Sept. 5, 2017
ATLANTA (AP) – No. 25 Tennessee rallied from a pair of 14-point deficits in the second half and stopped a 2-point conversion in the second overtime, stunning Georgia Tech 42-41 despite giving up five rushing touchdowns to TaQuon Marshall and getting thoroughly dominated statistically Monday night.
Bolstering the outlook for embattled coach Butch Jones, the Volunteers pulled off a remarkable season-opening victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a game they seemed to have no business winning.
John Kelly scored the tying touchdown in regulation on an 11-yard run with 1:29 remaining, and then added two more TD runs in overtime. Marshall, in a remarkable performance in his first college start, matched Kelly’s scores with a pair of his own, finishing the game with 249 yards rushing and a school record for rushing TDs.
After Marshall got to the end zone on a 13-yard run in the second overtime, Georgia Tech decided to go for the win right there rather than a tying PAT and a potential third overtime. But Marshall was stuffed as he tried to cut inside, and a desperation pitch was ruled an incomplete pass, ending the game.
Georgia Tech rushed for 535 yards, finished with 655 yards overall and held the ball for 41 minutes, 27 seconds during regulation. Tennessee was held to 369 yards and ran just 59 plays, compared to 96 by the Yellow Jackets.
But Tennessee came up with two crucial turnovers, most notably J.J. Green‘s fumble when the Yellow Jackets appeared to be driving for a clinching score. Georgia Tech also missed two field goals.
Green was hit from behind by Rashaan Gaulden at the Tennessee 25, the ball rolled forward and Micah Abernathy fell on it for the Vols at the 7 with 4:50 remaining. Tennessee drove nearly the length of the field for the tying score.
New Vols quarterback Quinten Dormady hooked up with Marquez Callaway on a 40-yard reception and Kelly finished off the drive. The running back finished with 128 yard on the ground.
Callaway, stepping up big when top receiver Jauan Jennings went out with an injury in the first half, also had a pair of touchdown catches and finished with four receptions for 115 yards.
Georgia Tech still had a chance to win in regulation, driving into position for walk-on Shawn Davis‘ 36-yard field goal attempt on the final play. But the kick was low, Paul Bain got a hand on it and the game went to OT.
Tennessee went ahead for the first time all night on its final touchdown and PAT.
It was all the Volunteers needed.
- Georgia Tech suffered its first season-opening loss since 2012 (a 20-17 overtime loss on Labor Day evening at Virginia Tech).
- The loss was Georgia Tech’s second in 10 season openers under head coach Paul Johnson.
- The loss snapped Georgia Tech’s four-game overall winning streak and three-game winning streak versus Southeastern Conference opponents.
- Georgia Tech dropped to 5-2 in its last seven games versus SEC opponents.
- Georgia Tech has scored 28 or more points in five-consecutive games, marking the 10th time since 1904 that the Yellow Jackets have accomplished the feat. Of the 10 times that Georgia Tech has scored 28 points or more in five-straight games over the last 114 seasons, five have occurred since Johnson became the Jackets’ head coach in 2008.
- With an attendance of 75,107, the Yellow Jackets played in front of their largest crowd in a season opener since 2007 (at Notre Dame — 80,795).
- The overtime game was the Yellow Jackets’ first since a 30-24 OT win at Georgia on Nov. 29, 2014.
- The Jackets played multiple overtime periods for the first time since a 41-34 double-OT loss to Georgia on Nov. 30, 2013.
- Georgia Tech falls to 54-11 overall and 9-5 vs. ranked teams when scoring 30 points or more under head coach Paul Johnson.
- In his first-career start, Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall set a school record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 249 (prev. 199 – Eddie Prokop vs. Tulsa, 1944 Sugar Bowl).
- Marshall also set school records (regardless of position) with five rushing touchdowns (prev.: 4 – accomplished five times, most recently by Tevin Washington vs. Middle Tennessee, Sept. 29, 2012) and 44 carries (prev.: 39 – Robert Lavette vs. Tennessee, Oct. 23, 1982 and Jerry Mays vs. Georgia, Dec. 2, 1989).
- Marshall’s 249 rushing yards were the third-most in school history, regardless of position (behind only 356 by Eddie Lee Ivery vs. Air Force – Nov. 11, 1978 and 307 by P.J. Daniels vs. Tulsa, Humanitarian Bowl – Jan. 4, 2004).
- Marshall’s 249 rushing yards were an Atlantic Coast Conference record for a quarterback (prev.: 226 – Louisville’s Lamar Jackson vs. Texas A&M, Music City Bowl – Dec. 30, 2015).
- Marshall became the second-straight Georgia Tech quarterback to rush for 100 yards in his first-career start (Matthew Jordan rushed for 121 yards on 32 carries in his first-career start at Virginia Tech on Nov. 12, 2016).
- Sophomore B-back KirVonte Benson (124 yards on 26 carries) became the first Georgia Tech running back to rush for 100 yards in his first-career start since Marcus Marshall versus Pitt on Oct. 17, 2015 (159 yards on 10 carries).
- Georgia Tech had two 100-yard rushers for the second time in its last five games (M. Marshall – 143 and Jordan – 121 at Virginia Tech, Nov. 12, 2016).
- Six Yellow Jackets made their first-career starts: Marshall, Benson, So. AB Nathan Cottrell, Jr. RT Jake Stickler, Jr. DT Desmond Branch and Jr. DE Anree Saint-Amour.
- Six Yellow Jackets appeared in their first collegiate games: true-Fr. P Pressley Harvin III, true-Fr. LB Jaquan Henderson, true-Fr. LB Bruce Jordan-Swilling, r-Fr. DB Ajani Kerr, Jr. HOL Chase Martenson and true-Fr. LB T.D. Roof.
Postgame Press Conference – Paul Johnson (Audio)
Video Highlights: Georgia Tech vs. No. 25/24 Tennessee (ACCDN)