Yellow Jackets run away from JSU in home opener

Written by Brian Pohl
Atlanta, GA- The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets looked to rebound from last week’s heartbreaking loss to Tennessee, as they faced the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. The Yellow Jackets, came in playing on a short week, were presented with another challenge early in the season, as the Jacksonville State Gamecocks are ranked 5th in the FCS. Tech was able to blow away their opponents, however things didn’t start that way.

The first half was a slow start by the Jackets, which may have been caused by the short week. Neither team was able to move the ball much to start the game, although new starting quarterback for GT this season Junior TaQuon Marshall was able to break off a nice run on the first play of the game. The Jackets were able to strike first with 5:37 left in the first quarter, as Shawn Davis was able to redeem his 2 missed field goals versus Tennessee with a 34 yarder to make the score 3-0.

The second quarter was again started slow by the Jackets, but they were able to score on a nice 27-yard pass right before half-time from TaQuon Marshall to Ricky Jeune, who would both be set for big second halves. Overall though in the first half, the Jackets were held to just 140 yards of total offense, as the JSU defense held the triple-option GT attack in check. Qua Searcy led the team in rushing in the first half with 27 yards on 3 rushes.

Defensively the Jackets held the Gamecocks to only 144 first-half yards. A long 14 play, 75-yard drive by the Gamecocks resulted in a touchdown that made the score 7-3 JSU. The drive lasted 8 minutes and 11 seconds and ended on a 5-yard touchdown pass. Before the half, the Jackets were able to regain momentum on an interception by Lawrence Austin. The interception lead to the Ricky Jeune touchdown, and the Yellow Jackets were able to take a 10-7 lead into half-time

The second-half was dominated by Georgia Tech. It started almost immediately as JSU quarterback Bryan Horn threw his second interception of the game to Step Durham, giving the Jackets great field position in the red zone. TaQuon Marshall would connect for their second touchdown of the game, giving them a 17-7 lead. On the first play of their second drive, JSU would fumble, and the recovery by A Gray would again set up the Jackets in great field position.

Georgia Tech would again take advantage of this field position, as they were able to score on another touchdown pass from TaQuon Marshall, who connected with JJ Green on a 10-yard touchdown pass. This was Marshall’s third touchdown pass of the game, a feat that hadn’t happened at Georgia Tech since 2014 when then quarterback Justin Thomas threw 3 touchdowns against UVA.

The Jackets would score one more time in the third quarter, as freshman Jerry Howard would get his first 2 career carries, with the second one going 65 yards for a touchdown to make the game 30-7. TaQuon Marshall’s day would end in the fourth quarter after scoring from the 1-yard line on a quarterback sneak, bringing the final score to 37-10.

Overall this was an impressive day by the Yellow Jackets. A slow start in the first half had many around Bobby Dodd Stadium feeling nervous, but a momentum-stealing interception leading to a touchdown to close out the first half with the lead was all Georgia Tech would need to seize control and never let go. TaQuon Marshall, who was the standout for Georgia Tech against Tennessee, has continued to look impressive. He finished the day 5-7 passing for 112 yards and 3 touchdowns and 1 rushing touchdown. Through the first two weeks, the Yellow Jackets are 1-1 but have shown that they have what it takes to compete for the ACC Coastal Division, and no one should take them lightly.

Next, the Yellow Jackets will be on the road at UCF in Orlando to take on the Knights. Kickoff is set for 7:30 pm Saturday, September 16th from Spectrum Stadium.

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