(Photo credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports)
As his Yellow Jackets pause from their conference schedule, Georgia Tech coach Brent Key relished what he saw -- and heard -- from his team last week.
Georgia Tech (2-2) returns to Atlanta to host Bowling Green (1-3) of the Mid-American Conference on Saturday after back-to-back road games, including last week's 30-16 win at Wake Forest in Atlantic Coast Conference action.
With Georgia Tech leading 20-9 and its offense facing third-and-6 at the Wake Forest 35-yard line, Key said he told his defense he was going to try a fourth-down conversion if needed. An incomplete pass did indeed make it fourth down.
"And the defense said, 'Go coach. We got your back. We got the offense's back.' And that was the first time this year that I've heard this team ... the first time there was a little rally around each other. And I'm almost getting chill bumps thinking about it right now because that's a major step in ... the building of a football team," Key said.
Another incompletion gave the ball to Wake Forest, and the Yellow Jackets' defense responded. Andre White Jr. sacked Mitch Griffis, Georgia Tech's Zeek Biggers recovered, and Aidan Birr later kicked a 27-yard field goal for a 23-9 lead.
Kyle Kennard had four of the Yellow Jackets' seven sacks, and Jaylon King had two of their three interceptions.
Bowling Green coach Scot Loeffler sounded at times perplexed, hopeful and angry in meeting with reporters this week.
Perplexed because his Falcons, who hung around at No. 2 Michigan for most of the first half before losing 31-6 on Sept. 16, endured a horrendous start last week in a 38-7 loss to Ohio in each team's MAC opener.
Bowling Green's first nine possessions consisted of two fumbles returned for touchdowns, two interceptions, a turnover on downs deep in Ohio territory, and four punts after drives that gained a combined 25 yards.
"Right now, what we are is a team (that) can beat anyone, can play against Michigan, can play as a good a half ... with a top-two opponent, and then we can go out and look like that," Loeffler said.
Georgia Tech won the only previous meeting with Bowling Green in 2018.
--Field Level Media