Sunday, November 29, 2009

Biggest Game of the Year?

No. 7 Georgia Tech Falls to Georgia

Well, I've been waiting for -- nay, dreading -- the inevitable heartbreak that each football season brings to Jackets fans. Maybe we already had it back in September down in Miami? Maybe Paul Johnson can stave it off completely? But of course, the inescapable cannot be escaped (duh!).

The loss to the hated Bulldogs at home definitely left a bitter taste to the Thanksgiving weekend. Not just the loss, but the combination of bad things that led to it. Like the fact that UGA's star receiver sat the game out, but it didn't even matter, since they ran and ran and ran the ball -- and our defense couldn't do a thing about it. Or the fact that Josh Nesbitt got hurt and didn't play the entire second quarter. Or the fact that our 76-yard completion for touchdown was almost immediately answered by UGA's 75-yard touchdown run. But of course, the cruelest heartbreak was when Georgia's kicker, who had been perfect all night, missed the field goal that would have put the game out of reach, and Tech began their final drive with about three minutes left, with victory tantalizingly within reach. In a stroke of extreme irony, the drive ended when our usually consistent/frequently amazing receiver dropped a pass, and Tech turned over the ball on downs.

Now, in most seasons, the conventional wisdom is that the UGA game is the biggest game of the year. A loss to the Bulldogs typically leaves Tech fans to ponder which crappy bowl game we'll be headed for (not the blue turf!!!), and then we begin turning our eyes towards basketball season (Tech's looking good so far, btw).

But this is the Paul Johnson era, dangit! We're playing for the ACC Championship next weekend. If we beat Clemson, we're going to the Orange Bowl. That'll go a long way to wash that bitter taste out.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Raise the Song of Harvest Home

We sang this glorious old hymn, "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come," in church this past Sunday. I've probably heard it before, but I'm not sure if I'd ever paid attention to the words until now. The phrase "harvest home" just struck me as the perfect metaphor for the day when we will be united with Christ at his coming to establish the new heavens and the new earth -- the idea that all the harvesting will be done and we can abide with Him in eternal Thanksgiving for His ultimate provision. I also like that the emphasis is on the Lord as the one who is doing the harvesting, not us. I especially appreciated the reminder to pray that we "wholesome grain and pure might be." Repentance comes before renewal.

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.

Hymn Text by Henry Alford, 1844

This Thanksgiving, remember that Christ is Lord and we are to thank him for His goodness. Our weapon is worship! By praising the Risen Savior at our feast, we boldly proclaim that "All the world is God’s own field!" Perhaps you could start a new tradition of singing this hymn with your family. :) However your celebrate this Thanksgiving, may you have a wonderful holiday and celebrate gladly around your tables with family and friends!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Walks with Waterfowl

The past several weeks we've seen some glorious fall weather.

To take advantage of these beautiful, blustery days, we have been taking walks near the pond at our apartment complex.

Usually, we go on Thursdays after handing out cookies to the school kids. Cookie Days interrupt our usual naptime, but I know these apartment events will be ending soon, so I like to think I am finding ways to enjoy them as a family rather than rush through and just get the job done.

One day, I finally remembered to bring some bread.

Quite a gaggle of geese have occupied our little patch of water, competing with the dozen or so ducks who can usually be found here year-round.

Once the bread ran out, Jacob shared his Goldfish crackers. He can be so thoughtful.

Last Thursday, the ducks and geese avoided us, though we came bearing a boutiful harvest of old bread. The birds were probably just full from someone else feeding them earlier in the day, but I secretly wondered if they despised us for the pervious week's meager offering.

This time, will they remember how we cast the bread out even when they didn't swim our way? Gentle reader, we shall keep you informed.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Tampa Bound

No. 7 Georgia Tech Runs Over Duke to Clinch Spot in ACC Title Game

2009 ACC Coastal Division Champs

First things first: I really need to stop watching the opening quarters of Tech football games. Saturday was a prime example: In the waning minutes of the first quarter, the Jackets were down 10-0 to the Blue Devils. Say what?!? But as usual, Coach Johnson made some adjustments, and GT was in business. After an 83-yard kickoff return, Tech scored the first of seven unanswered touchdowns for the day. Jonathan Dwyer rushed for over 100 yards (as usual), and Josh Nesbitt passed for 195 yards and 2 TD's -- on just 6 completions. Six different Yellow Jackets scored touchdowns. And our backup players went in for pretty much the entire fourth quarter.

The win earns Tech a spot in the ACC Championship Game down in Tampa on December 5, most likely in a rematch against the Clemson Tigers (but they aren't locked in just yet). But the real game of the season is in two weeks: after a much-deserved week off, the Jackets host the hated Bulldogs from Athens.

