Geoff Collins’ third season ends with Tech being outscored 100-0

Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury comforts Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins after Georgia defeated Georgia Tech in an NCAA college football game at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, November 27, 2021.  (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

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Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury comforts Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins after Georgia defeated Georgia Tech in an NCAA college football game at Georgia Tech's Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Geoff Collins’ third season as Georgia Tech’s coach ended not with a bang but with a series of thuds. His Yellow Jackets lost their final six games. They lost their final two by the aggregate score of 100-0. Saturday’s finale against Georgia ended 45-0. It could have been much worse.

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With 3:45 left in the third quarter, Tech hadn’t made a turnover. It had been penalized twice. It had allowed the nation’s No. 1 team to convert only once on third down. (The Bulldogs were 1-for-4 on what the salesman Collins pitches as “Money Down.”) That’s the blueprint as to how a massive underdog keeps a game close. And yet: Georgia led by 38 points, the 35-point spread already having been surmounted.

The Bulldogs were content to play subs in the fourth quarter. They could have started those subs and won by three touchdowns. Georgia didn’t need to convert on third down against the Jackets because it got all it needed on first and second down.

Said Collins: “The last two games were a setback – against two of the top six teams in the country. … We can’t let two games alter everything we’ve been building toward.”

And what exactly was that? The season began with Tech losing to Northern Illinois. Tech yielded 52 points to Pitt, 48 to Virginia, 41 to Boston College. Its only victory in Bobby Dodd Stadium came against Kennesaw State. This would have been a bad first season for any new coach. For a coach in Year 3, it was wretched.

Collins again: “There’s nobody more disappointed than me.”

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Georgia's head coach Kirby Smart and Georgia Tech's head coach Geoff Collins shake hands after Georgia won 45-0. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Georgia football-Kirby Smart-Georgia Tech

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

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Georgia's head coach Kirby Smart and Georgia Tech's head coach Geoff Collins shake hands after Georgia won 45-0. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

That mightn’t be true. A #706Takeover was staged at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday. The East stands were as red as the far side of Sanford Stadium is when the Bulldogs play at home. The North upper deck – built at the behest of George O’Leary – was all Georgia. Tech folks generally are slow to turn against a coach. It’s clear more than a few have washed their hands of Collins.

As chilling as the sight of Tech fans being outnumbered at home had to be to Institute higher-ups, imagine the setting if Bulldogs backers hadn’t shown. A Power 5 school would have held its Senior Day before a modest gathering of family and friends.

Said cornerback Tre Swilling: “It being Senior Day and there being a lot of red … truthfully, it doesn’t feel great.”

The Jackets’ performance Saturday wasn’t what you’d deem embarrassing. They didn’t give the ball away. They didn’t do silly stuff. They just could do nothing of consequence, which after three recruiting classes is a damning indictment. Each team ran 51 plays. The Bulldogs gained 463 yards. Tech managed 171. Tech punted three times in the first quarter. Georgia punted once in the game.

As much as Collins might insist his program has shown progress, eyeball evidence suggests otherwise. We’ve seen over the past eight days how deep the divide is between Tech and the upper crust of college football. Notre Dame won by 55. Georgia won by 45. Tech was shut out in consecutive games for the first time since 1957.

Thus did the third season of Collins’ stewardship end the way the first two had. His Jackets won three games. They’re 9-25 since he replaced Paul Johnson, whose first year saw Tech go 9-4 and upset a Georgia team that entered the season ranked No. 1. There’s no denying that Johnson’s final four seasons yielded diminishing returns – Tech was 24-25 – but the product never was as uninspiring as this.

Georgia 45, Georgia Tech 0

“Tomorrow will be a deep dive into every aspect of program,” Collins said, and for emphasis he stressed the “ev” in “every.” Presumably this means Tech will fire its defensive coordinator, maybe even its offensive coordinator. But if that much change is warranted, we need to ask: Who hired DC Andrew Thacker and OC Dave Patenaude? (Hint: not Paul Johnson.)

More Collins: “We’re not going to talk about the future. We’ve got some things we’ve got to address in the immediacy.”

Well, yeah. Collins’ first team lost to Georgia 52-7. This time it was 45-nil. The gap hasn’t closed one iota. If you’re coaching Tech, that might need addressing.

So, too, might the identity of the head coach. Athletic director Todd Stansbury hired Collins off the strength of two seasons at Temple in which the Owls were 15-10. (In the two previous seasons under Matt Rhule, Temple was 20-7.) Collins was handed a seven-year contract, which even by Tech’s splurging standards seemed excessive. He took a program in need of a jolt. He has coached it into oblivion.

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