Football

Hass: Orange fails midterm exam with embarrassing loss to Yellow Jackets

ATLANTA — So it’s midterms week. You have a massive (insert major here) test that will factor heavily into your final grade.

You’ve been studying here and there for 5-10 minutes a day since school started in August. Now that the test is finally around the corner, you’re spending a few hours a day preparing yourself for what you know will be a doozy of an exam. Despite the difficulty and importance of the test, you genuinely feel prepared.

Once you get there, though, everything you thought you knew goes out the window. The test absolutely sh*ts on you.

Fifty-six.

F.

That’s what happened to Syracuse on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium in front of 45,704 fans. The Orange got, as head coach Scott Shafer put it, its rumps kicked. Georgia Tech (4-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast) dropped a 56-spot on Syracuse (3-4, 1-2), and the Orange came away with nothing at all.

“I think they just outplayed us top to bottom, first quarter to fourth quarter,” Syracuse center Macky MacPherson said.

Yes, Macky. Yes they did. The Orange wasn’t even close to prepared for the Yellow Jackets.

Though it was a catastrophic game for Syracuse that resulted in the eighth largest margin of victory in ACC history, it’s not the end of the world. There’s still time for the Orange to salvage the season and put that nightmarish test behind it.

SU will never see anything quite like GT’s offensive scheme again.

Syracuse prepared for Georgia Tech’s vaunted triple option since August, but all it had to show for it was a humiliating 56-0 loss.

Shafer tried to switch the defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4. The purpose of doing so, he said after the game, was to change “who the read and the speed the read would be.”

Needless to say, the tactical adjustment backfired. Georgia Tech’s triple option looked like a septuple option. It was just a matter of what Vad Lee would do.

Honestly, it didn’t really matter what Syracuse did. The Orange simply wasn’t ready for Georgia Tech’s style of play. The egregious mistakes were more mental than they were physical. It was a lack of preparation on behalf of the coaching staff.

Shafer is the first to admit that. After the game, he said he was out-coached by Paul Johnson and did a poor job all around.

“I’m disappointed in myself,” the first-year head coach said. “Really am.”

The Orange didn’t study hard enough. The test questions all turned to gibberish and the answers were nonexistent.

One of the most fascinating things about Georgia Tech’s thumping was that it came at a very consistent, methodical pace. Sure, it was consistently a massacre, but the pace at which the offense surgically operated on the Orange never wavered.

It was a simple 7 yards here, 10 yards there, back to 8. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Touchdown, touchdown, touchdown.

Georgia Tech only had two running plays of more than 20 yards, yet racked up 394 on the ground.

The most amazing thing wasn’t that Syracuse was dumbfounded by the triple option at first. Naturally, it’s going to be difficult to master at first glance.

No. The most incredible part was that the scoring barrage just never ceased.

I kept wondering when it would stop. When would Georgia Tech’s run game finally be nullified? When would Syracuse score?

But none of those things ever happened.

The wrecking ball that is the Georgia Tech triple option smashed Syracuse all afternoon.

But it was just one game. Wake Forest is up next after a bye week, and Syracuse still has time to turn things around. Plus, SU doesn’t need to worry about facing Georgia Tech again anytime soon. The teams play in different divisions, so the Orange has until 2020 to study for that test.

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