Georgia Tech Falls To #4 Georgia
Geoff Collins' first year as the head coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets is officially in the books, and unfortunately it did not end with a Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate victory.
While offensively they had not mustered much, defensively they executed their game plan fairly well to start the game, forcing a pair of fumbles against a team who does not put the ball on the ground very often. At the half, the Ramblin' Wreck headed into the locker room trailing the Bulldogs just 17-7.
But then the teams reconvened, and Georgia steamrolled their way to victory 52-7 behind 35 unanswered points in the second half.
"I thought they were going to throw the ball less than 10 times," redshirt junior linebacker David Curry said. "We're packing the box and they just want to throw it over our heads, which was not what we were expecting at all."
In the end, it all came down to simply being outmatched and worn down. Georgia simply had the bodies and superior talent to last 60 minutes. While Tech, who has been riddled with injuries all season long, continued to have to play under-developed underclassmen.
"Hinson Fowler is a walk on who was out there at the DT position against that offensive line," Collins remarked. "I don't know if that's a household name around here".
On the first few defensive drives, players like Tre Swilling, Quez Jackson and Kaleb Oliver made some pretty good plays in coverage, forcing UGA quarterback Jake Fromm to start the game 0-4. But then the Georgia run game picked up with D'Andre Swift and Brian Herrien starting to find more open holes, allowing the visiting Bulldogs to put up a quick 17 points in the first quarter alone.
It didn't help Tech's case that the towering Georgia defense made the offense look absolutely abysmal. The Jackets collected only 139 yards of offense to Georgia's 500, picked up only 7 first downs, and was a paltry 3/17 on third down.
In fact the lone Georgia Tech touchdown can be more so accredited to special teams than to offense itself. The Dawgs muffed a punt that the Jackets were able to recover inside the red zone, converting that into 6 with a 6 yard pass from James Graham to Tyler Davis just 4 plays later.
In an attempt to capitalize on the momentum shift, Geoff Collins took a massive gamble, and it word. He caught the UGA kickoff return team off guard with a surprise onside kick, with redshirt freshman safety Jaylon King coming up with the ball.
"I thought Juanyeh [Thomas] had it," King said. "But then I saw it squirm out and I knew I had to be on top of it."
That would not be the only time special teams would play a key role in the first half. Tech was unable to get any sort of momentum going after the onside kick, with their drive culminating in a missed Brenton King field goal. Coincidentally on the other end, UGA's Rodrigo Blankenship also missed a kick, this time as time expired in the second quarter.
Once the second half started, all the momentum swung in UGA's direction. 6 of Tech's 8 second half drives ended in three-and-outs or a fumble, while 5 of Georgia's 8 ended in a touchdown. Halfway through the fourth quarter, both teams had resorted to using their backup quarterbacks. Making matters worse, redshirt sophomore cornerback Tre Swilling would be ejected for fighting in the third quarter, after he and UGA WR George Pickens exchanged blows.
Georgia Tech ends their season at 3-9 and 2-6 in Athletic Coast Conference play.
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