December 31, 2007

Fresno State wins H-Bowl

BOISE, Idaho — This time the lame duck coach didn’t walk off the blue turf at Bronco Stadium with a win for a going-away present.
Fresno State spoiled Georgia Tech's Jon Tenuta’s head coaching debut — and last game with the Yellow Jackets — with a 40-28 victory in front of a pro-Bulldog crowd on a bitter-cold day.

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Fresno State wins H-Bowl

BOISE, Idaho — This time the Lame Duck coach didn’t walk off the blue turf at Bronco Stadium with a win for a going away present.
Fresno State spoiled Georgia Tech’s Jon Tenuta’s head coaching debut with a 40-28 victory in front of a pro-Bulldog crowd on a bitter-cold day.

Continue reading "Fresno State wins H-Bowl" »

Johnson just watchin for now

BOISE, Idaho — Former Navy coach Paul Johnson was recently hired to take over the Georgia Tech football program. Today, however, the Johnson is just watching the Yellow Jackets play Fresno State in the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl.
Running back Jonathan Dwyer scored from two yards out to cut Georgia Tech's deficit to 34-21 with just over 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

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Fresno State, Georgia Tech trade TDs to open second half

BOISE, Idaho — Fresno State's Clifton Smith sprinted for a 43-yard touchdown run to open up the second half and Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer ran for a 36-yard touchdown on the ensuing possession to cut Fresno State's lead to 27-14 at the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl.

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Freno State adds to lead

BOISE, Idaho — Fresno State quarterback Tom Brandstater hit tight end Drew Lubinsky from 3 yards out to give the Bulldogs at 17-7 lead late in the second quarter.
The play was highlighted by running back Clifton Smith's 36-yard catch and run, in which Smith broke three tackles.

Fresno State takes lead in second quarter

BOISE, Idaho — Fresno State running back Clifton Smith scored from 6 yards out to give the Bulldogs a 10-7 lead with 10 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the first half.
The crowd here at Bronco Stadium is definitely pro-Fresno State, with many Boise State fans holding allegience to the WAC.

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It's cold on the blue today

BOISE, Idaho — As kickoff nears for the 10th edition of the Humanitarian Bowl here, stocking hats, gloves and bulky winter coats are neccessities for the expected sell-out crowd of 30,000 at Bronco Stadium to watch Fresno State (8-4 overall, 6-2 WAC) take on Georgia Tech (7-5 overall, 4-4 ACC).
It's cold here on the blue turf.

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September 29, 2007

Jackets slam the door shut on Clemson

ATLANTA - The Jackets have thrown the final punch on Clemson as they have run the clock out on the game with five and half minute drive that sealed the upset win for the Georgia Tech. The final score from Bobby Dodd Stadum in Atlanta, Georgia is Georgia Tech 13, Clemson 3.

Player of the Game: RB Tashard Choice, While the offensive line deserves most of the credit for the running game's success, Choice was the back with the most carries as he ran 32 times for 145 yards and a touchdown.

Analysis: The Jackets defense stood tall against Clemson's explosive offense, allowing just 228 yards total by keeping the Tigers out of any sort of rhythm. QB Cullen Harper threw the ball 39 times, as head coach Tommy Bowden appeared to completely abandon the run from the very beginning.

With the win, Georgia Tech moves to 3-2 or the season, and picks up their first ACC win to move to 1-2 for the year. With the loss, Clemson drops their first game of the season and falls to 4-1 overall.

What's next?: Georgia Tech travels to College park to play a Maryland team that is currently in contention to upset #10 Rutgers on the road. Clemson has a huge game at home looming against the #17 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies.

From Atlanta, I'm signing out and headed to the post-game interview room.

Harper throws his first Int

ATLANTA - On a third and a mile for Clemson, the Tigers' Cullen Harper threw a deep pass looking for Aaron Kelly down the far sideline. Instead, he found Tech safety Morgan Burnett who made a Michael Jordan-esque leap to seemingly snatch the ball out of mid air.

For Harper, it was his first interception of the season in 165 attempts. The Jackets were unable to capitalize on the Tigers' second turnover of the game, but time is now working in favor of the Jackets with just under eight minutes to go.

