Penalty hurts Georgia Tech in 37-26 loss to Hokies
Jeremiah Attaochu attributed his mistake to an ”overdose of
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson called the mistake the turning
point in the game.
Attaochu’s personal foul penalty allowed Virginia Tech to retain
possession on its go-ahead drive and the No. 10 Hokies beat No. 20
Georgia Tech 37-26 on Thursday night to knock the Yellow Jackets
out of the running for the Atlantic Coast Conference
Georgia Tech led 26-21 late in the third quarter when the Hokies
appeared to be stopped on a third-and-19 play from their 17.
Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas couldn’t find a receiver and
was surrounded by Attaochu and other Georgia Tech defenders.
Thomas (6-6, 254) stayed on his feet, struggling to break free.
Finally, Attaochu took a swing that hit Thomas in the back of his
helmet, drawing a 15-yard personal foul penalty that gave Virginia
Tech the first down.
Thomas, helped by a 44-yard run by David Wilson, led a touchdown
drive that gave the Hokies the lead.
”I just had an overdose of adrenaline,” Attaochu said. ”I was
going in at the end of the play. I was hacking for the ball and
just kept hacking.”
Attaochu then swung his arm to illustrate his intent.
”That’s what we do in practice, we hack for the ball,” he
said. ”It was just adrenaline, an overdose of adrenaline. There’s
no excuse for it, though.”
Attaochu, who faces a possible suspension from the ACC, also
acknowledged ”I was mad he wouldn’t go down.”
Thomas accounted for five touchdowns and Wilson rushed for a
career-best 175 yards as the Hokies moved closer to winning the
ACC’s Coastal Division and a spot in the conference championship
When you get to November, you want to be playing for
something,” said Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. ”You want to
be playing for championships. And these guys have put us in that
The winner of this game has gone on to take every Coastal
Division title, and Virginia Tech can make it five in seven years
by winning its final two games. Rival Virginia, which has two ACC
losses, is the only team that still has a chance to catch the
Thomas threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more scores.
Wilson had his seventh straight 100-yard game, already the longest
streak of Beamer’s quarter-century as coach.
Georgia Tech (7-3, 4-3 ACC) had its chance.
”I thought we had some really good momentum, and then we got
the big penalty that I think really changed the game,” Georgia
Tech coach Paul Johnson said. ”If you could point to one thing, we
were going to be up five and they were punting from their 10 or 12
and we had a chance to get the ball back.
”Instead, they got the first down and scored a touchdown and
took the lead. It’s disappointing.”
Johnson said he didn’t see the foul by Attaochu.
”They never blew the whistle and Logan Thomas kept trying to
move,” Johnson said. ”We couldn’t get him down, anyway. He was a
big, strong guy.”
Thomas had 18 carries for 70 yards and two touchdowns and
completed 7 of 13 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns.
Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington had 24 carries for 77
yards and three touchdowns.
Virginia Tech ran for 267 yards, beating Georgia Tech (243 yards
rushing) at its strength.
The teams went back and forth through the second and third
quarters, scoring on eight of nine possessions in one stretch.
After taking the lead, Virginia Tech (9-1, 5-1 ACC) also took
advantage of a fourth-down gamble by Johnson that didn’t pay
Johnson left himself open to second guessing when he decided to
go for it on fourth-and-1 at his own 31. Washington tried to get it
on a keeper, but he was stopped about a foot short.
”I elected to go for it on fourth down because I felt like we
needed to score,” Johnson said. ”I think since the second
possession of the game, if I am correct, we didn’t stop them. I
thought we needed to go down and score and I thought we could make
a yard and we didn’t.”
For there, Virginia Tech moved in for the kill. The Hokies
converted their own fourth-and-1, but that was an easier to call
with make with Thomas to carry it. He bulled his way for a 5-yard
gain, then hooked up with Chris Drager on his first career
touchdown, a 14-yard pass on third down that made it 34-26.
Cody Journell sealed the victory, knocking through a 23-yard
field goal with 3:02 remaining.
After a wild final minute of the second quarter, in which the
teams combined for three scores that left Virginia Tech with a
21-13 lead, the Yellow Jackets took the second-half kickoff and
drove it right down the field, 74 yards on eight plays.
Washington broke off a 35-yard run and also benefited from a
personal foul penalty on Jack Tyler, who whacked Embry Peeples as
he was running out of bounds, sending him flying toward the Yellow
Jackets bench while yellow flags flew in from all directions.
Washington finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run, but he was
stuffed on a 2-point conversion to leave Georgia Tech trailing
No one could stop anyone, but Virginia Tech stopped itself. With
the Hokies driving for another score, Wilson had the ball stripped
away by Julian Burnett and Isaiah Johnson recovered at the 16 for
the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech reclaimed the lead with a lightning-quick 84-yard
drive that took only seven plays. Peeples went down the sideline
for a 39-yard run and Washington nearly took it in with a 29-yard
gain, before finishing it off with a 1-yard dive.
That was the last hurrah for the Yellow Jackets, who were coming
off an upset of then-unbeaten Clemson.