A few bloggers and friends of mine have asked why the running play to Ealey was ever even called. They are unhappy with the fact that Johnson's "strategy" was allowed to play out, because they believe Richt could have knelt his way to victory.
The Ealey score was on 2nd down. Murray had knelt the ball on 1st down, and Johnson called a timeout.
Now, I'm the first to say the game is never over until it's over. Still, conventional wisdom holds that with under two minutes to go, having only one timeout, and behind....you're done. But, Johnson, being the "winner" that he is, decides to give his team a chance. So, the timeout.
Now, it's 2nd down and there is 1:35 on the clock. That's 95 seconds. If we snap the ball and take a knee on 2nd and third down, we'll snap the ball on 4th with about fifteen seconds left. At the least, ten seconds. That means that even a field goal would not run out the clock. So, at some point, you're going to have to run an honest-to-God football play if you want to possess the ball until time runs out. So, Bobo called a simple ISO play. Bobo did not expect Johnson's defense to allow Ealey to run straight through. He expected the play to burn enough time off the clock to get the Bulldogs back ahead of the playclock-gameclock differential, and thus be able to kneel the ball once an then walk off the field.
As for "Why didn't Ealey just kneel the ball?"
Washaun Ealey is a 19 year-old kid who has been told, on every play of his life other than that one play, that his goal is to get into the end-zone and score the touchdown. He hasn't been in this position. Our offense hasn't been in this position. It's safe to say that the coaches haven't likely been in this position either. Once upon a time in a game of NCAA football on PS3, I took the "Johnson Gamble" and it paid off for me, and even I didn't see that one coming.
Basically, that's why the touchdown happened. Bobo had to waste a little time, so he called the ISO. Johnson told his defense not to play the down, on the off-chance that the offense had called an actual play. Ealey did what he's been taught to do for his entire life.
Oh yeah, and we won the frikkin game by 8 points. Go Dawgs.
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Yeah, hind sight is 50-50, and your post makes sense. It reminds me of a game we played against Auburn several years ago.. we took them down to the wire and I kept thinking Richt should just let them score so we have some time on the clock to move the ball down the field where we can still win it. It wasn't a truly equitable situation to Tech in this game, because we were up, and they were in red zone, but I just felt like we weren't going to stop them, so just let them score so we have some time on the clock and a chance. Sure enough, Auburn scored and ran the clock down in the process and we lost. I liked what Johnson did there.. thought it made sense, and reminds me how Richt just sticks to the book of conventional wisdom all too often. Either way.. we got the win in this game, and that's a good thing.
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