Article GT vs UCF Postgame Thread

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Shorthanded Jackets Fall Short In Home Opener

Jahmyr Gibbs (21) runs for a touchdown (Hyosub Shin / ajc.com)

Atlanta, GA – Down six starters and depth at key positions, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1, 1-0) faded late Saturday night in their first home tilt of the 2020 season.  The Central Florida Knights (1-0, 0-0), a respected top 25 program over the last few years, emerged victorious by a final score of 49-21.

The Jackets entered the game with gaps and question marks across its Above The Line (ATL) depth chart when compared to preseason expectations.  Absent from the offense today were starters RB Jordan Mason and TE Dylan Deveney.  Another TE, Dylan Leonard, was a scratch.

The damage done to the defense made matters worse.  Tech’s defensive line was missing starters DE Antonneous Clayton, DT TK Chimedza and DL Antwan Owens along with key rotational player DE Curtis Ryans, a key cog in the Jackets’ week 1 win against Florida State.  Tech’s top CB Tre Swilling also missed his second consecutive game.

“We had to get creative in practice this week… minimal 12 personnel on offense and three down linemen on defense,” said Head Coach Geoff Collins in his postgame interview with radioman Wiley Ballard.

Let’s be clear.  Neither Collins nor the players claimed moral victories.  Save those for today’s victor who is wont for fabricated titles and hardware.

For Tech the mantra is next man up.  The team fought valiantly, showing signs of life into the 4th quarter against an opponent that most outside of the Georgia Tech program expected to roll easily today.  A 33-yard touchdown run by true freshman RB Jahmyr Gibbs narrowed the Knights’ lead to 28-21 with 13:12 remaining in the game.  The home crowd was energized as was the home team.

But football games are won on the line of scrimmage, and Tech began with one hand tied behind its back on the defensive front.  Evidence of wear and tear to that unit showed itself late as the Knights’ vaunted offense reasserted itself in the 4th quarter, scoring three consecutive touchdowns immediately after Gibbs’ jaunt without much resistance.  Tech’s offense sputtered in response, and the final chapter of the story was written.

Despite the absence of key players, the Jackets had plenty of opportunities within their control to affect the outcome of the game.  Turnovers and special teams often determine college football games and today was no different.

Following an impressive first game despite a few mistakes, QB Jeff Sims led a Tech offense today that coughed up the ball five times.  Of the Jackets five turnovers, two came thru the air and three came via the ground game.

Special teams was a mixed bag.  Rarely is “mixed bag” a positive, however after the debacle in Tallahassee that descriptor is an improvement.  The Jackets must resolve its field goal issues to become a threat in the ACC this year and in the future.  See 2014.  Otherwise, “mixed bag” will lead to a new definition for “scoring range”.

There were certainly signs of light.  Jahmyr Gibbs lived up to his billing, ripping off a 75 yard kickoff return on his first collegiate touch.  Gibbs finished with 219 all purpose yards and two touchdowns. 

Tech’s offense has now shown a pattern of improvement as compared to last year.  Sims led the offense to 471 yards of total offense.  Nine different receivers caught balls for 244 yards thru the air, demonstrating a balance and proficiency without needing to rely on one or two playmakers.  To that end, noticeably absent despite the team success were WR Ahmarean Brown and WR Jalen Camp, each of which tallied a single reception for 11 yards.

The Jackets managed 12 chunk plays, defined as passing plays of 15+ yards and running plays of 10+ yards.  The distribution was an even 6 and 6, respectively.  Overall the offense produced 5.8 yards per play and converted 7 of 15 third downs.

Last but certainly not least, punter Pressley Harvin remained an “absolute unit”, averaging 51.2 yards per punt.  Of his four punts, three ended up inside the 20, with one boom ball traveling 70 yards.

Ultimately it was feast or famine on offense.  Combined with a shorthanded defense forced to play 92 plays, the flood gates opened late for Tech’s foe.  Next week brings Tech back into ACC play with a road trip to Syracuse and an opportunity to go 2-0 in ACC play.

 
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tomknight

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Was listening to that in the car. The radio announcers were at first saying the early whistle cost us a touchdown, but at least we got he ball back.

They were sure it would be reviewed and we would get it, as they said it was clearly a fumble and immediate recovery. They acted pretty surprised when the ref cam on and said it would not be reviewed. In their opinion, it should've at least been reviewed.

Later today, I'll find a replay and take a look.



