After being unable to move the football on their first offensive possession the Yellow Jackets had to punt. The only positive was that at least they garnered one first down before having to give the football back to Maryland. Bearing in mind that I was holding my breath on the first defensive series, we were able to hold the Terps to a three and out. Given the fact they were starting a linebacker at QB in this game who hadn’t played there since high school, I remained guarded as I was concerned that at some point he might become the next Cam Newton with his debut against Georgia Tech. Apparently the defense read my recent article and took it to heart as they played stout for the entire first half only giving up a meaningless first down with about one minute left before halftime.
Other than our kicker missing an extra point after the first touchdown by Tevin on a QB follow up the middle, the Yellow Jackets scored first and were holding a 6 to 0 lead at that point, but little did I know that was going to be his less eventful miss of the afternoon. The defense was still playing well or perhaps the Maryland linebacker is just not a QB, a reality that was exposed when he fumbled the football trying to operate the spread option and the Yellow Jackets were all over that turnover.
At any rate the Yellow Jacket offense was moving the ball on the perimeter with good blocking both inside and on the edge pushing it in for two more touchdowns and increasing the lead to 20 to 0 going into halftime. At this juncture it was a solid, if not great performance for the squad. As expected when playing on the road, the calls are not always going to be favorable as it was hard to tell if GT got a piece of ball on the roughing the kicker penalty. The defense held Maryland once again so while it took away some good field position it wasn’t a monumental call.
At this point in the season a simple extra point has become not only unobtainable but now every attempt is a catastrophic adventure. After our kicker misses yet another extra point this time booting it straight into the line of scrimmage, he catches it on the rebound then has a flashback Garo Yepremian Super Bowl VII moment and tries to run the option play that looks more like the Kindergarten version of hot potato. If not for a horse collar tackle GT would have given up two points and certainly all the momentum for the game. At this juncture I would vote to go for a two point conversion after each touchdown as opposed to watching this debacle time and time again.
The most fragile psyche in football lies in the noggin of the kicker and it doesn’t matter if it’s the NFL or pee wee football. At the present time our kickers are the Yellow Jackets own worst enemy and it’s time to call an end to it for the duration of the season other than the mandatory kickoff after a touchdown. This has just become an absolute abomination! Frankly the odds of getting two points on every other touchdown has greater odds than ever seeing an extra point sail through the uprights with any kind of consistency.
It’s very hard to tell anything about our defense in this game now three games into the post Al Groh era, however, giving up a touchdown pass with one second left in the game was absolutely nauseating. Even more so since it was the second touchdown pass in the game by the Maryland linebacker that they named as their starting QB about five days ago. Good thing they didn’t have a bye week prior to this game against GT or he might have gone off for 350 yards and four scores. Based on his impressive performance in this contest alone, the NCAA should immediately place him on the Davey O’Brien list as a finalist! It is doubtful that if the Yellow Jackets had to start a linebacker at QB that our performance would have risen up this level.
I generally don’t comment about the officiating in any game since it usually balances out throughout the course of the game. However, the spotting of the football on third and fourth downs was not only awful for GT, it was flat out horrible. But the biggest blunder came on the QB sack of the Davey O’Brien finalist in the second half who was clearly stripped of the football while he standing upright. A Yellow Jacket defender picked up the football but for some bizarre reason we were never given possession. No doubt Paul Johnson will be taking that up with the ACC this week as it was clearly a fumble on the broadcast replay and even my friend’s seeing-eye dog was shocked at such an obvious blown call.
Both Tevin and Vad Lee did a fine job running the offense, and my compliments to Synjyn Days for some great running and blocking on the edge at A-Back. However, there was no excuse for the two fumbles one early in the game, and the other one with about two minutes left when the Yellow Jackets were running out the clock to close out the game. Other than the Stephen Hill dropped pass from Tevin that would have been about a forty yard gain, the offense did very well against a stout Maryland defense.
So now it’s onto North Carolina next week against the Tar Heels in just another must have win for Georgia Tech. Go Jackets!