BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Games like this don't dismiss the 1-7, rock-bottom finish in the ACC last season and it's not going to make some forget the defensive collapses from this year, including the carnage in Chapel Hill a week ago.
But what happened Saturday happens frequently under coach Paul Johnson. He brings Georgia Tech the extreme highs. The Jackets, a two-touchdown underdog, stunned Virginia Tech 30-20 Saturday in a game that really wasn't that close. They did so without starting quarterback Justin Thomas, B-back Dedrick Mills and two starting offensive linemen.
Tech does this. Johnson does this. There are several reference points but three immediately come to mind:
• Last season's 22-16 win over unbeaten and No. 9 ranked Florida State.
• A 30-24 overtime win last season over then No. 9 Georgia (which was a 10½-point favorite).
• A 28-23 upset of No. 4 Virginia Tech in 2009, which prompted fans to tear down one of the goal posts and carry it out of Bobby Dodd Stadium.
The Jackets (6-4, 3-4) became bowl eligible with the win. If they sweep their remaining games against Virginia (they will be favored), Georgia (they will be underdogs in Athens) and the bowl game, they would finish 9-4 -- the near-inverse of last year's 3-9 finish.
"I told the team 6-6 is not what we’re after," Johnson said. "We have a chance this week to get to seven (wins) and then we have a chance to get one more. Once we were out of the conference race, I challenged our team to try to win nine games. And if you look back over the last 50 years, it hasn’t been done a lot (at Georgia Tech)."
As Johnson left the field, members of the school's marching band and some of the 150 Tech fans in attendance chanted, "CPJ! CPJ!"
That's a far cry from those who've been screaming for his firing. But he has made a history of changing the narrative.
Paul Johnson isn't going anywhere.
FOR MY FULL COLUMN ON GEORGIA TECH'S WIN, CLICK HERE.
Subscribe to the, “We Never Played The Game” podcast with Jeff Schultz and WSB's Zach Klein. All episodes can be downloaded and heard on iTunes or here via WSBRadio.com. New episodes every Monday and Thursday.
- Weekend Predictions: Some things are easy to predict (Dogs lose)
- Dan Quinn may have fixed what ailed Falcons
- Podcast: Smoltz says Clemens, Bonds shouldn't be in Hall of Fame
- Falcons give Dimitroff three-year extension -- and yes, I agree
- Georgia Tech's defense is a trainwreck, and that's on Johnson
- Georgia Tech's defensive problems: Is it players or coaching?
- Weekend Predictions: In an upside down world, it's Kentucky over Georgia
- Will SEC get two teams into college football playoffs?
- Hawks needed a spark but Dennis Schroder brings a blowtorch
- Podcast blog: Hawks' owner says, 'I want a (bleepin') parade'
- At 4-4, Georgia's bowl eligibility suddenly isn't a certainty
- Dogs dumped, and rebuilding projects shouldn't look this bad
- Weekend Predictions: Surprise from underworld -- Dogs upset Gators
- Podcast blog: If you don't know Jesse Itzler, you want to know Jesse Itzler
- Hawks are taking the leap on Schroder, rest is up to him
- Florida has defined Georgia's failures. Can Kirby Smart change that?
- No suspension for players? Welcome to new world at Georgia
- Quinn's decision might've been right but everything else was wrong
- Throwback performance: Falcons blow 27-10 lead and lose
- If Howard can help Hawks, he'll change how his story is written
- Weekend Predictions: Dogs, Jackets hibernate; Falcons, Bama roll
- Paul Johnson on critics, future; will Jackets finish better than Dogs?
- Georgia's makeover looks more like a decline
- Georgia playing to level of opponents -- and against Vandy, that's bad
- Weekend Predictions: Votes for Dogs and Jackets, but Falcons' run ends in Seattle
- Podcast blog: Braves should have done a little more for Snitker
- Brian Snitker, a 40-year temp, finally gets his shot
- Braves' Snitker an unusual choice but not necessarily wrong choice
- Podcast blog: Arthur Blank (Part II): On future, Vick and his plans to fire Petrino anyway
- After past two weeks, any win looks good to Georgia
- Jacob Eason struggles in win but it's a little early to jump ship
- Braves wrong to blame McDowell for struggling prospects
- Weekend Predictions: Georgia wins over remains of Spurrier's mess
- NEW: Podcast b log: 'We Never Played The Game' podcast (Arthur Blank, Part I)
- Positive vibes about rebuild aside, Braves still need starting pitching
- Snitker was good but Bud Black may be Braves' choice for manager
- View in NFC South isn't what most expected: Falcons on top
- It's early but Falcons are looking legit
- Will optics of Mark Richt (4-0) vs. Kirby Smart (3-2) get better for Georgia?
- Mark Richt makes his return and looks right at home again at Georgia Tech
- Best Braves memory at Turner Field: 2010 and Bobby Cox's final season
- Weekend Predictions: And now for something completely different -- Dogs win
- Falcons' Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home
- Falcons create a new memory for themselves in New Orleans
- Falcons can't create more happy memories for Saints
- LSU just fired Les Miles -- this is what lunacy looks like