By Don Stone, GeorgiaTechExpress.com
This one surprised me and, I’m sure, a lot of other people.
Georgia Tech was coming into the game off an impressive win at 30-16 win at Wake Forest, who were previously undefeated. In that game, the defense had eight sacks, the tenth most in Tech history. Four of them were by Kyle Kennard, third most in team history.
Bowling Green looked like an easy target. They came into the game with only one win in four tries. And that was against Eastern Illinois. They were a three touchdown underdog. The Falcons had struggled big time with turnovers. But, Tech never took advantage of that here.
It started off seeming like the Yellow Jackets would be able to do anything they wanted. Christian Leery took the opening kick 33 yards to the 47. On the first play, Haynes King hit Eric Singleton, Jr. in stride downfield for a 53 yard touchdown. The drive took one play, 53 yards in 8 seconds.
A sack of Connor Bazelak for a ten yard loss by Eddie Kelly and Zeek Biggers forced the Falcons to punt.
The Jackets’ offense picked up where they left off as King completed a 19 yard pass to Malik Rutherford at the GT49. Jamal Haynes rushed up the middle for another 19 to BG32. Singleton added with a 6 yard catch at the 26. A 15 yard Dylan Leonard TD pass capped off the 70 yard five play scoring drive putting Tech up 14-0 just eleven minutes into the game.
But, after the dynamic pair of opening drives, the offense mysteriously went silent giving Bowling Green 17 unanswered points to take a three point lead into the locker room at the half.
It still seemed like the Yellow Jackets would have no problem righting the ship. But, coming out in the second half, nothing was different.
The Falcons continued to pour it on with 21 more consecutive points to make it 38 points in a row before King was finally able to find the end zone again on a 20 yard Rutherford touchdown catch near the end of the third quarter.
But, all that did was to pull the Jackets to within 18, 38-20.
The defense did hold Bowling Green scoreless in the final quarter before King hit a 16 yard TD pass to Abdul Janneh in the closing minutes of the game. That made the score look deceptively closer than it actually was at 38-27. Even the final stats made it look close with the Falcons leading in total yards 438 to 417.
A continuing problem that stood out was the amount of missed tackles by the Tech defense that allowed Bowling Green to get a lot of yards after catch. That kept drives alive and gave them more scoring opportunities throughout the game.
Head Coach Brent Key seemed undeterred by what had happened.
“I have the same confidence in them that I do the rest of the staff. We will watch the tape, evaluate the tape, and meet with everyone tomorrow. There is no lack of confidence in the staff or people.”
They will need that optimism on Saturday when they head south to take on one of the best offensive lines in the ACC. Miami also has one of the top running games in the country. Kickoff is 8:00 p.m. and will be televised on the ACC Network.