Sept. 3, 2015
THE FLATS – Seven different players scored a touchdown, including four with the first of their careers, as No. 16 Georgia Tech’s offense lit up the Atlanta skyline with a 69-6 win Thursday night over Alcorn State.
Freshman B-back Marcus Marshall rushed for 184 yards with two scores and graduate transfer Patrick Skov tallied a career-high 72 rushing yards and a career-best three rushing touchdowns. Marshall became the first Georgia Tech true freshman running back to score a touchdown since Embry Peeples in 2008 vs. Mississippi State.
For Skov, he nearly tripled his career rushing output in one night. Prior to his Georgia Tech debut, the Stanford transfer had 25 career rushing yards and four touchdowns on 14 carries in three seasons.
Justin Thomas played only the first quarter for No. 16 Georgia Tech in a season-opening blowout, allowing a couple of newcomers to grab the spotlight.
Georgia Tech scored on its first seven possessions, barely breaking a sweat against the Football Championship Subdivision school from Mississippi. The Yellow Jackets led 34-0 at the end of the first quarter, their most points in an opening period since at least 1950. The officials were already letting the clock run in the second quarter, looking to make things a little easier on the Braves.
It didn’t help much. Georgia Tech led 48-0 at halftime and never let up.
Coming off an 11-win season and a victory in the Orange Bowl, Georgia Tech began another season of high expectations with a walkover that won’t provide much of a barometer on the tougher games to come.
Thomas, the team’s star quarterback, ran for one score and passed for another before heading to the bench to watch the final three quarters.
“We did what we set out to do,” he said. “We started out fast. That’s what we expect.”
The Yellow Jackets dominated this one right from the start, finishing with 476 yards rushing. They led the nation in that category a year ago out of their lethal triple-option offense.
Marshall, the younger brother of Georgia running back Keith Marshall, scored on a 49-yard run with his first handoff and followed with a 64-yarder late in the third quarter. Both plays were nearly identical, the newcomer from Raleigh, N.C., taking a handoff over center and racing untouched down the middle of the field, no one close to him.
“It was kind of crazy,” Marshall said. “I was excited when I saw it open like that.”
His brother was pumped up, too. Keith tweeted, “1st carry Touchdown !!!!!!!! Turnup.”
Otherwise, the freshman made quite a first impression.
“He’s got ability,” Johnson said. “He’s got good feet. He’s got good speed.”
Skov, who transferred to the Atlanta school after graduating from Stanford, scored on runs of 3, 21 and 4 yards taking over as the starting B-back, a fullback-like role but more of a runner than a blocker in the Yellow Jackets’ scheme.
He finished with 72 yards on a dozen carries – more than he had his entire career with the Cardinal.
“It’s a new role,” Skov said. “After four years as a traditional fullback, I’d say this is a unique opportunity.”
Georgia Tech needed only five plays to jump ahead on their opening possession, continuing a trend from last season when they scored in 10 of 14 games the first time they had the ball. Thomas rolled to his right, looking to throw, then sprinted back to the opposite corner for a 13-yard touchdown, managing to touch the ball to the orange pylon just before he stepped out of bounds.
Thomas also had a 19-yard scoring pass to Micheal Summers.
Alcorn State, which won 10 games a year ago and its first Southwestern Athletic Conference title since 1993, missed a field goal on the final play of the first half. But the Braves went 75 yards on the opening possession of the second half – nearly doubling their offensive output – and scored on Arron Baker’s 1-yard run.
That was it. The Braves were doubled up in total yards, 553-272.
“Give Georgia Tech all the credit,” Alcorn State coach Jay Hopson said. “They’re an outstanding team and they proved why they’re the Orange Bowl champion and a playoff-contending team.”
About the only negative news for Georgia Tech was an ankle injury that knocked third-string B-back Marcus Allen out of the game in the first half. He was able to walk gingerly off the field, but there was no need to return in this one.
Marshall and Skov were more than enough.
POSTGAME RADIO INTERVIEWS
Georgia Tech hosts the Tulane Green Wave on Saturday, Sept. 12, for a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff on FOX Sports South. Fans can purchase single-game tickets in person at the Georgia Tech Ticket Office (M-F 9 a.m.-5 p.m.), by phone at 888-TECH-TIX, or online at togetherweswarm.com.
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