Oct 23, 2021; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers wide receiver Keytaon Thompson (99) carries the ball as Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defensive back Juanyeh Thomas (1) defends during the fourth quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

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Bowl goal slipping away for Georgia Tech

If Georgia Tech is going to reach its goal of playing in a bowl game, the Yellow Jackets are going to have to pull off at least one of the biggest upsets in their recent history.

The Yellow Jackets’ bid to reach the required six wins to be bowl-eligible took a major hit last week with a 26-17 loss to visiting Virginia Tech (4-4, 2-2 ACC). It was the third loss in four games for Georgia Tech (3-5, 2-4).

The Yellow Jackets must win three of their final four regular-season games to be in position to even be invited to a bowl game.

Georgia Tech visits the Miami Hurricanes (4-4, 2-2) on Saturday before hosting Boston College (4-4, 0-4) on Nov. 13. However, Georgia Tech closes at No. 8 Notre Dame (7-1) on Nov. 20 before hosting in-state rival and top-ranked Georgia (8-0), which the Yellow Jackets haven’t beaten in Atlanta this century.

Miami is peaking. After starting the season 2-4, the Hurricanes have upset ranked teams in consecutive weeks. They followed a 31-30 win over then-No. 18 NC State on Oct. 23 with a 38-34 win at then-No. 17 Pittsburgh last Saturday.

The Yellow Jackets’ finishing push will shed light on where they are as a program under third-year coach Geoff Collins.

When Collins took over for Paul Johnson prior to the 2019 season, the Yellow Jackets were coming off a 7-6 season that ended with a loss to Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl.

But they’ve gone 9-21 overall, including 7-16 in ACC play, under Collins, who has the team in danger of not playing in a bowl game for the third straight season, something that hasn’t happened at Georgia Tech since the early 1990s.

Prior to Collins’ arrival, the Yellow Jackets had played in a bowl game in 17 of the previous 19 seasons dating to 1999.

“The thing that we’ve done in this program that guys have done, the coaches have done is close the margin of error. We’ve decreased the gap amongst the teams that we played,” Collins said. “The last phase in the development of the program, not only to be in these close games and when we do not have wide margins of victory, we have got to find ways to win them.”

Georgia Tech’s loss to Virginia Tech is cause for concern since the Hokies entered the game having lost three straight games and were 4-point underdogs. But Virginia Tech never trailed against Georgia Tech, largely because junior receiver Tre Turner caught seven receptions for a career-high 187 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown.

The Yellow Jackets gave up 491 yards, with the Hokies amassing 254 through the air and 237 on the ground. Virginia Tech went 9-for-19 on third downs while Georgia Tech went 3-for-12.

Meantime, Georgia Tech couldn’t take advantage of Jahmyr Gibbs, who rushed for 113 yards on just 11 carries. Quarterback Jeff Sims struggled with his accuracy, going 15-for-26 passing for 183 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

“I’m really tired. We’ve just been fishing for answers, like, ‘What’s going on with this?'” said Georgia Tech linebacker Quez Jackson, who had a career-high 16 tackles against the Hokies.

“At the end of the day, you have to win your one-on-ones and you have to make plays. You’re not going to win a game if you don’t make enough plays because the team on the other side is going to have players who are probably going to make that play that you didn’t make.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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