Postgame Thoughts from Nashville: Georgia Tech at Vandy
It was a huge night for Embry Peeples and the Georgia Tech offense.
Say what you will about Georgia Tech's performance Halloween night in Nashville.
Yes, the defense gave up almost 400 yards for, like, the umpteenth time this season.
Yes, Vandy's speedy running back Warren Norman ran what was supposed to be a squib kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.
And yes, Georgia Tech has some serious issues, especially in the tackling department.
But when the dust settled, and most of the sparse pro-Vanderbilt crowd ventured off to parts unknown, the Yellow Jackets had defeated another team from the vaunted SEC, and racked up nearly 600 yards of offense against a top 20 defense.
From the opening coin flip till the final second ticked off the clock at Vanderbilt Stadium, Paul Johnson's spread option was, in a word, unstoppable. There were simply too many weapons for the Commodores to contain, and on a cold November night down by the Tennessee River, the Jackets offense was red-hot.
To lead Tech, Jonathan Dwyer ran for a career high 186 yards and 3 touchdowns, Josh Nesbitt added four more with his arm and legs, and Embry Peeples caught only the second Tech TD pass this year by someone not named BeBe.
The only thing that kind of surprised me about Tech's offense tonight was the lack of touches and yardage from Anthony Allen, who had been the go-to A-back the last four weeks. However, I find it hard to complain, since Roddy Jones finally got to carry the ball, with 80 yards on just 9 carries.
As good as the offense looked, Dave Wommack's defense appeared to be lost for half of the game, and lost all the momentum and good will it had gained the last two weeks.
Vandy came into the game with an offense that could be described as anemic at best, only scoring over 20 points one other time this season, and that was against Rice. Against Tech, the Dores were able to move the ball up and down the field at will in the first half, and entered the locker room tied with Tech at 28 with 30 minutes of football left to play.
I will say that excellent adjustments were made by the Tech D in the second half, with Vanderbilt only scoring three points, and that came on a field goal that was set up by a 40 yard miracle tipped pass.
Another one of Tech's main concerns, after tonight, has to be the performance of the kickoff coverage team. The special teams coaches came into this game knowing how dangerous the Vandy return game was, but the Commodores were still able to return one kickoff for a touchdown, and a few others were close to being broken.
Scott Blair's kickoff rarely travel deeper than the 15 yard line, and this really puts the gunners and tacklers behind the eight ball.
Finally, once again, Tech prevailed because Paul Johnson and Dave Wommack were able to make crucial adjustments at the half, while the opposing coaches just couldn't cut it. I still feel like Tech is playing with fire, though, and if they keep letting mediocre teams hang around, eventually the Jackets are going to be saddled with another loss.
What improvements/changes should Tech make before a crucial showdown with Wake Forest next week? What could they do to be better prepared or play better on defense? Talk back and let me know!
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