April 18, 2009
ATLANTA – Redshirt freshman quarterback Tevin Washington ran for two touchdowns, threw for another and the Gold team held off a late rally by the White team for a 31-28 victory in the Georgia Tech’s annual Spring Football Game here Saturday afternoon.
Shaw scored three touchdowns and produced 263 yards of total offense for the White, which scored two touchdowns in the final 3:30 to make things interesting down the stretch. Washington finished with 43 yards rushing and was 7-of-10 passing for 167 yards.
“The best news is that no one got hurt,” head coach Paul Johnson said. “We put the ball on the ground today, but we are way ahead of where we were at this time last year.”
The two teams combined for eight fumbles. Both teams also produced more than 400 yards of total offense.
The Gold team led 17-14 at halftime and took a comfortable 31-14 lead after Washington connected with Paul Reese on a 31-yard touchdown pass and sophomore Embry Peeples later rambled 60 yards for another touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
The White team rallied late in the fourth when Shaw scored on a two-yard run and sophomore Preston Lyons, a transfer from Colgate, scored on a one-yard plunge with 1:25 remaining.
“Some of the older guys like (Jonathan) Dwyer and (Demaryius) Thomas didn’t play a lot today. We wanted to give some of the younger guys an opportunity,” Johnson said.
Shaw fumbled on the first play of the game when he was hit hard by senior linebacker Sedric Griffin and the ball was recovered by sophomore Jason Peters. The Gold team took advantage of field position and scored the game’s first touchdown on a 13-yard run by Washington.
After a Gold field goal by redshirt freshman Chris Tanner, White pulled to within 10-7 when Shaw scored the first of his three touchdowns on a four-yard run late in the first quarter.
Gold took a 17-7 lead when Washington scored his second touchdown of the half on a five-yard carry. Shaw responded with another rushing touchdown, this one from one yard out, to make it 17-14 at halftime.
Peeples and junior transfer Anthony Allen, both of the Gold team, led all rushers with 69 yards each. Peeples did his damage on just two carries and he added a 63-yard pass reception from Washington. Shaw rushed for 65 yards on a game-high 25 carries and redshirt freshman B-back Richard Watson carried 11 times for 51 yards.
Thomas, who played for the White, led all receivers with four receptions (55 yards) and sophomore Roddy Jones, also on the White, had three receptions for 72 yards.
In total, Georgia Tech quarterbacks were 20-of-34 passing for 369 yards and no interceptions.
While Johnson was pleased with the performance and effort, he remains concerned about the kicking game. Returning kicker/punter Scott Blair (0-for-3) and Tanner (1-of-2) were a combined 1-of-5 in field goals.
Many of Georgia Tech’s 14 redshirt freshmen enjoyed solid performances Saturday. Defensive back Jon Lockhart tied for a game-high with 10 tackles, and defensive tackle T.J. Barnes had eight tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble,
Of Georgia Tech’s 17 returning starters, Nesbitt, senior offensive lineman Cord Howard and junior A-back Lucas Cox did not play because of injuries. Sophomore safety Cooper Taylor also sat out because of injury.
With Nesbitt sitting out as a precaution, the Yellow Jackets had just two scholarship quarterbacks at their disposal, sophomore Jaybo Shaw and redshirt freshman Tevin Washington. Walk-on Jim Henry, Tech’s only remaining QB, saw considerable action.
Georgia Tech opens the 2009 season Sept. 5 against Jacksonville State at Bobby Dodd Stadium.