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Top Ten of the Last Ten, #0: 2008 vs. Gardner-Webb

There can be no light without darkness

Virginia Tech v Georgia Tech
Sorry, Calvin. At least you’re undefeated as a starter.
Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Happy April Fools Day from all of us at From the Rumble Seat! Top Ten of the Last Ten is back to bring you one last game. “But how could that be,” you ask, “you’ve already done #1!” That’s right, dear reader, we have. So what do you do after you’ve gotten to one? That’s right. You go to zero. Enjoy.... or maybe don’t. That’s up to you.

Here’s a fun exercise: do a YouTube search for “Georgia Tech Gardner Webb football 2008”. The first result is a 3:46 film which could generously be described as that game’s highlights. That’s all there is of it, on the entire internet. The remaining footage, I assume, has been launched into the sun, a fate still better than it deserves. ESPN’s stat line for this game isn’t even complete; nearly half of the game’s total possession time is missing from the calculations.

This game shouldn’t have ever even been played. Georgia Tech had a home and home scheduled with Army in 2007-08, with the second game to be held in West Point. But after getting pasted in Atlanta in 2007, Army — the literal representatives of the United States freaking Army — chickened out of the second game, stating they were “changing their scheduling philosophy”. Georgia Tech doesn’t do a good job of OOC scheduling on a good day, so forget trying to schedule something less than a year in advance.

So they played Gardner-Webb. In the middle of October. Right when fall break was. There were enough Goldfellas in attendance to spell out “GT!”, with the exclamation point. The announced attendance was just under 42,000. There were definitely far fewer in Bobby Dodd Stadium that day; each and every one of those people would have better spent their time that afternoon doing literally anything else.

Joshua Nesbitt was in the middle of his breakout season as quarterback in 2008. Unfortunately, he had hurt his hamstring two weeks prior against Mississippi State and would sit out the following two games, being replaced by Jaybo Shaw. Unfortunately for that, Shaw suffered a concussion the following week against Duke. Paul Johnson, seeing the upcoming FCS opponent as an opportunity to let QBs 1 and 2 heal up, gave the starting nod for this game to one Calvin Booker, a transfer from Auburn.

Booker did not transfer to Georgia Tech to play quarterback in a flexbone offense. He was a lumbering, pocket-passer type quarterback suited to taking snaps seven yards behind the center in a pro-style offense. It showed, as he carried the ball 19 times for 35 yards on the day. That was still better than Jonathan Dwyer’s 16 carries for 27 yards.

Tech’s only offensive highlight on the day was a short screen pass from Booker to Dwyer that Dwyer took all the way to the endzone. Officially, it was a 79 yard pass. It accounted for 40 percent of Tech’s total yards on the day. Booker’s play that day was so poor he was replaced for part of a series by 4th string quarterback Bryce Dykes. Dykes carried the ball four times, gaining zero yards on one play and losing yards on the other three. On his last play, he fumbled, and following this was never seen again.

And as the clock wound down and the sun began to set on one of the longest days of my and maybe 30,000 other people’s lives, the Runnin’ Bulldogs had put themselves in position to score a field goal and force overtime. Thankfully, Derrick Morgan managed to swat it down and put the game to bed. Unthankfully, everyone present was still worse off for having witnessed it all.

Number one on this list is, according to the record books, a win. It’s also one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. Let us never speak of it ever again.