuation of that trend. They held Duke to just 7 second-half points and rose to the occasion when called upon. With just a couple minutes left in the third Duke scored their lone second-half touchdown to bring it to 35-33. From that point forward the defense held them to 57 yards on three drives that ended punt, downs, downs. Over that stretch Duke earned just 3 first downs. Overall the defense only gave up 24 offensive points in this game and I’ll call that a solid performance.

Look Ahead

Up next is NC State, a team we eked out a close victory over last year. The Wolfpack are putting together a decent season this year though; they currently sit at 7-3 with notable wins being Pitt and Liberty (yes it was weird to type this). They were even briefly ranked before getting drubbed by UNC. Still, they haven’t looked particularly amazing. Five of their wins were by 7 or fewer points and they suffered blowout losses to UNC and Virginia Tech. This is one of those games that I think we can definitely win, but it’ll require us to play a complete game on both sides of the ball. Let’s hope that we can build on this Duke result and guys like Gibbs and Harvin can get healthy.