Form the stadium the fumble return looked like the dude was laying on one of our players, but it didn’t get reviewed. For those watching on TV, was his elbow actually down?
 

dressedcheeseside

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Speaking of that, yes it was UCF first drive, but man that missed assignment by Oliver on the read option taking the give instead of QB was big. That would’ve been a huge stop after the quick start
Was it missed assignment or a missed read? If he stays wide, the qb is forced to give, right? Why not have him crash down, then have another guy take the qb like FSU was doing to us?
 

GaTech4ever

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Our three lowest graded players on offense (according to PFF). From lowest to third-lowest: Sanders, Brown, Carter. Peje Harris easily the top ranked player on offense, albeit in 17 snaps.

Showell was by far the lowest graded player in coverage and second-lowest on D overall. Juanyeh easily the top graded defender in coverage.
 

Kennethshannon20

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I was at the game. Defense played much better than the score indicated. However, they were faster than us. Our safeties didn't even turn their heads for the ball too many times, but sometimes it's because they were too busy trying to catch up with the receivers. Turnovers killed us just like last week. Fix the turnovers and we are a different program. Also I feel like we avoided route running with our best WR but I guess I'm not a coach so there's that.
 

lv20gt

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Form the stadium the fumble return looked like the dude was laying on one of our players, but it didn’t get reviewed. For those watching on TV, was his elbow actually down?


Yeah, replay showed elbow clearly hit ground. The review crew probably saw that immediately which was why there was no review.
 

bos

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Comments like this makes us sound like pansies. This is a EXTREMELY competitive environment, you’re going get heated moments. I’m pretty sure if that were laxed or nonchalant, that would’ve been a issue as well

You want them to get fired up, but it's the confusion of the coaches/players that is the issue. In-game coaching has to get better, and I'm sure Collins and co. know that.

Ultimately you don't beat a near top 10 team with 5 turnovers.
 

Jacketman99

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Anyone complaining about the defense must remember we were playing without 4 DL. 3 of them would gave been starters and the 4th was named national defensive player of the week last week. We were also without our best CB. That is not a good recipe when going against one of the top offenses in college football. Also didn't we have an injurybor 2 on the DL during the game?
One thing that was very evident watching the broadcast is how many freshmen and sophomores we are depending on. True freshmen qb, rb, te, rt. The DL was almost all freshmen and sophomores. While we will take our lumps this year it bodes well for the future. I am happy we look like we know what we are doing compared to last year. We need to clean up the mistakes, stop wasting scoring opportunities in the red zone and find a kicker.
 

Kennethshannon20

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Anyone complaining about the defense must remember we were playing without 4 DL. 3 of them would gave been starters and the 4th was named national defensive player of the week last week. We were also without our best CB. That is not a good recipe when going against one of the top offenses in college football. Also didn't we have an injurybor 2 on the DL during the game?
One thing that was very evident watching the broadcast is how many freshmen and sophomores we are depending on. True freshmen qb, rb, te, rt. The DL was almost all freshmen and sophomores. While we will take our lumps this year it bodes well for the future. I am happy we look like we know what we are doing compared to last year. We need to clean up the mistakes, stop wasting scoring opportunities in the red zone and find a kicker.
My bigger concern is why we keep experiencing so many injuries, last year and this.
 

Jacketman

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Yesterday was disappointing only because we learned we weren’t quite what we hoped we could be. I think we all knew we aren’t quite there yet going in, but I know as a fan I’m always hopeful we’ll play way above our weight. The overall signs are positive so I’ll remain positive.

a. Gibbs- I’m really not understanding the over the top hype. He was used well out of backfield for some good passing gains, he’s got above average speed in open field but running between the tackles is not there yet. He may develop but he’s not Dwyer and it’s hard to see him getting there in my opinion. A memorable back he’ll likely be if he can remain injury free.

b. Sims played more like a Freshman, it’s going to happen, but he’s clearly a good QB and if we start shuttling QBs I’m gonna be pissed. I think his long ball accuracy will improve in time, it’s only game 2.

c. D was too depleted to hang. We have enough talent, just running out of heads. CF’s scheme did a number on us. No way we were ready for HUNH, too much failing to get lined up & staring at sidelines looking for something.

d. I think @boger2337 nailed it on the coaches. There’s able to compete with the FSU’s of the ACC but need to up their game if we’re going to win a lot of games. With program attention comes extra demands on your time from media, etc. They need to be able to manage it all.

e. This turf is an issue. If we had the wrong cleats again fine, get it fixed, but if not we’re going to have a lot of injury issues. The stadium looked refreshed, but that’s about it, nothing really spectacular.

f. I did not see the iron pumping pre-game. Please tell me that was a joke. I was stuck in the beer line.

g. Management of turnstiles by GT was not all jacked up but we arrived 45 mins early expecting a fiasco. They looked organized and prepared, unlike the beer guy. He looked like they had just found him on Techwood and gave him a job on the spot. Wifi was horrible.

