Irish Squeak by Jackets

GoJackets.com recaps the 14-10 Georgia Tech loss to Notre Dame

Brady Quinn led Notre Dame to a 14-10 victory over the Yellow Jackets. The Fighting Irish toook the lead on a 13 yard Darius Walker run with 6:33 left in the third period and capped off a 14 play 64 yard drive.

The Yellow Jackets opened the scoring with a Calvin Johnson 4 yard touchdown reception late in the first quarter and followed it with a 35 yard field goal by Travis Bell in the second quarter. It was clear that the first half strategy for the Jacket offense was to get the ball in Calvin Johnson's hands and he responded with 5 catches for 95 yards in the first half. Meanwhile, the Jacket defense stymied the Notre Dame offense for most of the first half until Notre Dame closed out the half with a 14 play 80 yard touchdown drive. The drive was capped off with a 5 yard Brady Quinn quarterback draw. Then, on Notre Dame's first possession of the second half, they drove for the touchdown that ultimately provided the winning margin.

The game was not without controversy as the Georgia Tech defense appeared to have halted a Notre Dame drive to force a field goal. At the end of the play, however, Phillip Wheeler was flagged for a helmet to helmet personal foul when he hit Brady Quinn as he was headed out of bounds. Wheeler, when asked about the hit said, "He was in bounds, I hit him. I didn't put my head down or anything. I think the referee said it was an illegal hit but I didn't lead with my head, I do not think it should have been a penalty." Chan Gailey added, "I saw both guys in bounds and I saw a guy going to make a tackle. If you call helmet to helmet every time two helmets hit, you'll call it every time. It's the game of football. They hit our quarterback in the helmet late, and it was funny how that one wasn't called." The penalty gave Notre Dame a first down, new life, and set the stage for the Darius Walker go-ahead touchdown.

Perhaps the key to the game, however, was the lack of production by the Yellow Jacket offense against the much-maligned Notre Dame defense. Charlie Weis, who had heard much criticism of his Irish defense following last season noted, "I thought the defensive staff and defensive players showed up tonight, and that's the reason why we won the game." After allowing 10 points to the Jacket offense in the first half, the Irish coaches and players made the necessary adjustments to shut out the Jackets in the second half. In particular, the Irish keyed on Calvin Johnson and limited him to 2 catches and 16 yards after the half.

The offenses spent most of the second half trading punts with defense ruling the day. Facing a 4-point deficit, Georgia Tech did manage to mount a drive close to mid-field late in the 3rd quater. With 4th down and 1 to go for a first down, the Yellow Jackets elected to punt. The offense only got 2 more chances as Notre Dame then wore down a tired Georgia Tech defense with 3 long but non-scoring drives - including the final drive that consumed the last 5:29 of the game. They capped off that possession with a Brady Quinn sneak on 4th and 1 that gave them a first down, little time on the clock, and Georgia Tech with no timeouts.

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