Two in a row baby!
Game Recap in Three Sentences
Tech snagged the lead midway through the second quarter and never looked back, at one point scoring on three straight drives.
The rushing offense was awesome once again with 305 rushing yards and five scores.
The defense had Virginia in third-and-longs all afternoon and held the Hoos to a 25% third down conversion rate.
Above The Line of the Week
- Jamal Haynes. Not to be outdone by Dontae Smith absolutely going OFF to make up for lost time, Haynes quietly recorded his career high in rushing yardage (119 yards) along with a score. That’s now four straight games with a score for him.
- Truly fall weather. Wearing an unzipped jacket over a hoodie is :chefs-kiss:.
- Dependable special teams. I don’t feel panic when Birr lines up for a FG attempt (he’s 10/11 on the season by the way), and Shanahan landed three punts inside the 20 in this game. It might not be perfect, but it’s night and day compared to the Collins-era special teams we all had to suffer through.
Unformed Thought of the Week
Do y’all remember how Jeff Sims was our “dynamic running QB”? What if I told you that, with three games left in the season, Haynes King has now rushed for more yards this season (545) than Sims did in his best year (492 in 2020)? What if I told you that in that 2020 season Sims rushed for six TDs and King now has five in 2023? The dark horse weapon of 2023 has been King on the ground - he’s averaging over 7 yards per rush.
5 Star (7 Star, 5 Star) Developmental Program Haiku of the Week
Winners once again
Winter coming, Jackets hot
Let’s make a damn bowl
It has been 1151 days since September 12th, 2020 - the last time we won a game that gave us a winning record.
If that feels like an eternity ago it’s because it is. In many ways that was us as a fanbase at our most naive; year 0 of the Collins era was predictably and understandably rough, but year 1 started with an exciting conference win and a new, hyped QB (not to mention the new, hyped RB that wasn’t able to play the opened against FSU). It felt like we were placing ourselves on the national stage as a team ready to compete. Sadly, we all know what has happened since that game. Now three years and countless heartbreaks later, we find ourselves in a similar position: a winning record, a hyped QB, and the idea that we’re ready to break out.
Here’s the thing though, we are not remotely the same team or program that we were all those days ago. We don’t just have a 1-0 record because we started with a win against a team that finished the year 3-6, we’ve earned several solid wins and shown improvement as the season has gone on. We don’t just have a hyped QB recruit showing flashes of being good, we have a proven QB performing at the very top of the conference. Most importantly we haven’t just been sold the idea that we’re getting better, we have the evidence to back it up.
Things feel different because they are.
It may be nothing more than the simple act of winning two games in a row, but that simple act gives me hope. After so long with losing streaks instead of winning streaks, doing it two years in a row gives me hope that we’ve hit the bottom and are bouncing back up. It gives me hope that there is a path forward and the people in charge have us on it. It gives me hope that next year we could win three or four in a row. It gives me hope that we’re something more than the punchline of college football.
It feels like we’ve become a real football team again in 2023. Sure we lose games, but we win them too. Not only that, we win big games. We’re improving as time goes on and people are projecting us to a bowl game. We’ve got nationally relevant players and we’ve got coaches that are making the right decisions.
There’s two things you can do now. Either believe that things can’t change and that we’ll find a way to let this fall apart, or believe that things are different and let yourself hope. I choose to hope.
Up next is Clemson (11/11, 12:00). I have no idea what to think about this game - both teams have been absolute enigmas all season. Just when things were looking pretty grim for the Tigers, they pulled off a huge upset over Notre Dame. At this point though I’m pretty convinced we have the ability to beat anyone (except for uga), so I’d throw this one in the “if we play our best then we’ve got a good shot” category. In particular it’s good to see our offense peaking at the right time; we’re going to need our A game to score on a strong defense.