Georgia Tech v Virgnia Tech

VaTech needs overtime to beat Georgia Tech


Well, that was about 53 minutes of bad football. But it’s how you finish that matters and the final half of the fourth quarter proved to be exciting as No. 16 Virginia Tech needed overtime to defeat Georgia Tech 20-17.

It was the first overtime game in Lane Stadium history.

As we mentioned earlier tonight, neither team was playing particularly well offensively. Or, maybe it was that both defenses were extra awesome. Either way, there wasn’t much to be excited about for three and a half quarters. Perhaps the biggest let down of the night came from Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas. Outside of a nice 42-yard touchdown pass late in the game, Thomas was inaccurate and made questionable decisions.

But he made some important throws when it mattered most.

Ironically, it was Georgia Tech QB Tevin Washington that made more noise throwing the ball tonight. The Yellow Jackets whipped out a pistol formation down 14-10 to mount what was a longer version of a two-minute drill. Washington made a clutch throw in Hokies territory on a fourth-and-6 before throwing a 10-yard touchdown pass just four plays later to put Georgia Tech up 17-14.

But VaTech still had 44 seconds left in regulation and drove down into field goal range where Cody Journell hit a 41-yard kick to tie the game and send it into overtime. That’s where Washington committed his first — the game’s first — turnover by throwing an interception. VaTech kicked the game-winning field goal on the next possession.

As usual, the Hokies’ defense is good enough to win the Coastal division. But there was a lot of hype on Thomas heading into this season and he looked downright bad at times tonight. It’s Week 1, though — we’ve been saying a lot over the past few days — so everyone gets a pass.

VaTech’s offense needs to pick it up, though. A slate of games including Clemson and Florida State begin in late October.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian
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Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.