ATLANTA -- It would be unfair to suggest that Georgia Tech can match the high passing standards it set in the season opener. It would be equally unfair to suggest that the Yellow Jackets won’t be greatly improved when it comes to putting the ball in the air.
Georgia Tech threw for 365 yards in last week’s 63-21 win over Western Carolina. That’s more than one-third of the passing yardage (1,091) achieved during the entire 2010 season.
As absurd as it sounds, Georgia Tech leads the nation in passing efficiency. It was the most passing yards by Georgia Tech since head coach Paul Johnson joined the program four years ago, and the performance might demonstrate the Yellow Jackets’ ability to depend on the forward pass.
“Just focus,” wideout Stephen Hill said. “It started in January. (The coaching staff) really prepared us for this year. I was glad for myself, but I was glad for the team. We all came out there and played hard. We had little mental mistakes, but we can build off that.”
Quarterback Tevin Washington completed 8-of-13 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns, an unworldly 312.8 passing efficiency rating. Four of his passes went to Stephen Hill for 181 yards and two touchdowns, including an 82-yard score.
“We’ve been working hard on being consistent in the passing game and making sure we and the receivers are on the same page,” Washington said.
A lot of the yardage came when the receivers caught a short throw and made a play at the line. Hill’s first touchdown was a pass to the sideline that he turned into a long play with a forearm and his great speed.
“We had a lot of yardage after the catch,” Johnson said. “I thought we did OK.”
The backs also got into the passing act, too. Roddy Jones caught a 26-yard touchdown, Orwin Smith caught two passes for 43 yards, and Embry Peeples caught a 21-yard pass.
“For the most part (Orwin) has been good when he has the ball in his hands,” Johnson said. “Orwin has a lot of big play ability.”
Smith was also the leading rusher with 88 yards a four carries. Tech used a dozen different ball carriers and totaled 297 yards.
Tech might need to use a similar strategy this week against Middle Tennessee State in Murfreesboro. The Blue Raiders allowed 217 yards rushing and 219 yards passing in last week’s 27-24 loss to Purdue.
Much of the strategy will depend on MTSU’s approach to the game.
“Now our focus is on Middle Tennessee State,” Washington said. “It feels great to get one under our belt, and now we can focus on the next game.”