Yel­low Jack­ets run all over Hok­ies

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - By Hank Kurz Jr. AP Sports Writer GE­OR­GIA TECH

To­bias Oliver’s first ca­reer start at quar­ter­back went bet­ter than even he could have ex­pected.

Ge­or­gia Tech’s backup ran for 215 yards and three touch­downs and the Yel­low Jack­ets ran all over Vir­ginia Tech for a 49-28 vic­tory on Oct. 25.

“I’m a lit­tle banged up but I feel pretty good,” Oliver said af­ter car­ry­ing the ball 40 times. “To­mor­row morn­ing I’ll feel it.”

The Yel­low Jack­ets (4-4, 2-3 ACC), play­ing with­out starter TaQuon Mar­shall, fin­ished with 465 yards — all on the ground. Jor­dan Ma­son also scored three times as Ge­or­gia Tech won its third straight against the Hok­ies and third straight in Lane Sta­dium — with­out com­plet­ing a pass.

There was no need to throw.

“He played his tail off,” coach Paul John­son said of Oliver. “He prac­ticed all week. TaQuon was cleared to play, but he only got a cou­ple of days of prac­tice.”

Vir­ginia Tech (4-3, 3-1), which led 21-14, faded af­ter its de­fense forced a punt in the sec­ond quar­ter and Sean Savoy muffed it, set­ting the Yel­low Jack­ets up for a ty­ing 12-yard touch­down drive.

“That was huge,” said Jalen John­son, who re­cov­ered the fum­ble. “The of­fense was rolling and we got the ball back.”

Hok­ies coach Justin Fuente said the play wasn’t the only is­sue, but it was a big one.

“It cer­tainly was a big play, no ques­tion, but I don’t feel it was the only play,” he said.

De­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Bud Fos­ter’s team gave up its most rush­ing yards since SMU got 500 in 1973.

“They did a great job block­ing us. It’s not just our front four. It’s our front seven, our lineback­ers. They man­han­dled us tonight when it’s all said and done.”

Ge­or­gia Tech scored the next 35 points and be­came the third team to score at least 45 against Vir­ginia Tech this sea­son. Old Do­min­ion (49) and Notre Dame (45) are the oth­ers. Vir­ginia Tech hadn’t given up at least 45 points to three teams since 1973 when Hous­ton (54), Alabama (77) and Mem­phis (49) all did it.

Vir­ginia Tech talked all week of keep­ing the Yel­low Jack­ets from dom­i­nat­ing the time of pos­ses­sion.

The Hok­ies’ first drive lasted 1:34, end­ing with Ryan Wil­lis’ 46-yard pass to Tre Turner, and their sec­ond took 58 sec­onds, end­ing with Da­mon Ha­zle­ton’s 41-yard catch.

In be­tween, the Yel­low Jack­ets went 75 yards in 12 plays and fol­lowed Vir­ginia

Tech’s sec­ond TD with an 11-play, 75-yard march to tie it at 14. Oliver kept the first drive alive with a 15-yard scram­ble, and Qua Searcy gained nine on a fourth-and-1 from the Yel­low Jack­ets’ 34 on the sec­ond drive.

The loss also cost the Hok­ies their grip on first place in the Coastal Di­vi­sion as they dropped into a tie with Vir­ginia for the lead.

The Yel­low Jack­ets had a 20:34 to 9:26 time of pos­ses­sion ad­van­tage in the first half and an over­whelm­ing 42:18-17:42 edge for the game. Vir­ginia Tech gained 323 yards but Fuente said “the valve shut off” af­ter three crisp drives to start the game.

“They got good Ge­or­gia Tech,” John­son said. “This year it’s been good Ge­or­gia Tech and bad Ge­or­gia Tech.”

Oliver (7 yards per carry com­ing in vs. Mar­shall’s 4.7) rou­tinely spun away from con­tact to gain ad­di­tional yards against the Hok­ies. But Mar­shall con­nected on 60- and 80-yard scor­ing throws to beat Vir­ginia Tech last sea­son, and Oliver’s lone at­tempt — just his 10th of the sea­son — was mis­er­ably short of his tar­get, lead­ing to their first punt, which proved the turn­ing point.

The Yel­low Jack­ets are back on the road, play­ing at North Carolina this Satur­day.

/ AP-Steve Helber

Ge­or­gia Tech quar­ter­back To­bias Oliver crosses the goal as Vir­ginia Tech line­backer Rayshard Ashby tries to stop him.

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