Monday, September 08, 2014

Tech Trounces Tulane

Only Georgia Tech can look bad in a 38-21 win. Take away a gift touchdown and missed field goal, and the possible 41-14 score looks even better. QB Justin Thomas fumbled the ball away on the first play of the game, setting up Tulane for an easy 7-0 lead. Then Thomas calmly led the Jackets down the field on their ensuing possession to tie the score. Tulane responded with a TD drive of their own, running off huge gains on the ground. Then Tech lost another fumble. Both Thomas and Zenon blamed themselves, though the pitch seemed not to lead Zenon.

In the second quarter Tulane returned the favor. Instead of sticking with the successful running game, the Green Wave took to the air. The quarterback's short pass was well off the mark - right into the hands of linebacker Neely for an easy touchdown. Despite the announcer's praise, I did not see Neely stand out on defense.

The two ESPN announcers, Joel Meyers and Brian Kinchen, did a terrible job, seemingly paying more attention to their pre-game notes than what was actually going on down on the field. Instead of offering in-game analysis, they kept referring back to what players had done last week. Kinchen said Tech kicker Harrison Butker "pulled" his 39 yard attempt left, when in fact the kicker lined up wrong. Based on his position, I predicted wide left before the ball was snapped.

The announcer miscues continued after the half. Meyers was repeatedly too quick on the "Touchdown!" trigger. Thomas broke off a long run and tiptoed down the sideline the last ten yards. Instead of checking the official's signal, Meyers proclaimed touchdown - though the replay clearly showed the official pointing to the spot where Thomas stepped out of bounds. Instead of correcting himself when Tech's offense lined up for first and goal, the confused Meyers thought they were going for a two point conversion. Instead of correcting him, Kinchen remained silent. Then Meyers made the same mistake on the very next play! It was obvious from the telecast that the ballcarrier had been stopped short, but the announcers continued to err.

Tulane abandoned the running game despite its success - and despite the poor passing of the starting quarterback. Tech defenders were sacking, defending passes, and making interceptions. Had Tulane kept running the ball they might have come back. Tech only led by ten as the clock counted down to end the third quarter. The horn blew just after the snap. QB Thomas was hesitant, and threw off his back foot - resulting in a poorly thrown interception. The blocked punt offset the INT.

Once again B back Laskey proved he's much better than converted quarterback Days. Bad blocking by tech running backs and wide receivers limited the offense more than anything. Backup QB Beverly proved he can run for short yardage and move the offense. His game is more basic to Thomas' explosiveness, though both can be effective. Was Tulane RB Hilliard any relation to Ike?

Tech took over with 6:25 to go and ran out the clock - driving down deep into Tulane territory. It goes without saying that the Jackets will have to play better to beat a hungry Georgia Southern team.

MERCER/FURMAN: could've gone, but my dad needed to rest.

CLEMSON/SOUTH CAROLINA STATE: the blowout means little, though freshman QB DeSaun Watson got needed playing time.

GEORGIA SOUTHERN/SAVANNAH STATE: another blowout with little meaning. Savannah State lost big in week one as well. Could give the Eagles a false sense of confidence against Tech.

SOUTH CAROLINA/EAST CAROLINA: another rough game for the Gamecocks, though Spurrier will have his team ready for Georgia.

NOTRE DAME/MICHIGAN: Is Michigan that bad, or is ND that good? Is it the Michigan QB? He did break Tom Brady's record.

VIRGINIA TECH/OHIO STATE: Loved it. And I didn't think the Hokies were that good.

OREGON/MICHIGAN STATE: another Big Ten loss. But top ten teams are supposed to beat teams ranked 11-20.

FALCONS/SAINTS: Great win. Nice to see the running game clicking. Love Matt Bryant - what a steady kicker. Two straight 50-yarders. Since he's been in the league Matt Ryan has more comeback victories than any other QB. The head coach looked like he was going to cry. This could be the springboard to a playoff run.

PANTHERS/BUCCANEERS: Sports Illustrated picked Tampa Bay to win the division. Not good to get beat by a backup QB.

JAGUARS/EAGLES: First the Jags had their fans excited, then disappointed.

49ERS/COWBOYS: Romo kept making mistakes, though he didn't get help from highly-paid teammates like Dez Bryant, who often disappears in big games. Could be a long year for Jerry Jones.

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