Other than the fact I have to return to work Monday to face a bunch of snot nosed punks at work hounding me, this game seems to represent another step on the journey.
He's not Dwyer? Well, he's only played one game in college, whereas we saw Dwyer for 3 full seasons. Did you expect Gibbs to be 2020 Christian McCaffrey? He was pretty dang good, and it was his first college game. I don't think it's wise to make full judgements of a player based off of his first college game. Dwyer had 5 carries for 27 yards and a TD in his first game, and Gibbs well surpassed that. Not saying he will end up better, but give him a chance.
 

augustabuzz

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it was AAC refs. the AAC probably doesnt give a **** since it benefitted their team
There is a very good reason why the (AAC) is discounted when choosing the playoff teams. This officiating was no worse than that at South Florida a few years ago. Does anyone remember how they whined about the ACC officiating in the return game? I expect UCF to duck our 2022 game.
 

MWBATL

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They won't be near as good at it. I'm still utterly amazed at the number of people on here that don't believe UCF is a top tier football team. They would boat race UNC as well who most feel is the #2 team in the ACC.
I disagree. UCF is a very good team, but they had 3 things in their favor yesterday:
  1. the refs. Worst officiating I have EVER seen and it was heavily one sided. Not saying it cost us the game but it might have
  2. 5 turnovers. You shouldn't expect to be only down 7 with 13 minutes left in game with that many turnovers (but we were)
  3. they wore us out. They were helped quite a bit in this effort by #1 above
In a game with neutral refs, I believe UCF would still be successful on offense, but they would be a mid-tier ACC team overall. Pitt beat them last year, and it was no fluke. Pitt, UNC, Miami and Louisville all would match up pretty well with UCF. Clemson would of course destroy them. Even teams like Virginia, BC and N C State would be highly competitive with them. See them as about a 6-4 team if they played an full ACC schedule this year, with a range of 7-3 to 5-5. They will have a couple of games with their own turnovers (everyone does). But I do agree their offense is good. Les impressed by their defense or special teams.

I think people forget what an high level team would do to anybody who gave them 5 turnovers.

Not sure if anyone on their remaining schedule can beat them (UCF) but it would be a tragedy imho if this team got invited to the BCS Playoffs with a 9-0 record. And if they do, take the over and watch them get boat-raced.
 

Fatmike91

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We needed to run the ball way more. At one point on the second half or felt like we were getting 8 yards per carry. I think we got a bit impatient on the play calling.

/
 

MWBATL

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The Cuse game coming up is going to show what type of season we are going to have. If we win I think it’s still going to be a pretty good year
I agree with this. Cuse isn't as bad as everyone seems to think and we have our weaknesses. Tbh I have no idea who will win. think if we can play a clean game without turnovers or other egregious mistakes, we win, but.....we have yet to show we can do that!
 

Gtswifty81

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Wow over 15 pages already. I thought tech played well. Obviously the score looks much worse than it was. Ultimately we made too many mistakes and missed a few opportunities. The early fumble near the goal line and the blocked fg are back breakers against good teams. Gabriel threw some dimes against us but we should never have been down 28-7 to begin with. Sure, there were a few poor calls (I definitely recall a crucial hold and a PI), but that isn’t what lost the game for us.

I was proud of the D completely shutting down UCF in the 3rd to give us a chance. I was disappointed in how easily UCFs receivers got behind our DBs. On the crucial 4th quarter drives it appeared that carpenter couldn’t keep up UCFs receiver. Not sure if the D was gassed or not late in the 4th.

Sims was ok today. He had a few airmailed throws, missed an opportunity on a deep throw where we had significant separation, and obviously made the wrong decision on 4th and 9 where he had multiple open receivers. However, I expect those mistakes along with turnovers as a true freshman in his second game. We need to do a better job turning our good drives into pts.
 
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