I couldn't help but wonder what sort of comments George O'Leary was making to his troops during half-time on Saturday. My first guess was that a chewing out of cosmic proportions was taking place. Three first half turnovers had Ramblin' Wreck Nation a little antsy. But Coach decided on a more calm approach according to witnesses. After all, you don't have to preach about the evils of self-destruction to this veteran, battle-tested group of Jackets. And it was already apparent that Duke was not going to win this game without the Jackets' continued support.
So much normalcy ensued in the second half and everyone got pretty much got what they expected. Tech got it's first conference win and Duke got a nice effort from lesser players.
But with a short week ahead --and an emotional one for many on the Flats --let's get on with a recap of Tech 37, Duke 10..
-The third quarter was all good for the Jackets. They held a Duke team that had moved the ball on them the first two quarters to minus twelve yards. They shut down TB Chris Douglas, who had 93 yards rushing in the first half. Douglas had only one yard the entire second half, on five carries.
-Joe Burns had his eighth 100 yard game, finishing with 122 yards on 24 carries. He also caught six passes for 52 yards. 174 yards of total offense is a pretty good day at the office. Burns also got stronger as the game wore on, as usual. Coaches just love players like that.
-This brings us to the depth factor. Ths Jackets again used depth to their advantage which is nice to see after several decades of it usually being the other way around.It was nice to se players like Andy Hall and Sean Gregory get some PT, but I was a little disappointed Dimarius Bilbo didn't play. No offense to Hall, but using Bilbo a couple of series a game gives other coaching staffs even more to think about.
-Tech's blitz package and defensive line pressured D. Bryant (five sacks) and kept him from any Woody Dantzler-like big scrambles. Bryant has athletic ability so that was a significant factor in the game. Greg Gathers had two of the sacks, which puts him just one-and-a-half gotchas behind Coleman Rudolph for the all-time Tech mark.
-Kerry Watkins had two touchdown catches, once again proving his rep as one of the Jackets' key playmakers is deserved. If you get the ball in his hands a few times a game, he'll score a TD or two.
-Despite the lackadaisical second quarter and a three-and-out on it's opening series, Tech still managed 505 yards total offense. They've now done that in six of the past twelve games.
-And finally, LB Matthew Etheridge got into the game late and it was nice to see him get an assist and recover a game-ending fumble after what I'm sure was a very unpleasant week of Woody Dantzler nightmares.
-George Godsey probably lost his national lead in passing efficiency to Rex Grossman of Florida with back-to-back INTs in the second quarter, which led to Duke's ten points. But he recovered to put together a pretty nice performance (24 of 40, 295 yards, 2 TDs).
-He and star WR Kelly Campbell were not in sync most of the game. Campbell dropped two potential touchdown catches and I counted at least eight errant Godsey passes intended for Campbell. Kelly did finish with six catches for 58 yards, leaving him one short of Harvey Middleton's all-time Tech record of 164 catches.
-That stinking draw play worked on the Tech defense a couple of times in the first half, with TB Chris Douglas doing the damage. Please heal fast Daryl. We need you.
-The announced homecoming crowd of 10,431 was a deep embarassment to both the Duke football program and the ACC. FREE ADVICE: I suggest here they invite football recruits to basketball games.
-Carl Frank's record as a head coach is now 3-24. It doesn't get much uglier than that.