1. Georgia Tech’s failure to run the ball after the first quarter led, in a wayfaring fashion, to the bizarre play that sealed the game: The Jackets had cut a 16-point deficit to six by throwing long, and when they took possession on their 20 with 4:36 remaining, the coach who has made clock-eating drives his stock in trade didn’t even try to fashion a clock-eating drive. Paul Johnson called a reverse pass by sub receiver Corey Dennis, who wound up fumbling the ball into the end zone for an Ole Miss safety. (Tackle Ray Beno recovered for Tech, ceding two points but leaving the Jackets within eight.) Johnson said afterward he’d been waiting to call that play because he “knew it would work.” It didn’t.
2. Tech’s defense, which had been very good against the run, was pretty bad against it Monday: The Jackets ranked 11th nationally in rushing defense, and Ole Miss entered with the eighth-best rushing offense in the SEC. But the Rebels rushed for 221 yards — 70 more than Georgia Tech — and saw quarterbacks Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti gain 117 yards on 17 carries. Indeed, Wallace scored touchdowns on bursts of 17 and 10 yards through the middle of Tech’s defense, which seemed defenseless on those two plays.
3. An Ole Miss delay-of-game penalty helped Ole Miss clinch the game, if you can believe that: Even after the botched reverse pass, Tech appeared to have stopped Ole Miss with 2:25 remaining. But linebacker Brandon Watts’ apparent sack of Wallace was waved off because the play clock had hit zero before the snap. On third-and-13, Wallace found freshman receiver Laquon Treadwell, who’d beaten linebacker Quayshawn Nealy by a step, over the middle for 27 yards. When finally Tech got the ball, only 37 seconds remained. A Vad Lee interception on first down quashed all hope.