Georgia Tech had three times trailed Tulane, 7-0, 14-7 and 21-14. With just over three minutes left in the first half, Tech now had a chance to even the game again after safety Demond Smith had ended the Green Wave’s last possession with an interception (a play caused in part by a five-yard tackle for loss on the previous play) to give the Yellow Jackets superior field position. At first and 10 on the Tulane 19-yard line, Tech ran a triple option that ended up in the end zone, tying the score at 21. The Yellow Jackets got the ball back again before the end of the half and went ahead 24-21. After tying and taking the lead in the final three minutes of the first half, Tech never trailed again. A look at A-back Tony Zenon’s 19-yard touchdown run (you can watch a clip of it here.)
A-back Tony Zenon (9) is in the left slot. A-back Deon Hill (31) is in the standard slotback spot. Wide receiver Micheal Summers is below the picture. B-back Synjyn Days is behind quarterback Justin Thomas. Tulane is in a nickel alignment with nickel safety William Townsend (13 on the near side) in the box.
Zenon goes in motion, influencing Townsend, who steps to his left, and middle linebacker Nico Marley (20) who also shuffles left.
On the triple option, Thomas reads right end Daren Williams (92), who is crashing down on Days, and pulls the ball to keep. Zenon pivots back to his left, becoming the third option. Center Andrew Marshall (50, coming through the line of scrimmage) is about to take on linebacker Eric Thomas (52). Hill leads out of the backfield.
Marshall’s cut-block attempt at the 15-yard line won’t get Thomas to the ground, but will stagger him enough to take him out of the play. Left tackle Bryan Chamberlain (53, at the 18) puts a block on Marley’s outside shoulder. Marley had shifted slightly to his left when Zenon went in motion, giving Chamberlain a slightly better blocking angle. In the scrum around the 18-yard line, left guard Trey Braun has knocked defensive tackle Sean Wilson backwards, preventing him from disrupting Justin Thomas.
At the left edge of the picture, Eric Thomas is trying to stay on his feet after Marshall’s block. Marley is likewise trying to disengage from Chamberlain at the 15. With the speed of Justin Thomas and Zenon, they’re both behind the play, however.
With Townsend (at the 16) closing in, Thomas is about to pitch to Zenon. Hill is throwing a cut block at the 15.
Hill’s block on safety Darion Monroe (2, straddling the 15) didn’t get him to the ground, but knocks him off balance enough to the point that it’ll be hard for him to recover and catch up to Zenon. Williams, the defensive end who crashed on Days, is running along the 15 and has shown effort to continue to pursue the play.
Zenon has outrun Monroe (at the 10). Marley (at the 6), who was initially blocked by Chamberlain, is trying to cut off Zenon, as is Thomas (at the 5), who was blocked by Marshall, and free safety Sam Scofield, (35, at the 3) who was not in the picture at the start of the play and had a clear path. Williams, who began the play crashing on Days, has tripped over Hill and is on the ground at the 11. He evidently didn’t see Hill, who was on the ground after his cut block.
They’re not going to make it. Monroe (at the 5), Marley (at the 3) and Scofield (at the 2) come up a step or two short in their attempt to head off Zenon. Summers’ base block of cornerback Parry Nickerson keeps him from getting close to Zenon. Said Coach Paul Johnson, ‘They got out-leveraged. They ran in there so far, they got pinned.” Offensive line coach Mike Sewak’s description of the play: “The tackle (Chamberlain) got up on the playside ’backer (Marley), the guard (Braun) made contact with the two-technique (Wilson) and kind of held him in there, but (Marley and Wilson) both bled out, but they couldn’t get out there, and then the A-back (Hill) did a good job arcing and the wide receiver (Summers) did a good job basing and the safety (Scofield) was late in the alley, so it helped. And then Tony just used his speed and got in.”
Zenon’s family celebrates in the end-zone stands. Zenon grew up in New Orleans but was displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and ended up with his family in Albany. He had about 40 family members and friends at the game, many who hadn’t seen him play in person since his youth football days. They were sitting in the first few rows, from about the “T” in Tulane to where the section ends next to the Tech pep band. Zenon scored both of his touchdowns in that end zone.