Georgia Tech getting offensive, back in AP Top 25
When drawn up on the board, every play looks like it can go for a touchdown if all 11 guys do their job and the defense reacts exactly as predicted.
Which is sort of the way it's going for Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets (3-0) moved back into The Associated Press Top 25 on Sunday for the first time in more than a year after another offensive masterpiece, this one a 66-24 demolition of Kansas.
They're leading the nation in numerous offensive categories, everything from yards rushing (427.67 per game) and total yards (675.33) to scoring average (59.33) and, yep, even passing efficiency (64 percent completions, seven touchdowns, no interceptions).
Granted, Georgia Tech has faced weak opposition in Western Carolina, Middle Tennessee State and a Kansas team that won only three games last season. But it's clear the Yellow Jackets are clicking on all cylinders heading into Atlantic Coast Conference play, which begins next Saturday when they host North Carolina.
''We talked right from the start of camp about getting gradually better and going on this rise because the competition is going to get better as we go,'' coach Paul Johnson said.
Hard to imagine the option offense looking much better than this. Georgia Tech has scored on its very first offensive snap in all three games, including Orwin Smith's school-record run of 95 yards on a simple-looking counter to start the rout of Kansas.
In fact, the Yellow Jackets had three one-play scoring drives against the Jayhawks, finishing with school records in total yards (768) and rushing yards (604) while setting an NCAA mark by averaging 12.1 yards per carry, beating the record held since 1973 by one of Bear Bryant's wishbone powerhouses at Alabama.
''That's how most of the plays are drawn up,'' running back Embry Peeples said. ''When we get our blocks, it's like playing a video game. Score after score after score.''
The passing game chipped in, too. The Yellow Jackets had Kansas so befuddled with fakes, quick pitches and guys running in all directions that it wasn't too tough to strike deep with a throw. Tevin Washington passed only seven times, but he hit four of them for a whopping 164 yards - 41 yards per catch.
Smith hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass and had another reception for 41 yards. Roddy Jones scored on a 52-yard reception.
''It got to the point where they were kind of scheming us,'' said Kansas cornerback Tyler Patmon, essentially saying the Jayhawks had no idea how to stop Georgia Tech. ''If you don't make a play, that's the type of offense that can go for 60 yards.''
Georgia Tech had 13 plays of at least 20 yards - and four that went for more than 50 - with a run-oriented offense that has been described as gimmicky and out of touch with the modern passing game, a throwback to the era of the wishbone and the veer. Even, in some people's eyes, nothing more than a high school offense.
Johnson has heard that sort of criticism throughout his career, and there were times during a disappointing 6-7 season in 2010 when defenses seemed to have caught up with the scheme, which usually features a single back (the B-back, in Johnson parlance) lined up behind a run-oriented quarterback and two more running backs in the slots (the A-backs).
''If it's a high school offense, well, we just put up 700 yards,'' Washington said, breaking into a satisfied smile. ''If it can work at this level, I think it can work at any level.''
Kansas certainly had no answer. The Jayhawks upset Georgia Tech 28-25 a year ago, but they looked as though they had never seen the option in the rematch at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Smith rushed for 157 yards on just five carries. Peeples needed only five to put up 110 yards. Four more players rushed for at least 40 yards, and no one had more than nine carries.
''Our offense is not easy,'' said Smith, who became the first Georgia Tech player since at least 1978 to put up more than 100 yards rushing and receiving. ''If I was on defense, I wouldn't be able to stop it.''
He'll get no argument from the Jayhawks.
''When you can't slow it down,'' said Kansas' shell-shocked defensive coordinator, Vic Shealy, ''it kind of snowballs on you.''
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