And to think that Georgia Tech needed an NCAA waiver to play in the Sun Bowl, after finishing the regular season with a 6-7 record. The option, with Tevin Washington and Vad Lee worked very well and was supported by a defense that intercepted the USC quarterback, as the team that began the season as number one hit another low point in a year filled with them.
Paul Johnson, for once, was very happy with everything he saw from his team in the 21-7 win over the Trojans. His defense, which was very far from the usual Johnson standards this season, allowed only 205 yards, as USC struggled without their quarterback, Matt Barkley, sitting on the sidelines, thinking about everything that went wrong this year, on his way to a Heisman trophy and a big year with USC.
It was a really surprising day. Coming down and turning the ball over, and with third-down efficiency, we really found no rhythm on offense. I thought we’d play much better on offense today. The storyline really came down to our inefficiency on offense, and obviously it starts with the head coach.
Lane Kiffin is probably the most criticized head coach in College Football, and his team did nothing to prove all the talk of him being way in over his head with this job is wrong. His replacement quarterback, Max Wittek finished with 14-37 for 107 yards, throwing for a touchdown and three interceptions, one of them right on the Georgia Tech goal-line.
For the Yellow Jackets, it was about the option and making the most of what their defense left for them. They ran the ball 63 times, gaining 294 yards on the ground and Terry Washington ran for a touchdown. They called only 10 passing plays, but did get two touchdowns out of them, as David Sims caught one of them to complement his big running day for 99 yards.
As much as Tech’s win gave them something to smile about in a disappointing season, the bigger news was obviously USC failing in yet another test. Each big game they had slipped out of their hands, finishing 7-6, the first team to be number one in the preseason and lose so many games. With their three turnovers, they reached 34 on the season, the most in the nation for teams with a winning record.
We can’t be 7-6. That’s not USC, and that’s not our expectations. That’s not why we came here. Obviously, we have some work here to get that fixed. Even if we’d won this game, we’d still be very disappointed in this season. It’s well below our standards.
Their two standout receivers, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, combined for only nine receptions and 74 yards. The running game did OK, as Silas Redd ran for 88 yards, but there wasn’t much he could do as his quarterback fell apart into pieces against the Yellow Jackets defense that never gave him an easy throw, with four of his passes batted down at the line. A bad day, ending a bad season, with a terrible taste in their mouths.