Despite slow start, Yellow Jackets finish season strong
“We just didn’t finish,” said coach Paul Johnson, who is heading into his sixth season with Georgia Tech. “We led Virginia Tech with less than a minute to go; we were up on Miami by 17 in the fourth quarter – so we just didn’t finish.
“I think losing those two games the way we did took a lot out of us mentally. But, we were able to right the ship after we dug ourselves a huge hole.”
Not only did the Yellow Jackets fall to subpar Virginia Tech and Miami squads, but they were beat by 21 to Middle Tennessee State – at home – and on the road against Clemson.
And then something clicked: Over the next five games, senior quarterback Tevin Washington led the triple option offense to an average of 39.4 points, which helped Georgia Tech beat tough North Carolina and Duke teams. It went 4-1 during that span.
Although the Jackets went on to lose to No. 3 Georgia and No. 13 Florida State in the ACC Championship game, they were granted bowl eligibility from the NCAA and were handed a matchup against the preseason No. 1 team in the country: USC.
Georgia Tech didn’t disappoint, either, beating the Trojans 21-7 and evening its record at 7-7 en route to its first postseason victory in eight tries – the last being in 2004.
“I was happy for our guys to get the bowl (losing) streak out of the way,” said Johnson. “Hopefully, it gives us a little confidence when we head into the spring."
Confidence will be key for Georgia Tech moving forward in a conference that looks to only get more competitive with newcomers Syracuse and Pitt (and Louisville in 2014) officially being added on July 1.
“I think there were a lot of positives,” he continued. “We were a young football team – I think we had nine (10) scholarship seniors and six of those were starters. …we lose a veteran quarterback, but we have a couple of guys waiting in the wings that have a chance to be good. I think we’ll return eight or nine of our top 10 offensive linemen, so certainly there are some things to be excited about.”
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