ATLANTA -- It’s hard to find fault with the Georgia Tech offense.
That’s especially true during the past two weeks, as the Yellow Jackets have surpassed 600 yards in total offense. In fact, if the production continues to remain at a high level, the Yellow Jackets’ offense could wind up being the best in Paul Johnson’s tenure at the program.
“There are still four games left,” Johnson said. “The last two games we’ve been pretty efficient, but we can play better.”
Georgia Tech produced only seven 600-yard performances in its history going into this season. The Yellow Jackets had a season-high 465 yards rushing last week against the highly regarded Pittsburgh defense.
“If we can continue to play at that high level, it will ranked up there pretty good,” Johnson said.
The gold standard is Johnson’s second team from 2009. That year, the Yellow Jackets averaged 422.1 yards in total offense and scored 62 touchdowns on the way to an 11-3 record and the ACC championship game.
This year’s team is averaging 326.1 yards rushing and 155.8 yards passing. The Yellow Jackets rank third in the nation in rushing yards, and Georgia Tech is one of only five teams that average more than 300 yards rushing per game.
Last year’s team averaged 429.7 yards and scored 61 touchdowns but was plagued by inconsistency. And the 2013 team was so poor at running the option that Johnson essentially abandoned that facet of the game for most of the year.
“We’ve just played well,” Johnson said. “As I’ve said before, our quarterback gives us a chance to do what we want to do. We got back this year to doing what I want to do, and it’s my own fault for getting away from it. It’s what I know, and it’s what we need to be doing. I think we’re back to doing a few things well instead of doing a lot of things average. And last year what we did was a bunch of things average.”
Quarterback Justin Thomas has been a definite game-changer for Georgia Tech this season. The sophomore from Alabama has rushed for a team-leading 717 yards and four touchdowns and thrown for 1,106 yards and 11 touchdowns. Thomas is on pace to become the second Georgia Tech to rush for 1,000 yards in a season; Joshua Nesbitt rushed for 1,037 yards in 2009.
Georgia Tech has also done it without a breakout back, such as Jonathan Dwyer or Anthony Allen. B-back Zach Laskey, who is likely to miss his second straight game with a shoulder injury, has 595 yards. A-back Charles Perkins, who is likely to miss his second game with a knee injury, has rushed for 261 yards.
Their injuries have helped open the door for others to break through. Synjyn Days got his first start at B-back last week and gained a career-high 110 yards on a career-high 22 carries.
“Synjyn played really hard,” Johnson said. “There are a few things he has to clean up, but he went out and competed. Other than the fumble I think he acquitted himself well.”
The same is true for A-back Broderick Snoddy, who ran six times for 82 yards and three touchdowns.
“He’s running hard, and I hope it continues,” Johnson said. “He looked like a pinball machine bouncing around out there.”