Georgia Tech players will need a short memory as they prepare for this week’s important ACC game at Virginia.
The Yellow Jackets agree they can’t allow the bad feelings from their disappointing road loss against Clemson to linger. The players reiterated they must regain focus for Saturday, which could make or break their season.
“We just have to come together as a team,” senior captain KeShun Freeman said. “We know we lost (at Clemson). We just can’t let them beat us next week. What we can do is look at the film, learn from our mistakes and grow from there. That’s going to be a major key.”
Georgia Tech (4-3, 3-2 ACC) needs two more wins to guarantee a winning season and become bowl eligible. The Yellow Jackets still have games against Virginia, No. 13 Virginia Tech, Duke and No. 2 Georgia. The difficulty of the remaining schedule – the nation’s second-toughest behind only Auburn – makes a win against the Cavaliers essential.
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“We have to have a short memory,” B-back KirVonte Benson said. “We lost to a good (Clemson) team. We can play better and we will play better. What happened is in the past. We’ve got to worry about the rest of our season and nothing else.”
Virginia is a dangerous team. The Cavs (5-3, 2-2 ACC) appeared to be making big strides in coach Bronco Mendenhall’s second season, but they’ve not played well the last two weeks in lopsided losses to Boston College and Pittsburgh. The Cavs trailed 24-0 against Boston College and 21-0 against Pitt and could never get back in either game.
Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert said, “We have too many opportunities that we didn’t get. That changes a game.”
Virginia needs one more win to become bowl eligible and, like Georgia Tech, is running out of opportunities. The Cavs must play at Louisville, at No. 9 Miami and against rival Virginia Tech.
Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall took the blame for the team’s offensive struggles against Clemson. The junior was frustrated by Clemson’s speed and physicality. He rushed 15 times for 23 yards, with 22 of that coming on a meaningless touchdown with 4:23 remaining. Marshall finished with 94 fewer yards than season rushing average.
“I didn’t play as good as I’d like,” Marshall said. “It starts with me. I really let the team down. I’ve got to come back ready to work. Going to watch the film, flush it and get ready for Virginia.”
Georgia Tech beat Virginia 31-17 last year, but the game was close until the fourth quarter. Virginia pulled to within a touchdown midway in the final period and had the ball with four minutes remaining when Georgia Tech’s Lance Austin scored on a pick-six to put the game away.
Georgia Tech fumbled on its fourth offensive play against Clemson. That broke a streak of 159 consecutive plays without a turnover. The Yellow Jackets had not suffered a takeway since the third quarter of the North Carolina game on Sept. 30. … Marshall’s touchdown against Clemson was his 11th, fourth-best in school history for quarterbacks in a single season. Next up: Tevin Washington, who had 14 in 2011. … Injury report: Cornerback Step Durham (upper body), linebacker Terrell Lewis (lower body) and quarterback Matthew Jordan (lower body) left the Clemson game with injuries. Their status will be disclosed Thursday.