ATLANTA — A win in its ACC opener may not be enough to make Georgia Tech the team to beat in the conference, but since the win came on the road against one of the league’s powers in 2007, it was an important boost.
Georgia Tech’s 19-16 victory at Boston College on Saturday left the young Yellow Jackets and their first-year coach, Paul Johnson, sitting atop the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The way things are going in the ACC, where only four of 12 teams have winning records after two weeks, the Yellow Jackets’ 2-0 start and 1-0 league mark look especially promising.
Is it time to recast goals for a team which started 12 freshmen and sophomores?
"No, not really," Johnson said Sunday. "We’re just taking one game at a time. I know that sounds like a cliche, but if you win it makes the next game bigger."
Georgia Tech plays another road game at Virginia Tech on Saturday, and the Yellow Jackets could be excused for entering the game with a more confident swagger.
After beating one team that played in last season’s ACC championship game, why not beat the other?
Johnson cautioned against overconfidence.
"We’ve got to get a lot better, or we’ll get embarrassed on Saturday," he said, adding Monday’s review of the game film will help keep his players grounded.
Georgia Tech survived three first-half fumbles to beat Boston College despite managing only 235 total yards. The Yellow Jackets won with strong defense, which evened the turnover tally with two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the third quarter.
The Yellow Jackets also won with one big play.
Jonathan Dwyer, who rushed for 108 yards, gave Georgia Tech the lead with a 43-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Another key was sophomore quarterback Josh Nesbitt, who rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown while winning his first road start.
"Our quarterback made some great plays for us scrambling," Johnson said. "He just made some great plays. A lot of our best run plays were him scrambling, or him just doing something on his own.
"He made some huge first downs and some big plays for us."
Nesbitt’s biggest play was a 30-yard scramble for a first down that helped Tech run out the clock.
It’s early, but Georgia Tech holds first place in the Coastal Division.
"You can’t overlook us," Nesbitt said. "We’re going to go out there and play hard to the end."
Led by Dwyer and Nesbitt, Georgia Tech rushed for 162 yards and did not commit a turnover in the second half.
"The thing that was disappointing was that when we turned the ball over it wasn’t option related," Johnson said. "It was just poor ball security. We run the toss play and (Roddy Jones) doesn’t catch the ball."
Georgia Tech also lost a fumble on a punt return, its second turnover on special teams in two weeks. Other concerns included two missed field goals by Scott Blair and continued struggles on the offensive line.
There is plenty of room for improvement, but Johnson said his players were "very resilient."
"I think we’re trying to come together as a team," Johnson said. "We’ve still got a long way to go, but the effort is getting better."
Just like Georgia Tech’s record.