Tech pushes advantage just a little further

ATLANTA - Tech came up just short on a 3rd-and-2 at the Clemson 24 yard line forcing Tech's Travis Bell to attempt a 41 yard field goal. Bell converted it to put the Jackets up 13-3 over Clemson and make him 2-2 for the game. Clemson's Mark Buchholz has missed four field goals on the afternoon, including misses from 47, 31, 50, and 48 yards out.

The difference in this game between the two teams has easily been special teams. The Jackets have clearly dominated that part of the game as well, leading to their 10 point lead over the Tigers.

Clemson blinks first

ATLANTA - The Jackets have a chance to force Clemson up against a wall as the Tigers' Jacoby Ford fumbled a punt return on their own 33 yard line. Backup safety Jake Blackwood forced the fumble after hitting the ball with his helmet, while wide receiver D.J. Donley recovered it. For Donley, this is the second time he has been involved with a big play on the special teams as he was the one that blocked Clemson's punt in the first half.

Third Quarter Observations

ATLANTA - If you were Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey, and you were planning to pull an upset on Clemson, this is exactly the way you would plan it out. This has been a very low scoring game dominated a combination of inept offenses and stiff defenses.

Clemson's Cullen Harper has been sacked seven times in the game, while James Davis has just 42 yards rushing and is leading the Tigers rushing game.

GT's Bell winning battle of the kickers

ATLANTA - After the Jackets' defense pinned down Clemson inside of their own 10 on a three and out. Tech started off with great field position at the Clemson 40. They were able to advance the ball to the 30 before the drive stalled, as Clemson stiffened up against the run.

Jackets' kicker hit from 47 yards out right between the pipes to extend Tech's lead to 7 as the score is now 10-3.

Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em

ATLANTA - After a 50 yard field goal that was missed just left by Clemson's Mark Buchholz, the Jackets offense proceeded to drive the ball down the field to the Clemson 11 yard line on the legs of RB Tashard Choice.

However, the Tigers defense pinned its ears back and forced a Taylor Bennett interception. On the play, Bennett was flushed out to his left and threw an ill-advised pass that found its way into the safety Michael Hamlin's hands on the far sideline at the 5. While Clemson's offense was forced to a three-and-out, a lot of the wind was taken out of Tech's sails.

First Half Observations

ATLANTA - The score going into the locker room is Clemson 3, Georgia Tech 7. To this point, the game has been similar to watching two heavyweight boxes just trade punches with each other. Neither fighter has been able to deliver a decisive blow, so we are essentially viewing a stalemate.

However, Clemson did gain some momentum at the end of the half by picking up three key third and long plays to set them up with a 30 yard field goal attempt by Mark Buchholz. However, he chipped the ball just right of the goal posts for this second miss of the afternoon.

Buchholz's problems in the kicking game could be attributed to fatigue. Last night, he played a full soccer game against Duke at home.

Madden would approve

ATLANTA - The Clemson defensive line is just getting flat out beaten up so far. RB Tashard Choice has been running through monster holes that I'm pretty sure even I could run through. Clemson defensive tackles Dorrell Scott and Rashaad Jackson are being pushed like rag dolls at this point. However, the Tigers are starting to counter by stacking the box eight deep, to force Bennett to beat them through the air.

With the Jackets' passing offense struggling the way it has, playing at the line of scrimmage is a good idea to keep Tech off of the scoreboard. With 8:52 to go in the first half, Tech leads 7-3 still, but Clemson has the ball at their own 30 yard line.

Tenuta causing confusion, havoc

As ineffective as Tech's blitz schemes were in the first quarter, they are becoming invaluable in the second quarter. Harper is taking shots seemingly on every pass play, and was sacked three times in a row before the last drive came to an end.

There has been a key injury for the Tigers on offense that will only make things worse. Clemson preseason all-ACC left tackle Barry Richardson hobbled off of the field on the last series. He is the most experienced player on the Tigers line, and they can't afford to be without him for long.

The Tigers running game has been completely ineffective so far, and it does not appear that head coach Tommy Bowden is going to try very hard to make it work as he is relying on quarterback Cullen Harper to carry the team.

First Quarter Observations

The Jackets have the lead, but neither team has really showed any dominance on offense. This game appears to coming down to streaks and momentum shifts.

