Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About Tech: The good, the bad and the Wofford


 

Justin Thomas had a nice starting debut -- as a passer. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

These short takes are presented as an adjunct to the Georgia Tech-Wofford game column , which can be found on myajc.com. (Tech won 38-19 but had to score the final two touchdowns to do it.)

1. Tech threw the ball better than Tech usually throws the ball, but that's not entirely a positive. Making his first start at quarterback, Justin Thomas completed 11 of 15 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns. That's a good thing. The bad thing is the Jackets needed to throw the ball to win. They couldn't make Paul Johnson's option work the way he wants it to work, this despite an offseason devoted to remastering Johnson's creation. Tech was outrushed by Wofford, which deploys the old-school wishbone, 271 yards to 226. Thomas made the Terriers pay for their attention to Tech's running game, but how many games are the Jackets apt to win if their quarterback has to throw for nearly 300 yards?

2. The Jackets' defense couldn't quite halt a one-dimensional FCS opponent. True, 92 of the Terriers' 326 yards came on one play -- Ray Smith's laughable touchdown ramble on third-and-8 from the Wofford 8 inside the first half's final minute. But Tech forced no turnovers, made no sacks and allowed the visitors to play at their measured pace. "They made some plays at times," Johnson said of his defenders, "and gave up up some plays at other times." That didn't sound like a rave, nor was one warranted. The Jackets don't often have a demonstrable manpower advantage over any opponent, but they did against Wofford. And their lead was only five points with nine minutes remaining.

3. Being Paul Johnson, Tech's coach went for it on fourth down twice with his team leading by a point. On the opening drive of the second half, Johnson, eschewed a punt on fourth-and-1 at Tech's 37 and again on fourth-and-5 at the Wofford 41. Despite bobbling the snap, Thomas gained two yards to convert the first; he found Tony Zenon for 22 yards to convert the second. Johnson's rationale: "I was trying to jump-start our guys. It was like we were sleepwalking through it. I was just trying to wake us up a little bit."


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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.