In the polls, Tech remains at No. 7, since none of the teams above us were kind enough to lose this weekend. Alas.

One last thing: curious about what Coach Paul Johnson will do on a given 4th down? Here's a handy tool.
Now you too can call plays like Paul Johnson!

Go Jackets!


Monday, November 09, 2009

"I Play to Win"

... says Coach Paul Johnson, after the Jackets eked out a 30-27 overtime win against Wake Forest.

Of course, the description "eked out" hardly does justice to Johnson's bold call to forego the game-tying field goal on 4th & 1. Granted, Johnson usually goes for it on fourth anyway, but the Jackets had not had much success with it on Saturday: Tech was 0-4 on 4th down conversions going into overtime. A gusty move, but it paid off when Josh Nesbitt muscled his way forward for the first down. He ran in the winning touchdown on the next snap.

Wake Forest definitely played a heck of a game. After watching them nearly upset Miami last week, I knew they would give us a hard time. Plus, we had a few dumb penalties on crucial plays that kept the game closer than it should have been. But the Jackets prevailed.

With the win, and a few upsets in the top ten, Tech moves up to No. 7 in the polls. Next up: a visit up to Duke, where a win clinches the Coastal Division and sends the Jackets to Tampa for the ACC Championship. Duke should be an easy win, which is enough to make Tech fans everywhere start sweating: this is the point in the season where a Tech team on the rise typically has the rug pulled out. But then again, Paul Johnson plays to win.

Yeah, I just won the game.  Can you tell?


Monday, November 02, 2009

Better Late Than Never

So, we didn't exactly celebrate ON Halloween this year.

Jacob fell asleep before 6 p.m. on All Hallows' Eve, due to a fun visit with his Aunt Amy and Uncle Mike, so we stayed in from the trick-or-treating.

Ethan DID manage to partake of some costume fun:

And enjoyed some GT football with his dad:

The costume didn't have legs, so he was soon extricated:

And then proceeded to try to eat the pumpkin that Nana and Papa had brought us:

Failing at that, he did manage to remove the stem!

Then, the day after, since it was such a beautiful fall afternoon on All Saints' Day, we carved the pumpkin.

Only one day late, right? I wonder what the neighbors thought: had Daylight Savings Time gotten us REALLY confused?

At least Jacob didn't seem to notice the discrepancy.

We removed the yucky insides.

As Jacob would say, "I smell something."

Daddy helped carve the face that Mommy and Jacob drew.

Jacob was very proud to use his "scooper" all by himself.

At least Jacob got to wear his $1.72 Old Navy 2009 celebratory shirt. I bought it BEFORE Halloween. Really, I did!

Ethan watched safely from inside, free from pumpkin innards and sharp knives.

The closest Jacob got to wearing a costume:

Jacob pointing at the gorgeous full moon:

Apparently, full moons make Daddy go crazy...

Enjoying our belated holiday family fun!

We even roasted the pumpkin seeds using this Martha sweet 'n spicy recipe. Not too shabby, but I think next time I would use more cinnamon and less cumin.


Tech Football Update -- Halloween Edition

Yellow Jackets Rally Past Commodores, 56-31

So the first half was definitely more trick than treat: even though the offense started strong, the Tech defense allowed Vanderbilt -- Vanderbilt!! -- to put up 28 points before halftime. Thankfully, the D pulled it together and allowed the Commodores only a field goal in the second half. Whatever Coach Johnson said in the locker room to whip them into shape for the remainder of the game worked. Which raises the question -- Coach, can't you do that before the game, instead of making Tech fans suffer for the first half? Just sayin'.

On the positive side, the Tech offense put up some big numbers on Saturday. As expected, Nesbitt personally carried in a couple of touchdowns, but the pleasant surprise was that he passed for 193 yards and another pair of scores. Jonathan Dwyer had a record 186 yards rushing, including three touchdowns of his own. The Yellow Jackets had a combined offense of 597 yards. The moral of the story -- Georgia Tech can put the points on the scoreboard! Now we just need our defense to consistently prevent our opponents from doing likewise.

Fun fact: the Commodore who caused us the most grief on Saturday was Warren Norman, who Allison taught at Chamblee High School. Norman was particularly devastating on kickoff returns (including an 80-yd return for TD), demonstrating again how much work the Jackets still need on special teams. It's always a bad thing when your kicker has to make a stop. Granted, it's always fun to see what crazy thing kicker Scott Blair will do each week. (You might remember his touchdown pass in the Clemson game on a fake field goal.) This week he forced Norman to fumble a kickoff return and recovered the ball for the Jackets.

With the win, Georgia Tech creeps up to #10 on both the BCS and AP standings. Next week: at home against Wake Forest, where a win will bring us one step closer to the ACC Championship.