ATLANTA - Bill O'Brien's debut as Georgia Tech's offensive coordinator was not marked by suspect play-calling so much as turnovers.
The Yellow Jackets, who were second in the nation in turnover margin through the regular season, had six turnovers after committing just 12 in 11 regular-season games.
"I don't think I've seen a college football game in 22 years where a team turned the ball over six times and won," said Tech offensive lineman Brent Key.
Two of them were fumbles on the snap from center David Schmidgall to quarterback George Godsey. One of those set up LSU's opening field goal, and another killed a Tech scoring threat at the Tiger 26.
The Yellow Jackets had another on the option play in the second quarter, but O'Brien said the fumbles made him hesitant to call the option.
"I was real concerned about the option," O'Brien said. "We hadn't fumbled that ball all week in practice. I don't know what happened."
Tech, which scored 90 points off turnovers during the regular season, surrendered six off giveaways Friday.
"We were with our backs to the end zone the whole second half," Tech coach George O'Leary said. "You can't put a defense in that many bad situations and expect to win."
Otherwise disappointed, O'Leary said he felt good about how O'Brien handled the game.
"Players make plays," O'Leary said. "I thought for his first time out, Billy did a good job. He had people in a position to make plays. We just didn't make them."
Godsey finished the night with 177 passing yards, completing 19 of 36 throws, and left the game with 1:34 left after injuring his right knee.
O'Leary called it a sprain, and Godsey, who lost 19 yards on three sacks, will be evaluated today.
Joe Burns rolled his left ankle on a carry early in the second quarter and had to leave the game. It was the same ankle he broke early in the 1999 season. He had it retaped and reentered the game after missing one series. Before the injury, Burns had 72 yards on eight carries. He managed 28 yards on nine carries afterward.
One of LSU's keys for the game was being able to run the ball effectively. In the first half, the Tigers did not. They managed 7 yards rushing in the first half, largely because quarterback Josh Booty was sacked four times, losing 23 yards. LSU finished the game with 90 yards, 41 below their regular-season average.
A BEAD ON REED:
LSU receiver Josh Reid, a converted running back, hauled in nine catches, tying an LSU bowl record. The previous mark of nine jointly was held by Andy Hamilton (1971 Orange Bowl) and Wendell Davis (1987 Gator Bowl).
After fans two years ago took delight in tossing Chick-Fil-A stuffed cows from the upper deck, the bowl sponsor opted not to provide one for every seat. Instead, there was a mini-blimp, ridden by a giant inflated cow, dropping parachuting bean-bag cows into the stands.
THIS AND THAT:
Tech's national-best bowl record fell to 19-10 with the loss ... The Jackets held LSU to minus-21 yards rushing in the second quarter, including one stretch of eight straight plays for negative yardage ... The attendance of 73,614 marked the fourth straight year the Peach set a new attendance record. Last year's game between Mississippi State and Clemson drew 73,315 ... Tech did not allow a first-half touchdown for the fourth straight game.
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