Georgia Tech hosted the Virginia Tech Hokies on Thursday night in a nationally televised game and ended up on the losing end of the 17-10 final scoreline. Mental errors and a solid Hokie defense were the undoing of the Yellow Jackets who lost for the first time this season and now stand at 3 and 1 for the year.
Mental errors were a huge part of the game. Tech fumbled on their first offensive possession and gave Virginia Tech possession on the Yellow Jacket 27. Two plays later and the Hokies were up by a touchdown as Logan Thomas completed a pass to D.J. Coles who ran in untouched.
On the subsequent Yellow Jacket drive, mental errors once again stripped the Yellow Jackets of any momentum. Three false start penalties, a pass fumbled and recovered by Smelter, and another interception to finish the drive at the Hokie 13 yard line. Georgia Tech couldn't get into any kind of rhythm and it showed.
Credit the Hokie defense for keeping the Jacket offense off balance all evening. The running game yielded just over 3 yards a carry and Vad Lee went 7 of 24 for 144 yards passing.
By contrast, while Georgia Tech's defense played the run very well limiting the Hokies to only 55 yards on 27 carries, Hokie quarterback Logan Thomas had a great passing night going 19 of 25 for 221 yards and a touchdown. He was also the Hokies leading rusher with 58 yards on 18 carries.
After he ran in for a touchdown early in the second quarter and the Hokies were up by 14 points Georgia Tech were finally able to put together a scoring drive. Starting on their own 25 Georgia Tech drove down to the Hokie 32 yard line and kicked a field goal. Even that drive had two more penalties that took Jackets from first and ten on the Hokie 22 to second and 20 from the Hokie 32. Very deflating mentally!
Coach Johnson said "I've never seen so many mistakes. It seemed like every series that we had the ball on offense we either jumped offside or had some sort of penalty.' He added '...against a good defense if you're going to make mistakes, you're not going to be successful. We've got to play better and we've got to coach better, bottom line."
Georgia Tech's best drive of the night was its first in the third quarter when it took the ball 83 yards and scored on a two yards touchdown run by David Sims.
It was not just the Georgia Tech players who suffered from mental errors on Thursday night, with the Jackets down by seven in the third quarter head coach Paul Johnson went for a fourth and two on the Yellow Jackets own 33 yard line and didn't make it. Fortunately the Hokies missed the field goal attempt.
Coach Johnson admitted after the game, "that was not the smartest decision...it was pretty dumb...It was 4th and 2 and I thought we had a play that would work. It didn't."
The game ended as Vad Lee threw an interception on fourth down handing Georgia Tech its first loss on the season. If history is anything to go by that loss also handed Virginia Tech the ACC's Coastal Division title and a place in the ACC Championship game as has been the case in seven of the last eight years.
Up next for Georgia Tech is a road game against Miami while Virginia Tech head home to face North Carolina.