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Georgia Tech vs NIU Recap: A New Season Leads To The Same Troubles

NIU spoils the start of Tech’s season with a 22-21 victory. The rest of the schedule just seems daunting now.

NCAA Football: Northern Illinois at Georgia Tech Jenn Finch-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest transformation in the history of college football. That’s the line we have heard the last two seasons when games don’t quite go Tech’s way. Watching this game felt like that line was going to be used again. Most of that should be in the rearview now and results need to be delivered.

The results weren’t delivered tonight against a Northern Illinois team who went 0-6 last year against MAC teams. No disrespect to the Huskies but Georgia Tech has nothing left to hang its hat on at this point. It’s year three under Collins and this game look like the beginning of 2019. All the slogans means nothing if the team continues to make the same mistakes three years in a row.

The defense started out well forcing two straight three-and-outs. As the game progressed the flood gates opened along the defensive line. A unit of focus to be bigger and stronger was pushed around all game long. NIU running back Harrison Waylee would total 144 yards on 27 carries. The secondary wasn’t a total bust but some amazing catches by NIU’s receivers nullified some decent coverage. Wesley Walker made a tremendous strip late in the game to set the offense up to take the lead late but that was the only havoc the defense would cause all night.

The true disappointment came in the offense’s performance tonight. Sims was to be a year more experienced and ready to lead after being thrust into the spotlight during the Covid year. Instead he looked lost and overshot several open receivers that could have set Tech up for an early lead. He managed just three completions for 21 yards before fumbling an exchange and having his arm injured in the scuffle for the ball. Jordan Yates would fill in the rest of the night and performed fairly with 136 yards and a touchdown. The crux of the matter was the offensive line. Rarely were they able to push back the opposing line and it seemed at no point did a blocker make it to the second level to pick up any linebackers. Gibbs and Mason did their best shedding tackles and showing off their elusive talent but it wasn’t enough to overcome some horrendous blocking.

If you’re searching for the positives on the night it appears penalties have improved and kickoffs are routinely going through the back of the endzone for touchbacks. Something that should help a poor kick coverage team from last year. Let’s not confuse kickoffs for field goals though. Once again missed field goals that could have won the game are plaguing this team. Cimaglia who transferred from Tennessee pulled his first 43-yard attempt slightly left of the post. His field goal from just shy of 30 yards just fell flat after he slipped planting his foot for the kick. Gavin Stewart got the nod to attempt a game-winning 60 yard kick but pitiful blocking snuffed that hope out with NIU blocking the kick.

Watching this game left nothing endearing to cling to going forward this season. Kennesaw State is up next week and should be the shoe-in win. That might not be such a sure thing after this performance. It’s hard to find where the wins come from now on this schedule and without the wins the recruiting won’t sustain. It’s about time to ask whether this long contract for Collins was wise. He came in to build the program up from the days of the out dated option but right now the future looks bleak.