Tennessee received the opening kickoff and Evan Berry got a great run back to setup the Vols’ 1st and 10 at their own 40-yard line. However, after picking up a quick 1st down, a pass breakup from Tech MLB, Brant Mitchell, on 3rd down would end the drive right in its tracks.
Tech’s first drive of the game started on the 18-yard line. Their drive ended quickly after 3 straight running plays failed to pick up a first down and they had to punt. This trend would continue with 5 straight punts combined by both teams before we would see more than 50 yards of offense.
Then on Georgia Tech’s 3rd possession, TaQuan Marshall would lead the Jackets on a methodical 12 play 86 yard drive that ate 6:51 off the clock and was capped off by a 1 yard Marshall TD run.
The ensuing kickoff was returned 51 yards for the Vols’ by Evan Berry to setup Tennessee with great field position. However, they were unable to do anything with the field position and were forced into their fourth straight punt.
Tennessee’s defense then came up with a big time turnover the ensuing possession as Daniel Bituli forced a fumble. The Vols’ would recover and immediately get to work starting from the Tech 46 yard line. It took just 5 plays to get inside the 15-yard line. Then on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line, the Vols’ were able to punch it in on a 1 yard TD dive from John Kelly.
Georgia Tech then got their turn again. This time they once again milked and milked away the clock as they drove 75 yards down field in 16 plays that took 7 minutes before KirVonte Benson took a 1-yard rush into the endzone to make it 14-7 with 1:11 left in the half.
Tennessee was unable to do anything on their next drive after getting to midfield. This would send the teams into the half with Georgia Tech on top 14-7.