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Jackets Storm Past Western Carolina

THE FLATSDontae Smith ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns, and Georgia Tech held Western Carolina to just three points after the first quarter on Saturday night to defeat the visiting Catamounts, 35-17, at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets ran for 243 yards and scored touchdowns on five of its first nine possessions, while Tech’s defense found its footing after an early WCU spurt to cruise to the victory.

Playing on just four days’ rest after Monday’s season opener against No. 4 Clemson, Georgia Tech (1-1) trailed 14-7 less than 10 minutes into the game after WCU (1-1) scored touchdowns on each of its first two possessions. However, Tech scored the game’s next 28 points to take a commanding 35-14 lead after three quarters.

Both sides of the ball contributed to the runaway win, as Tech averaged 7.1 yards per run and 6.7 yards per play and scored 35 points on just 51 plays on offense, while limiting the Catamounts to just 17 points on 75 offensive plays and forcing four turnovers on defense. All five of the Yellow Jackets’ touchdowns came on the ground, marking the first time since 2018 that they scored had as many as five rushing touchdowns in a game. Three of the Jackets’ four takeaways came via interceptions, which also marked the first time since ’18 that they had picked off three passes in a game.

Smith led the way for the Yellow Jackets offensively with his first-career 100-yard rushing game and his 9-, 51- and 3-yard touchdown runs. His 102 yards and three touchdowns came on just 11 carries, good for a whopping 9.3 yards per rush. Wide receiver Nate McCollum added a 40-yard touchdown run on a reverse in the second quarter and Dylan McDuffie capped the Jackets’ scoring with a 2-yard blast that made it 35-14 with 3:55 to go in the third quarter.

Defensively, Myles Sims, Derrik Allen and Charlie Thomas all picked off passes for the Yellow Jackets, who matched their interception total from all of last season with their three INTs in Saturday’s rout. Thomas, who was forced to sit out of the first half due to a targeting call in Monday’s opener against Clemson, recorded eight tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack in just two quarters of play. Fellow linebacker Ayinde Eley led all players with nine tackles to go along with a sack, two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.

Western Carolina quarterback Carlos Davis threw for 233 yards but was intercepted twice and sacked three times before leaving the game due to injury in the fourth quarter.

The Yellow Jackets return to action next Saturday, Sept. 17, with a 3:30 p.m. contest against No. 22 Ole Miss at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The game will be televised on ABC.

Dontae Smith ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns — both career highs — in Georgia Tech’s 35-17 romp over Western Carolina.

 

Postgame Notes

Team

  • Georgia Tech evened its record at 1-1.
  • Western Carolina fell to 1-1.
  • Georgia Tech snapped a seven-game losing streak, dating back to a 31-28 win at Duke on Oct. 9 of last season.
  • Georgia Tech won for the ninth time in its last 10 Saturday night games at Bobby Dodd Stadium and the 10th time in its last 11 Saturday night home games (including last season’s 45-22 win over No. 21/20 North Carolina at Mercedes-Benz Stadium).
  • Georgia Tech has won at least one of its first two games of the season for 33-straight seasons.
  • Georgia Tech moved to 6-0 all-time against Western Carolina.
  • Georgia Tech’s five rushing touchdowns were its most in a game since it ran for seven touchdowns in a 49-28 win at Virginia Tech on Oct. 25, 2018.
  • Georgia Tech’s three interceptions were its most in a game since it had three in a 38-28 win at North Carolina on Nov. 3, 2018.
  • Georgia Tech’s three interceptions matched its total from the entire 2021 season.
  • After Western Carolina scored touchdowns on its first two possessions, Georgia Tech limited WCU to three points over the Catamounts’ final 11 possessions of the game.
  • Georgia Tech dominated field position throughout the game, as 10 of its 12 possessions started beyond its 25-yard line, while 11 of Western Carolina’s 13 possessions started at its 25-yard line or inside.

Individual Notes

  • Georgia Tech r-Jr. RB Dontae Smith set career highs and recorded his first 100-yard rushing game with 102 rushing yards (prev.: 82 vs. Kennesaw State – Sept. 11, 2021) and three rushing touchdowns (prev.: 2 vs. Duke – Nov. 28, 2020).
  • Georgia Tech So. WR Nate McCollum scored the first rushing touchdown of his career on only his fourth-career carry, a 40-yard score on a reverse in the second quarter.
  • McCollum’s 47 rushing yards were a career high (prev.: 7 vs. Duke – Nov. 28, 2020).
  • Georgia Tech r-Jr. RB Dylan McDuffie’s 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was his first at Georgia Tech. He scored 12 touchdowns (11 rushing, one receiving) in three seasons at Buffalo before transferring to Georgia Tech prior to this season.
  • Georgia Tech r-Jr. DB Derrik Allen and r-Jr. DB Myles Sims both had the first interceptions of their careers in the second quarter.
  • Georgia Tech Sr. LB Charlie Thomas’ fourth-quarter interception was the third of his career. The previous two both came in last season’s 45-17 win over Kennesaw State (Sept. 11, 2021).
Derrick Allen had the first of Georgia Tech’s three interceptions in Saturday’s 35-17 win over Western Carolina.

 

Multimedia

Coach Collins Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Coach Collins Postgame Press Conference (Audio)

Offensive Student-Athletes Postgame Press Conference (Smith, Williams)

Defensive Student-Athletes Postgame Press Conference (Sims, Thomas)

Game Highlights (ACC Digital Network)

Condensed Game (ACC Digital Network)

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