You’ve got to tip your cap the Georgia Tech for winning this contest. Despite facing several seemingly impossible situations, the Yellow Jackets upset archrival Georgia, and have emerged as a spoiler in the College Football Playoff race.
Let’s be honest: it looked like Georgia Tech was going to lose this ball game several different times in the second half. After all, the run-first Jacket offense got the ball back with just 18 seconds remaining in regulation, making it seem highly unlikely that they’d get into position to tie the game at 24-all with a long kick. Similarly, a blocked PAT in overtime left the Tech defense — up 30-24 — no choice but to come up with a stop against a very potent Dawg offense. Considering that UGA offense had scored on its previous two drives, and had converted all four of its fourth downs in this contest, the odds didn’t look too promising.
However, the Jackets showed the poise of a champion by improvising, adapting, and overcoming the impossible in multiple instances.
Needing to move down the field quickly to tie the game at the end of regulation, Tech quarterback Justin Thomas alertly pulled down the ball and scrambled 21 yards to take the ball to the Georgia 36 with four seconds to play. This heads-up play allowed Harrison Butker to kick a career-long 53-yard field goal to take the game into overtime. After that, the defense came up with its biggest stop of the season, as D.J. White came up with an interception at the 5-yard line on second-and-goal.
This type of resilience is exactly what makes Georgia Tech such a dangerous opponent for Florida State in the ACC Championship Game next week in Charlotte. Even when it looked like Paul Johnson and the Jackets were finished, someone came up with a big play to save the day. Couple that with the fact that it’s difficult to duplicate the speed of the option in practice, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that Tech can pull off the upset next weekend.
Does this mean that Tech will defeat the Seminoles next weekend?
Maybe not. However, the fact that the Yellow Jackets got the job done on the road against an opponent they traditionally struggle against suggests that anything is possible this season.
And for those that are wondering, Paul Johnson is 2-1 against the Seminoles in his career. The lone loss was a six-point defeat in the 2012 ACC Championship Game.
It’ll be fun to watch.