Reeling Georgia Tech faces two giants to close out season
If Georgia Tech is going to show any improvement under third-year coach Geoff Collins this season, the reeling Yellow Jackets are going to have to pull off at least one of the biggest upsets in all of college football.
The Jackets (3-7) have won three games in each of the past two seasons under Collins. If they don’t find a way to win nonconference games at No. 9 Notre Dame (9-1) on Saturday or at home against top-ranked Georgia (10-0) on Nov. 27, they will have another one.
The Yellow Jackets finished with a losing record just three times in 11 seasons under Paul Johnson, whom Collins replaced after the 2018 season. They are already guaranteed their third one in as many seasons under Collins, as they’ve sunk toward the bottom of a very mediocre Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Yellow Jackets have gone 9-23 overall, including 7-18 in ACC play, under Collins. They won’t be 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 only missed out on bowl season twice since 1997.
“It’s frustrating, it hurts,” Collins told reporters. “But we’re just going to keep working.”
Georgia Tech has five losses by nine points or fewer and three by six or fewer this season.
“We’ve been so close,” safety Tariq Carpenter told reporters. “That’s the part that hurts.”
The past three weeks have been especially disheartening. After opening 3-4 that included losses to three of the ACC’s best teams — Clemson, Pittsburgh and Virginia — it appeared Georgia Tech could regain its footing against the league’s lesser teams.
Georgia Tech followed with losses to Virginia Tech and Miami before falling 41-30 on Saturday to visiting Boston College, which had won just once since September before rolling into Atlanta and amassing 505 yards of total offense.
Georgia Tech jumped out to a 21-7 lead after Jordan Yates’ two-yard run just over a minute into the second quarter. But the Eagles (6-4) scored the next 21 points to take a 28-21 lead at halftime they wouldn’t relinquish.
“We’ve just got to find a way, when we get up 21-7, we’ve got to shut the door on people,” Collins told reporters. “We just need to keep gaining momentum and gaining ground and not let go of the rope.”
Georgia Tech’s Jahmyr Gibbs, who scored on a 98-yard kickoff return in the first quarter, scored on a 4-yard run to pull the Yellow Jackets to 31-30 with 8:59 remaining in the game, but Brent Cimaglia missed the extra point. Boston College scored the next 10 points to put the game away.
Again, Georgia Tech’s defense was torched. Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec ran for three touchdowns and went 13-for-20 passing for 310 yards and two touchdowns.
The Yellow Jackets have given up an average of 337.3 passing yards, in addition to 11 touchdown passes, during their four-game losing streak.
The Yellow Jackets’ previous three opponents are a combined 16-14 and none has a winning record in league play.
Now, Georgia Tech closes against Notre Dame, which has won five straight and whose lone loss is to unbeaten Cincinnati. Georgia hasn’t been beaten this season and hasn’t lost in Atlanta to Georgia Tech this century.
“We have a lot of good players in that locker room,” Collins told reporters.
–Field Level Media