My Yellow Jackets, possessing the 1st or 2nd hardest schedule in all of college football, with away game wins over national contenders Auburn and Miami, played as if they could care less about going to a bowl or even trying to win.
Granted, the field was a swamp and looked like the Kentucky Derby after the horeses and rain had their way with the race course. But both teams had to play on it and Utah adapted. Tech didn't. Tech quickly fell behind.
Ga Tech has a program built around speed. A wet field negates your speed rush and hampers your ability to cover an opponent's receivers. Utah torched GT for a mile in offensive yardage while our secondary couldn't cover or tackle. The defense is usually able to keep us in games, but not this time. They fell horribly flat.
Utah's Travis LaTendresse only scored 4 touchdowns all season. In the Emerald Bowl against Tech, he scored 4 touchdowns and a 2pt conversion. In this game, he caught 16 of his 55 receptions this season.
Our QB, Reggie Ball, only ranks ahead of Wake Forest's QB (wishbone option offense) and Duke's QB in the ACC. He's not great but he can be great - not in the Emerald Bowl however. He too was slipping in the muck. Boy needs to get some real cleats on a field like that. Granted, he didn't play well but the offense didn't give up all thos first quarter points. But the offense seemed basically inept in trying to mount a comeback.
Some of the problem is coaching. I like Coach Gailey, but sometimes our Offensive Coordinator (Chan Gailey) can be quite the enigma. Coach Gailey can call an awesome game - see Auburn - and Reggie can play a great game - see Auburn again - but not in the bowl game this year. For instance: Did you know that the only time Ga. Tech passes over the middle of the field is an occasional middle screen? We have nice tight ends who can block, but God forbid we should dump the ball off to one over the middle. We run few, if any, crossing routes and once in a blue moon hit the deep post over the middle. All our passing game is to the outsides.
NOT the way we are supposed to finish the season. True, we felt we deserved to be in a better bowl, but you dance with the one that brung ya. Instead, we played like wall flowers.
Hopefully the other in-state program will take care of business and show my Yellow Jackets how to play against a lesser team (aka the W.V. Mountaineers).