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Boston College Vs. Georgia Tech: On Fourth Down Defense

If Jackets coach Paul Johnson decides to roll the dice on fourth down, it might be a long afternoon for the Eagles down in Atlanta.


In Wednesday's weekly ACC media teleconference, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson was asked to comment on the recent trend across college football of teams deciding to go for it more often on fourth down as well as his own philosophy on rolling the dice.

Our philosophy, because we have basically been a running offense, we felt like we were in a situation where it was less than a couple yards, felt good about having a chance to pick it up. That, and the other thing probably is before the game, that certainly dictates on how the game is going. If you're having a hard time stopping the other team, a lot of times you don't want to give up a point if you have a chance to make a first down.

Already this season, Johnson has gone for it on 15 different occasions, with the Yellow Jackets offense converting on six of those attempts. That attempt total ranks tied for 15th nationally with Nevada, Vanderbilt and Hawaii. The team that has gone for it the most this season? That would be Army, who has gone for it on fourth 23 times, converting 11 times (including successfully converting 2-of-3 in the win over BC).

Johnson deciding to roll the dice on fourth down this Saturday is a frightening proposition for the Eagles. The Boston College defense hasn't been able to get off the field this season and got rolled by an Army program running a similar offense to Tech. If the BC D can manage to stop Georgia Tech in three downs, but fails to get off the field in four, it could be a long afternoon for the Eagles down on North Avenue.