ATLANTA - A three-touchdown victory is satisfying enough for most college football teams.
But Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson was expecting a higher level of intensity than what the Yellow Jackets displayed in Saturday's season-opening 37-17 win over Jacksonville State at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
And he wants his team to expect the same, which was a theme he often came back to in his postgame press conference.
"I guess it's much better to start the season 1-0 than 0-1 for sure," Johnson said. "It was a little more ragged than I would've liked.
"I'm trying to raise the level of expectation of our football team. ... We didn't play the way that I think we need to play if we want to get where we want to get to. I'm not going to let up. I'm not going to accept that effort we gave (Saturday). ... I want to see some intensity and some fire and some fight. We're just not nasty enough. We're too nice."
The intensity was compounded by several mistakes. Fumbles were still a problem, with five more - three lost - on Saturday, and there were several other dropped passes and drops on potential interceptions that perhaps kept the score from being even more lopsided.
That doesn't mean that Johnson and the Jackets (1-0) found nothing redeeming in Saturday's win.
The offense piled up 497 total yards - including 95 yards on just seven carries from Jonathan Dwyer, who did not play after Tech took a 31-7 into halftime, and 94 yards from Josh Nesbitt, plus a strong passing day from Nesbitt, who completed 6 of 11 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown, four of which went to Demaryius Thomas for 101 yards.
It took Tech and Dwyer just one snap - and 12 seconds - to get things rolling.
The preseason ACC Offensive Player of the Year took a pitch from Nesbitt, dashed around a block to the right corner and sprinted 74 yards for a touchdown that put Tech up 7-0.
"It was just a wide open play," Dwyer said. "It was designed to get the ball to the edge. Bay Bay (Thomas) made a good block and the A-backs made good blocks. Josh made a big read and gave me the ball and let me make a play."
While the play delighted the Tech partisans among the crowd of 46,141, but Johnson believes it may have given the Jackets a little overconfidence.
"In hindsight, scoring on the first play of the game might have been not as good as you would think," Johnson said. "The good thing is we won the game. We've got a lot to learn from this."
Initially, it looked like Tech would keep up its intensity.
Dominique Reese and A.T. Barnes forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, which freshman Jemea Thomas fell on to give the Jackets possession at the Jacksonville State 23.
The drive stalled on the JSU 3 after an initial first down, but Scott Blair converted a 20-yard field goal to increase the Tech lead to 10-0 with just 2:55 into the game.
There were other moments of intensity in the first half, like after Jacksonville State (0-1) scored with a little razzle dazzle with Tech leading 17-0 midway though the second quarter.
Brooks Robinson lined up under center and fired a lateral to starting quarterback Marques Ivory, who threw back to the left side to Robinson for a 20-yard scoring pass to pull the Gamecocks to within 17-7 with 8:27 left in the first half.
But Nesbitt answered by hooking up with Thomas for a 56-yard strike on the first snap of Tech's next possession, setting up his own 10-yard touchdown three plays later, giving Tech its 17-point lead back at 24-7 just 1:24 later at the 6:54 mark.
Jerrard Tarrant then electrified the crowd by returning a Jacksonville State punt 68 yards for a score with 55 seconds left, stretching the Jackets' lead to 31-7 heading into intermission.
But Johnson believes Tech's intensity was more lacking in the second half, especially after Jacksonville State found the end zone with 45 seconds left.
And it is something he says the Jackets had better improve on, especially with Clemson coming to Bobby Dodd Stadium for the ACC opener for both teams in just four days.
"We'll have to be 100 times better on Thursday night or we'll get run right out of our own stadium," Johnson said.
"Historically, you make your most improvement from the first game to the second game. Hopefully, we will."