Paul Johnson’s first top 5 win at GT was an exciting one. It ended with fans bringing down the goalpost and an awesome “All the Way Turnt Up” hype video followed it. Coming off a heartbreaking loss to Virginia Tech the year before, the Jackets wanted revenge.
2009 Virginia Tech 23 @ Georgia Tech 28
Throughout this game there isn’t just one play that Georgia Tech fans remember as momentum builders, there are multiple. After re watching the game over the years, I believe I have narrowed it down to just one of the biggest plays of not just this game, but of Paul Johnson’s time at Georgia Tech.
The game was a defensive battle for the most part, as both teams had top notch defenses, and for Georgia Tech this was one of the better defense Paul Johnson had. The Jackets took a 7-3 lead into the locker room after Josh Nesbitt scored on a QB sneak with little time left in the half.
Early in the second half the Jackets took a 14-3 lead and had a chance to put the game away after forcing the Hokies to turn it over on downs. An interception thrown by Nesbitt gave the Hokies the momentum and they then followed it with a touchdown on the first play.
Georgia Tech again had a chance to put the game away, this time up 21-10 with the ball inside Virginia Tech territory with just over 7 minutes left in the 4th. Josh Nesbitt coughed the ball up and then Virginia Tech drove down the field to score in just 6 plays(they failed on the 2 point conversion).
The Jackets got the ball back with 4:39 left lead 21-16. A score was a must because the Hokies had all the momentum. The drive started out with an incomplete pass by Nesbitt who had just one completion the whole night. On 2nd down, Anthony Allen took the toss around the ride side or 23 yards giving the Jackets a little momentum with a fresh set of downs.
The game came down to a 3rd and 7 at the Virginia Tech 39 with the Hokies out of timeouts. Nesbitt took the snap and it was an option play to the left. Nesbitt kept it and found a gap and took off towards the sidelines and into the endzone. A beautifully executed play at the perfect time.
If Nesbitt doesn’t make that play, the Hokies very well could have stole that game. A stop on that play and the Hokies get the ball back with over 2 minutes left in the game down 5. Even though Tyrod Taylor had a rough night, giving a quarterback of his caliber the ball with the game on the line is not what Paul Johnson wanted to do. Nesbitt made up for his mistakes earlier and the game and was the hero. That run , despite all the crazy finishes the Jackets have had under Paul Johnson, may not be the best biggest play, but it is one that, looking back on, has cemented Paul Johnson’s legacy at Georgia Tech.
Stay tuned for number 7 next week!
By: Bret Anderson