This week GT 2-1 (1-0 ACC) moves deeper into conference play taking on the UNC Tar Heels 1-3 (0-2 ACC). Tech comes in fresh off a convincing victory over Pitt 35-17 and UNC comes in after a loss to Duke 27-17. Tech is having issues hanging on to the ball, and the Tar Heels have developed an identity as a team that cannot close out games. I cannot say its Techs identity to turn it over. They had four last week yet won the game. It is rare when a football team has that many turnovers and come out victorious. The Yellow Jackets Defense played according to their hashtag (#togetherweswarm) they swarmed all over Pitt forcing 7 three and outs and allowed zero points off turnovers. Pitt could only muster 37 yards rushing. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels can put together three solid quarters of football to earn the lead going into the fourth quarter only to come up short. They have lost their last three games using the same formula getting outscored 54-20 in crunch time.
On how to address Georgia Tech’s four fumbles versus Pitt:
“You take care of the ball. You secure the ball, squeeze it high and tight and work on it in practice. We’re not teaching it any differently now than we ever have. This game, I think, it was an issue. The game before we didn’t turn it over at all. Part of our issue with the ball security on Saturday was some fundamental stuff. When you look at the tape, it wasn’t all just the running backs. The first one, he’s looking at the defense. One got kicked out of his hand, that’s a fluke. When you watch the film, the guy is flying sideways and his foot hits the ball and kicks it, you want to have it secured. The other ones, our fundamentals weren’t really good. It’s clearly something we’ve got to get better at or it’s going to cost us a game, no doubt about that.”
Tech is the nations top rushing team averaging 393.7yards per game. Taquon Marshall and Kirvonte Benson are becoming quite the tandem. Taquon is one of the most exciting players in the country. Benson raced like a BENTLY for 196 yards, scored two touchdowns and sat the all-time rushing record in a game for B Backs. The downside is he fumbled twice. The good sign is each time he came back determined to make amends, and he did just that on a 47-yard blast for a touchdown that closed the deal on Pitt.
Surely the football Gods were considering these two “I will refer to them as lightning and more lightning” when they picked the Yellow Jackets to win by 9.5 points. However, Coach Paul Johnson did not read too much into that.
On whether he finds it better to be favored in a game or better to play as the underdog:
“I don’t pay much attention to that stuff. I don’t think it really matters as a team. I promise we won’t ever talk to our team about being 9.5-point favorites or 9.5-point underdogs or whatever. We just talk about the team and getting ready to play and try to go out and play the best we can. As I said earlier, every game in this league is a dogfight and if you think you’re going to win, you won’t. I mean, if you go in lackadaisical and not ready to play, you’ll get hit right in the mouth. I tell our guys all the time, nobody is going to be intimidated watching us get off the bus and as we walk into the stadium, they’re not going to look over and think, ‘Oh my god, we’ve got to play them?’ So you better bring it and be ready to play and prepare.”
The Monday Morning Coach in me says “they get tired and make mental errors. Perhaps Tech should play hurry up or no huddle on offense so they cannot substitute forcing them to get tired from the constant pressure earlier in the game thus opening up the floodgates in the third quarter instead of the fourth. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets should sting by at least14.