THE FLATS — Georgia Tech forced three turnovers and blocked a punt but only converted Pitt’s miscues into 10 points while also committing a costly turnover of its own in a 20-10 loss to the Panthers on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Georgia Tech only scored seven points off its three takeaways in the first half but, early in the second half, added a field goal following Jerry Howard Jr.’s second blocked punt in three games early in the second half and to cut a 17-7 halftime deficit to 17-10.
Following a Pitt punt, Georgia Tech put together its longest offensive drive of the game, moving 68 yards in 10 plays. The Yellow Jackets appeared to be on their way to knotting the score at 17-apiece when quarterback Lucas Johnson lunged toward the goal line at the end of a 3-yard run on third-and-goal. Just inches short of the goal line, Pitt’s Kylan Johnson forced Johnson to cough up the ball, and it was recovered by Pitt’s Cam Bright. Bright returned it 79 yards to the Yellow Jackets’ 21-yard line, setting up a field goal that turned what could’ve been a 17-17 ballgame into a 20-10 Georgia Tech deficit early in the fourth quarter.
Georgia Tech’s three takeaways came on first-quarter interceptions by safeties Juanyeh Thomas and Tariq Carpenter and a second-quarter fumble that was forced by linebacker David Curry. The INTs were Thomas’ and Carpenter’s first of the season and the forced fumble was the first of Curry’s career.
In addition to being Howard Jr.’s second blocked punt in three games, the third-quarter block also marked the third-straight game that Georgia Tech has blocked a kick (Antwan Owens blocked Miami’s would-be game-winning field goal at the end of regulation in the Jackets’ 28-21 overtime win on Oct. 19).
Offensively, freshman wide receiver Ahmarean Brown set a career high with four receptions, including a 51-yard touchdown catch from redshirt freshman quarterback James Graham. Brown’s touchdown reception was his fourth of the year, the most by a Georgia Tech freshman since Demaryius Thomas had four as a redshirt freshman in 2007 and the most by a true freshman at Tech since Calvin Johnson had seven in 2004.
Georgia Tech returns to action next Saturday at Virginia. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ACC RSN (Fox Sports South in Atlanta).
Juanyeh Thomas had eight tackles and two tackles for loss to go along with his first interception of the season.
- Georgia Tech’s punt block to set up a third-quarter field goal was its third blocked kick of the season, all of which have come in the last three games (blocked punt at Duke, Oct. 12; blocked field goal at Miami, Oct. 19; blocked punt vs. Pitt, Saturday).
- Georgia Tech’s three blocked kicks are its most in a season since it blocked four kicks in 2016.
- Georgia Tech matched a season-high with 3 takeaways, all in the first half (prev.: 3 vs. Clemson, Aug. 29).
- Georgia Tech Fr. WR Ahmarean Brown’s 51-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter was his fourth touchdown catch of the season, which are the most touchdown receptions by a Georgia Tech freshman since Demaryius Thomas caught four touchdowns as a redshirt freshman in 2007 and the most by a true freshman at GT since Calvin Johnson had seven in 2004.
- The 51-yard touchdown catch was the longest reception of Brown’s career (prev.: 42 at Temple, Sept. 28).
- Georgia Tech r-Fr. QB James Graham’s touchdown passes give him 6 for the season, which are the most TD passes by a Georgia Tech freshman since Reggie Ball threw for 10 touchdowns as a true freshman in 2003.
- The 51-yard touchdown pass to Brown was the longest pass of Graham’s career (prev.: 40 at Duke, Oct. 12).
- Georgia Tech Jr. RB Jerry Howard Jr.’s punt block in the third quarter was his second of the season. Howard Jr. is the first Yellow Jacket with multiple blocked kicks in a season since Chris Milton also blocked two kicks in 2015.
- DB Juanyeh Thomas’ first-quarter interception was his first of the season and second of his career (prev.: at Louisville, Oct. 5, 2018).
- Thomas’ two tackles for loss were the first two TFL of his career.
- Thomas’ eight total tackles were a career high (prev.: 6, twice, last at Miami, Oct. 19).
- DB Tariq Carpenter’s first-quarter interception was his first of the season and third of his career (last: at North Carolina, Nov. 3, 2018).
- LB David Curry’s forced fumble in the second quarter was the first of his career.
Ahmarean Brown’s four touchdown receptions this season are the most by a Georgia Tech freshman since Demaryius Thomas in 2007 and the most by a true freshman at Tech since Calvin Johnson in 2004.
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Georgia Tech Head Coach Geoff Collins Postgame Press Conference (Audio)