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Tech takes the lead

ATLANTA - The Jackets offense looked stagnant inside the 10 yard line as a Tashard Choice run to the left was stuffed by several Tiger defenders. On second down, QB Taylor Bennett threw a short pass to fullback Mike Cox which gave them just three on the play. On third down, Bennett lobbed a pass to the back near corner of the end zone looking for wide receiver Greg Smith.

However, Clemson cornerback Haydrian Lewis was tugging on Smith's jersey and got tangled up with him leading to a pass interference call that the Jackets up with an automatic first down at the Clemson 2. Lewis was shaken up on the play as the trainers had to come out and take a look at him. I'll report more on his status later.

On the next play, RB Tashard Choice ran to the right through a monster of a hole in the line to pick up an easy touchdown. Georgia Tech now leads the game 7-3.

Clemson Special Teams Miscue

ATLANTA - After a three-and-out by the Clemson offense, Clemson punter Jimmy Maners' punt was blocked by Tech wide receiver D.J. Donley as he came through the middle of the Tigers' line without being touched.

Tech has the ball first and goal at the 8 yard line with a chance to not only tie the game, but take the lead.

September 01, 2007

One team is ramblin', the other's a wreck

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - We started today's coverage with several questions that have been answered. However, today's 33-3 thrashing of Notre Dame by Georgia Tech has left us with some new ones...

Continue reading "One team is ramblin', the other's a wreck" »

Grade A Choice

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Tashard Choice picked up another 59 yards on the latest Georgia Tech touchdown drive. The drive ended with Choice going up the middle 7 yards for the score. Choice now has 196 yards and 2 TDs on 26 carries.

This followed a three-and-out by the Irish, during which Sharpley was hit hard once on a sack and after he threw on another play. The Irish offensive line is having a lot of problems with Tech's blitzes in particular. It seems like Sharpley is having to dodge three or four guys every time he drops back.

Irish on the board

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Evan Sharpley started the second half for Notre Dame and was pretty efficient leading the team down the field for what ended up being a disappointing field goal.

Sharpley, when given time, threw the ball well, completing 5 of 6 on the drive. He converted two third downs and a fourth down on the drive. He even completed a pass after fumbling on a fake handoff.

Running the ball still isn't working because Tech is getting great penetration against the Irish line. That's what makes the final play call of the drive so baffling. On 3rd and inches at the 2, Notre Dame handed off to Travis Thomas off tackle and he lost four yards. That play lost yardage the previous two times they ran it on that drive. That forced ND to take the three points.

I expect we'll continue to see Sharpley as long as it's still working.

Georgia Tech right tackle AJ Smith injured his elbow and is out for the game.

Bennett trying to keep Irish in it

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Taylor Bennett's accuracy issues are keeping Notre Dame's fading hopes alive. When he saw Greg Smith open in the end zone, he got so excited that he overthrew him by 15 yards. That's the second time he's done that today. On the next play, a short pass to a wide open James Johnson only got about 3/4 of the way there.

Tech ended up settling for the fourth Travis Bell FG of the game and leads 19-0.

Ugly half for ND

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - If the first half is any indication, it could be a long year for Notre Dame.

Demetrius Jones was ineffective at quarterback. He only completed 1-3 passes for 4 yards and had only 28 yards rushing on 12 carries.

The switch to Sharpley worked for two plays, which were completed passes for nine yards. After that, he took a beating on some delayed blitzes that the line didn't pick up.

In fact, Jones was under a lot of duress when he tried to pass also. Notre Dame's line is being bamboozled, and sometimes just manhandled by Georgia Tech. The Irish weren't even pretending to mount a passing game in the first half, but the run wasn't doing much either.

When the Irish have done some good things, they have shot themselves in the foot to make up for it. The most egregious error was Brown's penalty and ejection after the Irish stopped Georgia Tech on third down. That turned out to be a seven point mistake.

Tech was also very committed to the run early, and that is still the bread-and-butter for the Yellow Jackets. Tashard Choice had 16 carries for 110 yards and a score in the first half and he's been the best player on the field by far. Choice has now gone over 100 yards for the eighth straight game, a Georgia Tech record.

