Defensive stand in double OT seals Tenn win over Ga Tech

Written by Manuel DeLeon
Atlanta, GA – What if I told you Rocky Top landed in Atlanta? In front of a raucous crowd, Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers were able to put away the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in double overtime, 42-41.

Defense was the name of the game early on in the first quarter as both team could only manage a total of 30 yards on the first five drives of the game. The game started to open up when Georgia Tech QB TaQuon Marshall drove the Yellow Jackets 86 yards down the field in 12 plays and he himself punched it in on 3rd and Goal from the one giving the Jackets a 7-0 lead.

Tennessee trying to find some kind of rhythm early on, found the end zone midway through the 2nd quarter behind the strong running of John Kelly, tying the game at 7. Kelly turned in a monster night and is a main reason for the Vols victory. He would finish the game with 130 yards and 4 touchdowns on 19 carries. The tie would be short lived though, and the Yellow Jackets went into halftime leading 14-7 after a one yard KirVonte Benson touchdown run capped a 75 yard drive.

The “Ramblin’ Wreck” kept rolling in the second half. Opening the third quarter, using a combination of Marshall and Benson, Georgia Tech bullied Tennessee on their way to another Marshall touchdown to put the Yellow Jackets up 21-7.

Down by two touchdowns late in the 3rd quarter, Quinten Dormandy and the Tennessee offense finally got rolling. With only 42 seconds left, Dormandy lofted a beautiful ball to the end zone to receiver Marquez Callaway to cut the Yellow Jacket lead to 21-14.

Neither team had an answer for the others offense, as Georgia Tech would open the 4th quarter and go back up by two touchdowns. It didn’t take long for the Vols to strike back, 1 minute and 19 seconds to be exact. Taking the snap Dormandy would find a streaking Callaway once again for the touchdown, this time came from 50 yards out making the score 28-21.

Then the fireworks begin.

With only 8 minutes left Georgia Tech looked to put the Vols away for good. I’m saying, this is the team that had Florida State fans all over livid.

Trying to milk as much time off the clock, the Jackets continued running the ball with Marshall. After a 26 yard run by the Junior put Georgia Tech in Tennessee territory, the Vols would catch a break. Handing the ball to JJ Green, the Jackets were sure to put it away until DB Rashaan Gaulden jarred the ball loose giving the Vols new life after DB Micah Abernathy pounced on the fumble.

With only 4 minutes left Tennessee turned in its best drive of the night. Giving life to the Tennessee faithful, Dormandy once again found Callaway for a 40 yard strike. Now at the Jacket 27 yard line, Tennessee turned to their bruising back John Kelly to do the rest who scored the tying touchdown from 11 yards out knotting the game up at 28 apiece.

Still with a chance to win, Georgia Tech, with only a minute and a half drive down the field to set up for the winning field goal with 3 seconds remaining in the game. The 36 yard attempt would be blocked by walk on DL Paul Bain, sending the game to overtime.

In the overtime session Georgia Tech got the first crack at the win after another 1 yard Marshall touchdown put GT up 35-28. Tennessee’s John Kelly, not to be out done, burst up the middle for 18 yards putting the Vols in position to tie the game and they did just that after a Kelly 1 yard touchdown scored sending the game to double.

Tennessee got the ball first in the second OT and Dormandy wasted no time finding Callaway for 15 yards putting the Vols at the 2 yard line. Kelly did the rest scoring from two yards out putting Tennessee up 42-35.

With one final chance,  Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall willed his team into the end zone making the score 41-42. Sensing a back and forth game that could have went on forever, GT head coach Paul Johnson opted to go for the two point conversion and the win. GT would fall just short of the goal line and just short of the victory falling to the Vols 42-41.

TaQuon Marshall ran the ball 44 times for 258 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Vols. Coach Johnson had nothing but praise for his quarterback “He played his tail off. I thought he played tremendously.”

Though coming out on the short end, Georgia Tech showed the ability to move the ball finishing with 655 yards of total offense, 535 of those came on the ground as the triple option gave Tennessee fits all night.

“I think there were some positive that we can build on in the game. Our young guys on offense, I thought, went out and played pretty well.”said Johnson.

Georgia Tech looks to get back on track next week when Jacksonville State comes to town September 9th.

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