Georgia Tech and Tennessee put on a show last night to close out the opening weekend of the college football season. A game many thought would be pedestrian at best, turned out to be a classic that'll be looked backed on all season as one of the best games. The Georgia Tech triple option took on an SEC power in Tennessee, so many thought the tough SEC team would sniff that BS option out right away, and run away with the game. Well, that most certainly didn't happen. It was actually Georgia Tech that would control the majority of this game putting Butch Jones on the hot seat right of the bat, as his "this is our year" Tennessee team was about to ruin all expectations of the season in the first game.
The triple option is nothing to be played with, I thought a tough SEC defense would eat it right up, however when it's run to perfection like the Yellow Jackets were doing last night, it's almost impossible to stop. Video game numbers were being put up, TaQuon Marshall, the QB of the Yellow Jackets, rushed for 249 yards, and scored 5 touchdowns. Like I said, video game numbers. The Georgia Tech offense as a whole rushed for over 500 yards, I didn't even think that was possible prior to last night. They controlled the clock, they controlled the tempo, they basically dominated the game in every facet, yet somehow they were unable to put Tennessee away.
All Tennessee needed ways a few breaks to go their way, and that's exactly what happened. More than a few breaks went their way actually, Georgia Tech had not one, but two crucial fumbles in the game on drives that would've resulted in points, a missed field goal, a turnover on downs, and the Tennessee volunteers found themselves within striking distance. They were down 14 points, 28-14 was the score, it was early in the 4th quarter, and Quinten Dormady connected on a 50 yard bomb to Marquez Callaway for a touchdown to bring the Vols to within one touchdown.
The Volunteers offense relied on big plays to open things up for their offense. Dormady was doing a solid job managing the game, although you could tell he was being ultra conservative, so for Callaway to go up and make plays for his young inexperienced QB was a huge deal. Oh yeah, this was Dormady's first collegiate game, so that explains why he was being conservative, and just trying to avoid the big mistake. Anyways, the Vols were still down a touchdown, and time was beginning to wither away. That's when they got the big break they needed. There was under 5 minutes left, Georgia Tech was deep in Tennessee territory, ready to put the dagger through the chest of Volunteer fans everywhere, when a fumble inside the 10 yard line occurs. Tennessee recovers the ball and are rewarded a second life. It was now time for Quinten Dormady to show what he was made of. He led the Vols on a 93 yard drive that resulted in a touchdown. Tie game and Butch Jones life was resurrected.
Georgia Tech still had time and with the way they were moving the ball they wouldn't need much of it. Tennessee defense couldn't stop a nosebleed let alone the high powered Georgia Tech offense, so within what felt like second Georgia Tech is already within field goal range looking to end this game in regulation. Butch Jones decided to double ice the kicker using his final two timeouts back to back without hesitation. Turns out it didn't matter, the Vols were able to block the kick, and this instant classic was headed to OT.
In OT it was much of the same. Georgia Tech continued to run down the throats of Tennessee scoring at will. They struck first and now all the pressure was on Tennessee to match with a touchdown of their own. Tennessee ran the ball 3 straight times finding the end zone rather quickly themselves as the Georgia Tech defense finally looked gassed. They'd start the second OT with the ball and once again it only took them 3 plays to find the end zone. Georgia Tech's defense was gassed out and their coach knew it. That's why after Georgia Tech scored their touchdown the coach decided to go for the win with a 2-Pt conversion. Tennessee hadn't stopped the option all night, what makes you think they could stop it now, well somehow when it mattered most they were able to stuff TaQuon Marshall at the line of scrimmage, and the Volunteers left the game victorious. Tennessee wins 42-41 in a double OT thriller.
Butch Jones was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief and every fan watching at home got to experience one of the better games we'll see all year. No one could've predicted or anticipated what happened on Labor Day night to close out an awesome week 1 of college football. Next week's slate of games are stacked as well, so hopefully there's many more moments like this to come.