The Jackets will be without safety Joe Gaston in the second half after he went out with an injured hamstring. CB Jahi Word-Daniels left with a head injury and may yet return.

The only thing injured on the Irish sideline is their pride. We'll see what they have in the second half, which will start with Tech receiving the kick.

Trying to get sharper

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Evan Sharpley has entered the game at QB for the Irish with 2:38 to go. Notre Dame wasn't even attempting to mount a passing attack with Jones in the game, but with the two-minute drill on, it was time to switch.

Ejection

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Justin Brown of Notre Dame was just ejected for a blow to the head after the play. Brown, a senior, committed the infraction after the Irish had stopped Tech on a 3rd down play. The guy sitting next to me just said what I was thinking: I wouldn't want to be Brown in practice this week.

Two plays later, Tashard Choice goes around end 22 yards for a TD. GT leads 16-0.

My how things have changed

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - With 8:50 to go in the half, Notre Dame has just completed its first pass of the game (on only two attempts). Brady Quinn's records appear to be safe.

Ringing the Bell

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Notre Dame defense stopped Georgia Tech all the way out at the Irish 23, but Travis Bell hit his 3rd FG of the game to make the score 9-0.

In spite of a bad case of greasy fingers, Jones is still quarterbacking the Irish.

Line of the day

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Following the play-by-play on the internet, the last fumble by Demetrius Jones read like this:

"D. Jones rushed up the middle for no gain. D. Jones fumbled. D. Jones recovered fumble and returned for 12 yards"

It was recovered by DJ Jones of Georgia Tech and returned to the ND 45.

A flag on the play was picked up because the ref who threw it meant to throw his beanbag, but grabbed the wrong thing.

Getting some answers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - One quarter in and we're getting some early answers to our questions.

ND starting QB?: Demetrius Jones. He's been the only one out there so far.

Can ND replace other skill position players?: So far, not much happening in the running game and the passing game has been a big zero.

Is the Irish defense better?: It's been a wall from its own 10-yard line in. The other 90 yards are still a problem. Tech has had three series and on the first play of those series, they have a total of 55 yards and five plays of double-digit yardage.

How about Taylor Bennett: He got off to a slow start, but completed three passes on the last drive. He missed two possible TD passes though. One he overthrew badly and one he threw to the wrong guy.

A blocked FG attempt has kept the game 6-0 at the first quarter break.

Passing on passing

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Both teams have decided to stick to the running game so far. Each team has attempted only one pass and neither was completed.

Tech took over at Notre Dame's 48 after a shanked punt and, just like last time, marched right down to the Irish 10 before stalling and kicking a field goal.

Highly touted freshman QB Josh Nesbitt came in for one play on that drive. He faked and handoff and ran up the middle for no gain.

The Yellow Jacket's offense has more a a rhythm so far. Notre Dame is struggling to get anything going and the crowd is pretty much out of the game.

This one counted

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The second time Jones dropped back to pass for the Irish, he panicked in the face of the rush and got careless with the ball. Jamal Lewis knocked the ball loose and Tech recovered at the Irish 32.

Tech RB Tashard Choice went for 22 yards on the first play, putting him over 2000 for his career. He is the ninth Tech RB to reach that mark.

The Irish defense stiffened after that play forcing Tech to settle for a FG and leads 3-0.

Someone behind me is struggling with the "No Cheering in the Press Box" rule. Actually, that implies an effort to comply, which isn't really happening.

After further review...

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -The fumble was overturned by replay, so Notre Dame kept the ball, and as expected, Demetrius Jones led the Irish onto the field.

The review gave those of us in the press box to catch the end of the App St-Michigan game. I think the replay ref was watching that game too.

Is there something going on here?

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - We're sitting in the press box at Notre Dame completely oblivious to what's going on beyond the glass because we all have our faces pressed into our computers tracking Appalachian State's upset attempt of Michigan. I think this game is about to start, but nobody here cares.

We thought we were about to find out who the Irish QB would be, but they fumbled the kick, so Tech starts at the ND 29.

More questions than answers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - With the opening of the 2007 season about an hour away for Georgia Tech and Notre Dame, We find that both teams have a lot more questions than answers right now...

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