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What A Game, What A Crowd

Oct. 7, 2014

By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word

Meteorologists might have described it was cool and breezy Saturday night in Bobby Dodd Stadium, yet as Georgia Tech beat Miami 28-17 a large and energetic crowd of 52,221 helped create enough warm and fuzzy feelings to go around. Students made an impressive showing, and a “Whiteout” promoted an all-for-one vibe for the Yellow Jackets to feed upon.

“It was a beautiful picture,” said senior safety Isaiah Johnson, whose first interception of the season stalled a Miami drive late in the second quarter. “To see all the love and support . . . I love seeing that atmosphere.”

The Jackets were not accommodating hosts.

Tech (5-0, 2-0 ACC) held the ball for 40:45 – seventh-most in program history – converted 11-of-16 third and fourth downs, and Miami (3-3, 1-2) was good on just 1-of-5 third downs while suffering the game’s only two turnovers.

Palpable energy enveloped the stadium.

“I thought the crowd was great, especially the students,” said Tech head coach Paul Johnson, whose team in consecutive games has ended a four-game losing streak to ACC Coastal division foe Virginia Tech and a five-game losing streak to Miami. “They were loud and into it. Night games here are always a lot of fun.”

In the wake, there was joy aplenty.

In the moments immediately after the game, quarterbacks/B-backs coach Bryan Cook wore the grin of a Cheshire cat as he wound his way down a stairwell among fans on his way to joining fellow coaches and players.

As players and fans – including many students – celebrated on the field after the game, athletic director Mike Bobinski wore as big a smile as any while he made his way off the playing field in the northwest corner of Grant Field.

Offensive line coach Mike Sewak and linebackers coach Andy McCollum yucked it up with one another as if they were long-lost friends being re-united at a party.

Players soaked it all in, and loved every moment.

“It was a great atmosphere. Saturday night . . . Bobby Dodd . . . Whiteout. I mean, you could not ask for a better atmosphere,” said senior B-back Charles Perkins, who rushed seven times for 65 yards. “I think it helped us a lot. We love when the fans get behind us, and it was a great atmosphere to play in tonight.”

The Jackets’ battering ram, senior A-back Zack Laskey was all bumps, bruises and smiles after rushing a career-high 29 times to tie a career high with 133 yards.

He and his teammates wrapped themselves in the warm and fuzzy feelings flowing from the crowd to pump up their energy levels.

“This team knows how to respond to adversity,” Laskey said. “When we need a big stop, the defense comes up with it. Every time we’re in a situation where we need to score, we’re able to score.

“I think that says a lot about the guys . . . and how much love we have for each other, and how much we play for each other. It really makes me feel like we’re playing for the whole community.”

Fans won’t have to wait long to do it again; Duke will visit Bobby Dodd next Saturday for a 12:30 kickoff.


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