VT’s Thomas, GT’s Attaochu all smiles after last year’s slugging incident, ready for Labor Day matchup
He didn’t take a swing this time.
Attaochu and Thomas were all smiles eight months after last November’s game in Atlanta, a 37-26 Hokies victory that all but locked up the Coastal Division title.
In that game, Georgia Tech had Virginia Tech on the ropes in the third quarter, with Thomas about to be sacked for a loss on third down that would have forced a punt. But Thomas wouldn’t go down, staying up long enough to frustrate Attaochu to take a swing at the quarterback’s facemask.
The resulting personal foul penalty moved the chains, allowed the Hokies to eventually score a touchdown and shifted the momentum of the game.
Their message to each other Sunday? No hard feelings.
“We’re cool,” Thomas said. “He’s a cool kid, funny guy. We talked after the game when we played them last year. It’s all good.”
Thomas said Attaochu, a senior from Washington, D.C., texted him after the game, “Man, you’re a d-end playing quarterback. You’re bigger than I am. How am I supposed to take you down?”
“It was nothing personal,” said Attaochu, who said it wouldn’t happen again. “It was just competition. … We’re football players. That’s part of the job. You get small quarterbacks sometimes, but sometimes you get big quarterbacks. You’ve just got to get the job done no matter what his size is.”
“Of course there’s that extra pressure,” Thomas said. “You know you’ve got to bring your ‘A-game’ from Day 1. You know you can’t have any slip-ups. Georgia Tech is a great team, a tough team. … It’s a great test off the jump.”
The Yellow Jackets know the stiff challenge they’ll face in preparing for the 6-foot-6, 262-pound Thomas.
“There’s nothing you can do,” Attaochu said. “You might need to get Cam Newton to run your scout team.”I’ll have more notes in a little bit once I can sift through some of these quotes.