Tech passing not enough in the end

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Last week, in a 41-10 victory over South Carolina State, Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt completed just one pass but led the Yellow Jackets’ offense to a punishing performance on the ground that more than made up for it.

This week, during a 28-25 loss at Kansas, Nesbitt could’ve stood to complete a few more passes.

Just 5-of-15  for 116 yards and one touchdown, Nesbitt and the 15th-ranked Yellow Jackets struggled through the air after Kansas built an 11-point second-half lead, forcing Georgia Tech to take to the air to stage a comeback.

It nearly worked, as Nesbitt’s 40-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Hill — followed by a two-point conversion pass to Hill — pulled Tech to within three points with eight minutes to play. However, Nesbitt did not complete another pass.

“When the other team fires the corner about every play, you should probably be able to throw one and complete it,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said.

Nesbitt’s accuracy wasn’t great, but his receivers gave him little help. Georgia Tech’s skill players dropped four balls, three in the first half, including one by Hill  in the end zone.

“At first, I was getting frustrated,” Nesbitt said. “But I realized I have to have a short memory and just forget this play, then I’d move on to the next play.”

The Kansas defense was in no mood to allow Nesbitt to forget about the passing game. In fact, with the way the Jayhawks were able to contain Tech’s rushing attack, Johnson and the Yellow Jackets were forced to throw late in an attempt to tie the game or reclaim the lead.

Asked after the game if such a scenario played into his team’s hands, Kansas coach Turner Gill did not hesitate to answer.

“No question about that,” he said. “That’s something that’s not what they want to do. And that gave us an opportunity to make plays.”

Added Kansas linebacker Steven Johnson: “That made us feel a lot more comfortable.”

Nesbitt was just 2-of-7 for 25 yards in the first half, but Georgia Tech still managed to lead 17-14 at halftime. The senior quarterback from Greensboro, Ga., was 3-of-8 for 91 yards in the second half — 40 of those came on one play — but was unable to consistently get the Yellow Jackets’ offense moving. On several occasions, his off-balance delivery forced off-target throws. On a wheel route in the first half, Nesbitt overthrew junior A-Back Embry Peeples, a player he had developed some chemistry with late in 2009, by five yards on what looked to be a sure touchdown.

Said fullback Anthony Allen of the Yellow Jackets’ miscues in the passing game: “It’s a matter of being focused, it’s a matter of staying focused, keyed in on the game.”