Mar­shall, Jack­ets pin tough loss on Hok­ies

The Washington Post Sunday - - COLLEGE FOOTBALL - BY PAUL NEW­BERRY

at­lanta — TaQuon Mar­shall threw a pair of long scor­ing passes, in­clud­ing an 80-yarder to Ricky Je­une with 61/2 min­utes re­main­ing, and Ajani Kerr swat­ted away a fourth-down pass in the end zone to pre­serve Ge­or­gia Tech’s 28-22 up­set of No. 17 Vir­ginia Tech on Satur­day.

It looked as if Ge­or­gia Tech (5-4, 4-3 ACC) was head­ing for de­feat when Vir­ginia Tech ral­lied from a 21-9 deficit in the sec­ond half.

The Hok­ies (7-3, 3-3) went ahead 22-21 when Greg Stro­man re­turned an in­ter­cep­tion 24 yards for a touch­down off a ter­ri­ble pass by Mar­shall with 7:27 left.

But the Ge­or­gia Tech quar­ter­back made up for his mis­take just two snaps later, af­ter the Yel­low Jack­ets fum­bled the kick­off but man­aged to re­cover af­ter a wild scram­ble. Je­une got loose be­hind the sec­ondary, hauled in the long throw and just man­aged to stick the ball in­side the py­lon be­fore tum­bling out of bounds.

It was the long­est touch­down pass of the sea­son for the Yel­low Jack­ets, sur­pass­ing Mar­shall’s 60-yard scor­ing play to Brad Ste­wart early in the sec­ond half. The quar­ter­back fin­ished 2-for-8 pass­ing out of the triple-op­tion.

Mar­shall also had a pair of short touch­down runs.

On its fi­nal pos­ses­sion, Vir­ginia Tech con­verted a pair of fourth-down plays and faced third and one at the Ge­or­gia Tech 32 with plenty of time to deal the home team an­other tough loss.

But Vir­ginia Tech Coach Justin Fuente called a pair of passes rather than run­ning for the first down. Both were in­com­plete, in­clud­ing a deep pass down the mid­dle for Cam Phillips that Kerr knocked away.

“We got the best matchup we could pos­si­bly get,” Fuente said. “That was as good a look as we were go­ing to get.”

The Yel­low Jack­ets rushed for 261 yards, led by KirVonte Ben­son with 86 yards on 22 car­ries. Nathan Cot­trell had a 69-yard run, set­ting up Ge­or­gia Tech’s first touch­down, a three-yard run by Mar­shall. The quar­ter­back also punched it over from the 1.

Ge­or­gia Tech ap­peared to be driving for a clinch­ing touch­down late in the third quar­ter. But a chop-block penalty against cen­ter Kenny Cooper knocked the Yel­low Jack­ets back 15 yards, and Bren­ton King missed a 43yard field goal at­tempt.

The Hok­ies took ad­van­tage — with a big help­ing hand from Ge­or­gia Tech.

On third and 14, Josh Jack­son threw a pass into heavy cov­er­age. A.J. Gray and La­mont Sim­mons both had a shot at pick­ing it off but wound up tip­ping the ball to Eric Kumah for a 26-yard com­ple­tion.

Jalen Hol­ston’s eight-yard touch­down run on the fi­nal play of the third quar­ter brought the Hok­ies within 21-16.

Trail­ing 7-3 in the sec­ond quar­ter, the Vir­ginia Tech de­cided to go for it on fourth and two at the 8. Backup quar­ter­back AJ Bush at­tempted to run right, spun back to the left and was thrown for a three-yard loss.

Later in the pe­riod, af­ter Sean Savoy scored on a 14-yard run to pull the Hok­ies within 14-9, Fuente de­cided to go for a two-point con­ver­sion. Again, Vir­ginia Tech was stopped, leav­ing Ge­or­gia Tech with a 14-9 half­time lead.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.