Tech Tops Dawgs: Grades

Posted Nov 29, 2008

ATHENS - David Hale's grades from Georgia's game with Georgia Tech.

PASSING GAME: Matthew Stafford and Mohamed Massaquoi both deserved better than the 45-42 loss against Georgia Tech on Saturday. Stafford set a career high with 407 yards passing and five touchdowns in the game, while Massaquoi, playing in his final home game of his career, caught 11 passes for 180 yards and three TDs. Stafford’s interception in the first quarter was returned for a touchdown and, in the end, could have been the difference in the game. Still, without the heroics of Stafford and Massaquoi, the game could have been a blowout. GRADE: A-

RUSHING GAME: Knowshon Moreno had several good runs early and chipped in with a huge 32-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to pull Georgia to within three, but it was tough going to find yards on the ground in between. Moreno finished with 94 yards on 17 carries, but he was far more successful in the passing game, where he hauled in several screens for big yards. Overall, Georgia’s 81 yards on the ground accounted for just 17 percent of the Bulldogs’ offense. GRADE: C

OFFENSIVE LINE: The line has been banged up all year, but has managed to piece together some strong performances. Saturday wasn’t one of them. Stafford was sacked just twice, but pressure was in his face throughout the game. He was forced to scramble out of the pocket on numerous occasions, and the tough yards between the tackles were hard to come by for the running game. Tech’s tough offensive line made it a long day for the big men in the trenches for Georgia. GRADE: C

RUSH DEFENSE: Tech ran for 409 yards – the most by any team against a Georgia defense since 1994. It’s hard to make a case that the rush defense was anything better than terrible Saturday. Still, the unit actually had its moments, bottling up the quarterback run well and forcing 13 third downs. “We executed up to third down, and that one down just cost us. The field position and everything like that, turnovers, it all just snowballed,” linebacker Rennie Curran said. GRADE: F

PASS DEFENSE: Josh Nesbitt completed his first pass of the game for 19 yards and didn’t hook up with a receiver again. Of course, the lack of a passing game is nothing new for Tech, and it certainly didn’t matter Saturday. The Yellow Jackets racked up 409 yards on the ground, and Georgia’s secondary missed several key tackles downfield that allowed Tech to run for big gains. GRADE: D+

SPECIAL TEAMS: Blair Walsh’s kickoffs were so bad that after the game, head coach Mark Richt joked his staff might go to Poland to try to find a kicker with a strong enough leg to boot the ball out of the end zone. Tech started seven drives at its own 40 or better, one of which came following Richard Samuel’s fumble of a kick return. Meanwhile, Logan Gray’s return to the Tech 41 was the only bright spot in the game for Georgia’s returners. GRADE: F

COACHING: Richt huddled his team around the 50-yard line after Tech took the lead in the third quarter in hopes of motivating the players to step up their game. It didn’t work. Georgia’s playcalling was questionable at times, and the defense had no answer for Tech’s option, despite having an extra week to prepare. More importantly, the Bulldogs’ focus didn’t come close to matching Tech’s, and the responsibility for that has to rest with the coaches. GRADE: D

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