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Georgia Tech Football: Things I Think I Know - Regular Season Recap

What do we know heading into bowl season?

AP Photo: Jacob Kupferman

We improved under Brent Key

2023 was a rollercoaster year for the football program. But after sitting down and reflecting on this season, it all comes down to one key point: We’ve improved and taken a significant step forward under Brent Key’s leadership. Sure, we were inconsistent, and the defense had some struggles, but there is a night-and-day difference from where we were just a mere season or two ago. We took Louisville down to the wire. We scored the highest number of points against uga compared to any other team throughout the season. We beat two ranked teams. We finished above .500 for the first time since 2018. We are back in the postseason! There is so much to be happy about regardless of some negatives. I have been guilty of the “would’ve, could’ve, and should’ve” of this season, but overall, I can’t complain.

There is no question we had some of the worst years in our program history from 2019-2022. We’ve long awaited the day that things will start to turn around, and this year we now have a glimmer of hope. Let’s investigate this newfound success. In Key’s 2022 interim debut alone, he secured twice as many wins against top 25 teams as compared to the coach before. Following this season, he now boasts four times as many victories against ranked opponents. It gets even crazier when you look at the total win comparison. Under Key’s guidance as head coach, he has not only matched the win total of our last coach, but he has achieved this milestone with 18 fewer games played, making that accomplishment all the more impressive. Speaking of improvements, according to Bill Connelly’s SP+ system, we are in the top 5 of the most improved teams in the country. This metric is based on several factors, such as returning production, recent recruiting, and recent history from previous seasons. The SP+ measures how much teams have improved in these areas based on these three factors.

We have thrived as the underdog since the mid-2022 season. We have the most wins in college football as an underdog since 2020 (12), and 8 of those have been under Coach Key. Key has received lots of high praise and has just been named a National Coach of the Year Finalist. Sure, 6-6 isn’t an ideal record, and losing to Bowling Green isn’t an ideal loss, but gosh darn we have come a long way since losing to Clemson 77-7 or losing to Temple 24-2. We even lost to an FCS team just four seasons ago. When we put that into perspective, we need to give lots of credit to Coach Key, J Batt, the coaching staff, and the players.

The offense has progressed under Buster Faulkner

We really don’t even need to look at statistics to back this one up. The eye test shows we are leaps and bounds better on this side of the ball, but to prove how dramatic the difference was, let’s break out the stat book.

Sports Source Analytics released a comparison of statistics of the offense in 2022 versus the offense in 2023. The difference is astounding. Some key points include:

  1. In 2023 the offense scored 31.17 points per game, and in 2022 they scored 17.17 points per game.
  2. The total offense went from 325.17 yards per game to 429.08 yards per game.
  3. We have allowed 1.25 sacks per game as opposed to last year’s 3.25
  4. Yards per play increased from 4.84 to 6.40
  5. 3rd down efficiency went from 30.6% to 43.5%
  6. QB passing rating increased to 90.2 from 74.1
  7. The rushing offense increased by 44.08 yards per game
  8. The passing offense increased by 39.83 yards per game

This offense was fun to watch. There is no doubt about that. Buster Faulkner has done an outstanding job here, and players like transfer QB Haynes King and converted wide receiver Jamal Haynes have helped give us the edge we needed to become an electric offense. I am excited to see what the ceiling is for us as many starters are coming back, as well as some exciting new faces.

Dabo Swinney told the nation to buy Clemson stock, and today I am telling the nation to buy Georgia Tech stock. We have come such a long way under new leadership, and I think the future is bright for this football program. Let’s see what bowl game we land this weekend.

Go Jackets.