Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Short takes: Jackets lose Thomas, fumble nine times (yes, nine)


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Looking for a recap of the misery in Georgia Tech's 38-21 loss to Miami? Click here to take you to the full column on MyAJC.com.

Below are my three "short takes" on the game:

1. NO THOMAS, NO CHANCE: I'm not sure how big of a chance Georgia Tech was given to upset Georgia next week, anyway. But if quarterback Justin Thomas can't play, they have no shot. Thomas drove the Jackets to a touchdown and a 7-0 lead on their first possession of the game but then he left with an undisclosed injury and did not return. Coach Paul Johnson said Thomas hit his head on the turf but said he didn't have a concussion. Johnson walked slowly and stiffly from the locker room to the bus afterward. He confirmed hitting his head but wouldn't say what the injury was, adding, "I'm fine." Thomas's exit meant the Jackets, who had already lost No. 2 quarterback Tim Byerly early in the season to a knee injury, had to turn to original third-stringer Matthew Jordan, a redshirt freshman. The results were disastrous. The Jackets had four turnovers in their next six possessions as Miami scored 24 straight points after a 7-7 tie. Two of the turnovers were by Jordan (fumble, interception). Tech's defense isn't good enough to win games by itself so it certainly can't win if its offense is a picture of dysfunction.

2. STUMBLES, BUMBLES AND FUMBLES: Georgia Tech fumbled nine times. NINE. Only two were lost, but ... nine? Even with the wet conditions in south Florida, that's absurd. A major college football coach shouldn't have to teach players how to not fumble. But it has been a problem for the Jackets all season. Georgia Tech entered the week tied for fifth in the nation with 11 fumbles lost (24 fumbles total). Hey, there's still time to lead the world! So the nine total and two lost on Saturday bring their season totals to 33 fumbles overall and 13 lost. Jordan fumbled at the Hurricanes' 3-yard-line, ending a certain scoring drive. Miami then drove 97 yards for a touchdown. On the ensuing Georgia Tech possession, running back Patrick Skov fumbled at the Tech 46. The ball was returned 45 yards by the Hurricanes' Ufomba Kamalu, who fumbled into the end zone but it was recovered by teammate Jermaine Grace for another touchdown. So the game went from 7-7 to 21-7 Miami in a span of 2:25.

3. THE JOHNSON QUESTION: Some Georgia Tech fans want Paul Johnson fired. I'm going to assume, however, that these are the same Tech fans who wanted Johnson fired last year or the year before back. Firing Johnson makes zero sense now for two reasons: 1) Tech is coming off a season in which it went 11-3 overall and 6-2 in the ACC. While this season has been a disaster, justifying a firing now is nonsensical; 2) Financially, Tech can't possibly take the hit a firing would cause. Johnson's contract was given a four-year extension after last season, effectively signing him through the 2020 season at $3.02 million per year. So he has five years left on his deal. Do the math. For what its worth, there are less expensive buyout options that kick in after 2017 (two more seasons).


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.