The Yellow Jackets finally got their chance to avenge their loss to the Kansas Jayhawks this past Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium and they did, 66-24. It was a spectacular showing of Paul Johnson's offense at work. They had a record-breaking performance with 768 total yards of offense and 604 rushing yards, both school records.
Many fans were hoping to not see a repeat of what happened last year in Kansas which revealed a lot about the 2010 team. This past game revealed some things about this group. There were six different players to score on Saturday's steamrolling of the Jayhawks. The Jackets set a NCAA record with 12.1 yards per rush in a game that produced two 100-yard rushers in Orwin Smith (157 yards) and Embry Peeples (110 yards).
Smith had a great game with not only 100 yards rushing, but also 100 yards receiving. He broke the school's longest single rush record with a 95-yard run for a touchdown, surpassing Jonathan Dwyer's previous record 88-yard run. The Jackets are currently leading the nation in rushing (427.7 yards per game) and points per game (59.3).
The team this year seems more cohesive offensively and defensively. After a year with Coach Groh the defense is finally looking better. Special teams even showed a glimmer of hope at the end of the second quarter with a blocked kick. Unfortunately it was called back on a bogus roughing the kicker penalty. Although that call was not right in my opinion the Jackets did have a few penalties for false starts and a holding penalty that scratched a touchdown.
However it was still a great game for the Jackets. In fact they got voted back into the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Poll. They're sitting right at No. 25 for the AP and No. 24 for the USA Today Poll. It's kind of funny how they got back in the rankings with the very game that knocked them out last year.
Next the Jackets face the North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0), who just defeated UVA in their conference opener 28-17. They haven't won a conference opener since 2000. This game will be the conference opener for the Jackets. It'll be a noon game and broadcast on ESPN.