ATLANTA — For several minutes Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium, there was a press box buzz about how a certain second-quarter play should have been scored.
Was it an interception or was it a fumble?
Was it a forward pass or wasn’t it?
What was it?
“I don’t know what it was,” Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said after his Yellow Jackets’ 33-21 win over Virginia. “It looked awful.”
As Georgia Tech drove into the Cavaliers’ red zone trailing by a point late in the second quarter, Yellow Jackets quarterback Joshua Nesbitt started running to his left on what appeared to be a standard option pitch or keeper play.
But when he got ready to pitch — er, pass, whatever — the ball, he stopped, jumped and tried to toss it into the waiting hands of an A-back on the other side of a Virginia defender.
The only thing was, the defender had more spring in his feet than Nesbitt anticipated, and reached up, snatched the ball out of the air and hauled in what was ruled to be an interception.
When he first read his statistics sheet following the game, Johnson squinted hard in his glasses and look befuddled at the sight of an interception on Nesbitt’s line.
“I don’t remember that one,” he said.
As it turns out, the play would not hurt the Yellow Jackets, as they got the ball back four plays later on a punt. But it was still a disconcerting one for Nesbitt, who believed he learned a lesson.
“I was just trying to do too much,” Nesbitt said.
Allen still not satisfied
Sure, Anthony Allen rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Virginia, but he believed his numbers could have been even more eye-popping.
Last Sunday, on his weekly teleconference, Johnson suggested to reporters that Allen needed to do a better job finishing runs deep downfield and to plow through defenders better than he had previously been.
The message was apparently received; loud and clear.
Many of Allen’s yards came after fighting through arm tackles and breaking the Cavaliers’ desperate attempts to slow the big B-back down. But even though he darted through and past them on those occasions, there were others when Allen felt he could have and didn’t.
“I still didn’t finish as many runs as a wanted to,” Allen said, opening his post-game comments. “There were still a couple of long runs where I should have just trusted my speed and kept going, and I tried to cut back into a guy.”
In turn, that may have kept him from a 200-yard day, which would have been his first as a Yellow Jackets running back.
The fact remains, however, that he was proud of the end result of his banner day, nonetheless.
“For the most part, though, I did a pretty good job of finishing,” Allen said.
On his teleconference this Sunday, Johnson said that as of now, offensive linemen Will Jackson and Phil Smith likely would be “questionable” for this weekend’s game against Middle Tennessee State.
Both have suffered ankle injuries, with Jackson going down at Wake Forest more than a week ago. Smith was run from last Saturday’s game. By Sunday, he was sporting crutches, Johnson said.
If Smith can’t play, in his place likely will be some combination of Nick Claytor and Austin Barrick at tackle. At guard, where Jackson has been missing off-and-on throughout the season, redshirt freshman Jay Finch will continue to play, while Zach Krish and Dublin native Nick McRae can fill in, as well.
Following Saturday’s games, Nesbitt leads all ACC rushers with 543 yards on the ground. Allen ranks second in the conference, with 525. A quarterback has never led the conference in rushing by season’s end. … With his two field goals against Virginia, place-kicker Scott Blair currently heads Georgia Tech’s all-time, career field goal percentage list. He has made 72.9 percent of his career attempts. Entering the season, Travis Bell led the all-time list with a 72.6 rating.