By Don Stone, GeorgiaTechExpress.com
The day began with the announcement that the ACC will be adding three new teams next season. SMU, Sanford and Cal will bring membership to 18 schools. The news comes after eight schools announced their departure from the Pac-12 for next summer.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium was half filled at 36,000 with no one in the upper deck and heavily partisan Georgia Tech. But the crowd couldn’t help their team pull the season opener out.
This was a tale of three quarters vs one. Georgia Tech looked great scoring 28 of their 34 points in the second quarter. But, prior to that and after, they were mostly shutout except for a late game score that only served to make the score closer than it seemed. A missed two point attempt left it at 39-34.
“We made adjustments, and we used different calls, changed the front, stemmed the front, played more zone, and we did a much better job,” said Louisville Head Coach Jeff Brohm, talking about changes he made after the second quarter.
The Jackets ran out one huge chunk play after another during that prolific second quarter. But, then could barely mount a drive in the others.
And when they got close, they missed both of their field goal attempts while the Cardinals made all four.
Louisville, on the other hand, played pretty consistently in each quarter scoring six, seven, ten and sixteen throughout.
What stood out the most to me was sloppy tackling that must have cost Tech about 60 yards in additional yardage that resulted in a lot of resulting points.
“Anytime you get guys in space, that’s what college football is now. It’s the battle of explosives,” said Tech Head Coach Brent Key about the tackling issue.
“Either somebody gets beat on one-on-one on a route, some sort of a route or somebody gets broken down one-on-one in a tackling situation. And they were able to execute in those situations.
“It’s one of these things that we’ll learn from and we’ll continue to address and work on and get better this week.”
A promising drive as time was running out with Tech down by just a point was ruined on a fumble sack of new quarterback Haynes King giving the Cardinals the ball back with just 3:51 to go. They ended all doubts with a 74 yard Jawhar Jordan touchdown dash that gave them a 36-28 lead. An additional field goal gave them a 39-28 lead and 26 unanswered points after being down after that second quarter 28-13.
Georgia Tech showed that they may be a much improved team in 2023 allowing them to stay in more games than the last several seasons. And that could result in more wins. Hopefully.
We’ll find out more next Saturday as the Jackets move down the street to Bobby Dodd Stadium to host South Carolina State. Kickoff is 1:00 p.m. No free TV but it will be available to watch on ACC Network Extra & ESPN+.