Oh, you want a Paul Johnson special? Well hang the stats from the 49-28 win over Georgia Tech in the damn Louvre.
Georgia Tech's seven rushing touchdowns the most against #Hokies since Alabama's nine in 1973.— David Teel (@DavidTeelatDP) October 26, 2018
I’ll have you know that the Jackets did that without completing a pass for the first time under Paul Johnson. And even the one passing attempt that did occur showed that Georgia Tech was probably better off running anyway.
Probably the best part of the no passing yards thing is the fact that Georgia Tech's QB fell down on his only passing attempt of the game pic.twitter.com/QTnEp5VM01— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) October 26, 2018
This distinction of winning without a completion is an option right of passage. Army’s done it a few times over the last few years, for instance.
There’s also this (the Jackets ended up with 465 when the game was over):
Georgia Tech with 384 rushing yards tonight. Most the #Hokies have allowed since at least 1987.— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) October 26, 2018
That 1987 year is significant because it was the first year of Frank Beamer’s legendary run as Hokies head coach, when his aggressive brand of football moved Virginia Tech from ineptitude to household name. For years, that was done with Bud Foster as defensive coordinator, and the longtime Beamer assistant stayed on when new coach Justin Fuente took over.
Every option game looks a little different, and this one just kept hammering Virginia Tech’s interior, often without even using any true options at all.
Johnson called a lot of designed quarterback keepers and B-back gives. Oliver finished the game with 40 carries (the most by a Georgia Tech player since TaQuon Marshall went for 44 carries against Tennessee) and 215 yards and three touchdowns. Like Jordan had with Marshall, Oliver also had a good B-back compliment with the combination of Jerry Howard and Jordan Mason, who combined for 158 yards and four touchdowns.
And what was Bud Foster able to do to slow either of those game plans down? Absolutely nothing.
It’s clear all of the attrition is finally catching up with Virginia Tech.
The Hokies will always have that Week 1 win over Florida State, when they stymied the Noles after eight months of game planning despite a whole host of attrition. Foster showed why he’s one of the best in the business getting that unit ready to play dealing with all this:
In April, six players left for the NFL Draft, and Foster’s co-defensive coordinator resigned. The players going to the league was expected, no problem.
In June, one defensive back had to declare for the supplemental NFL Draft, and another tore his Achilles. Ok, not ideal, but injuries happen too.
Then things continued to get worse. Nickel Mook Reynolds, an integral part to Virginia Tech’s defensive scheme, got kicked off the team. And a defensive tackle transferred.
That left Virginia Tech with around 32 percent of its defensive production returning, second-worst in the country, and a whole host of depth issues heading into the season.
But over the course of the season, it’s taking its toll, and the attrition has even gotten worse. After the disastrous loss to Old Dominion, Virginia Tech dismissed its best player.
Fuente said he just finished visiting with dismissed DE Trevon Hill and his family. Said they've been monitoring things for a while. Said it's not one incident that led to dismissal. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) September 24, 2018
Paul Johnson’s offense is set up to take full advantage.
Heading into the Georgia Tech game, Virginia Tech’s defensive percentile performances (the closer to 100, the better) had been mostly dreadful since the Week 3 bye.
- Old Dominion: 9 percent
- Duke: 83 percent
- Notre Dame: 22 percent
- North Carolina: 46 percent
They’ve been almost equally bad against both the pass and the run this season, but the things that make them bad against the run are basically a blueprint for how not to hold up against the option.
There have been a couple of rough spots, and some tackling issues but most of those problems are key reads, body positioning, and gap reaction. That sort of stuff comes with experience.
With 78 rushing plays over the course of the game, Johnson’s Georgia Tech did what they do best: run the hell over you.
Virginia Tech just happened to be in the way.