Sept. 9, 2017
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall had to throw the ball with Jacksonville State loaded up to stop the run.
“After the first game, I wanted to sit in the pocket and show my arm ability,” he said. “The other guys made great plays and the line blocked for me, so I had a lot of time to get the ball out of my hands.”
Marshall passed for three touchdowns, receiver Ricky Jeune scored twice and Georgia Tech beat Jacksonville State 37-10 on Saturday.
Playing five days after losing in two overtimes to Tennessee, the Yellow Jackets (1-1) had a sluggish start but took charge with three TDs in the third quarter.
“The first couple of series were just ridiculous,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. “We’ve got a guy that goes the wrong way on a pitch motion, penalties and whatever we could do to shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Marshall, making his second career start, finished 5 for 7 passing for 112 yards and added a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He ran 13 times for just 25 yards, far off his production from Monday when he scored five touchdowns and set an Atlantic Coast Conference record for yards rushing by a quarterback with 249.
“I think they kind of had our number in the first half on third down,” Marshall said. “They were just being really disruptive. All the guys on defense were really flying to the ball.”
Roc Thomas rushed 18 times for 86 yards for Jacksonville State (1-1). Gamecocks quarterback Bryant Horn had 50 yards passing and 41 rushing in the first half, but he was picked off for the second time early in the third quarter. Both of his interceptions led to immediate touchdowns.
“They baited him into a couple of throws,” Jacksonville State coach John Grass said. “They made good plays on the football. Sometimes you learn more from your mistakes than you do when good things happen.”
Georgia Tech made it 17-7 on its first drive of the third when Marshall and Jeune connected for a 23-yard TD. Horn lost a fumble on the Gamecocks’ next offensive snap, and the Jackets went up 23-7 when J.J. Green caught a 10-yard pass on a crossing route in the back of the end zone.
Freshman Jerry Howard broke free up the middle for 65-yard run late in the third to make it 30-7.
The Jackets took a 10-7 lead late in the second quarter on Marshall’s 27-yard pass to Jeune. Jacksonville State led 7-3 early in the period on Horn’s 5-yard pass to Krenwick Sanders. Georgia Tech was on the board first when Davis kicked a 34-yard field goal in the first.
Jacksonville State: Grass has had an outstanding run in four years as head coach, not losing a regular-season game to a non-FBS opponent and overseeing one of six Division I programs to win at least 10 games a season since the start of 2014. The others are Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Florida State and perennial FCS national contender North Dakota State. Despite the loss, the Gamecocks are still heavily favored to win the Ohio Valley Conference and make a run for the national title. Their only other regular-season losses under Grass are to Michigan State, Auburn and LSU.
Georgia Tech: The Jackets needed a defender make a big play against Tennessee, but nobody stepped up. CB Lawrence Austin did his part against Jacksonville State even though he had an inauspicious start in losing his helmet on Krenwick Sanders’ touchdown catch early in the second. On the Gamecocks’ next two possessions, Austin broke up a third-down pass attempt and picked off Horn for a 21-yard return to set up Georgia Tech’s first TD.
Johnson said a few days ago that Shawn Davis hadn’t kicked his way out of a job, even though two missed field goals against Tennessee, including one that was blocked at the end of regulation, put his status in doubt. After connecting on his first attempt against Jacksonville State, Davis hit a 40-yarder in the third that would’ve put the Jackets up 13, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Jackets a first down instead. He hit the upright to miss the ensuing extra-point attempt and then hit the left upright on the ensuing kickoff.
Jacksonville State: The Gamecocks host Liberty on Sept. 23.
Georgia Tech: The Jackets visit Central Florida next Saturday.
- With the win, Georgia Tech evened its record at 1-1 on the season and avoided its first 0-2 start since 1989. Jacksonville State fell to 1-1.
- The win was Georgia Tech’s fifth in its last six games and seventh in its last nine games.
- Georgia Tech won its home opener for the 11th-straight season and 18th time in the last 19 years. Head coach Paul Johnson is 10-0 in home openers at Georgia Tech.
- Georgia Tech moved to 94-25-4 all-time in home openers.
- Georgia Tech moved to 3-0 all-time versus Jacksonville State.
- The win was Georgia Tech’s 10th-straight over an opponent from the state of Alabama. The Yellow Jackets have not lost to an opponent from Alabama since a 20-10 loss to Auburn on Oct. 17, 1987. Their 10-game winning streak over Alabama foes includes two wins over Auburn (2003, 2005) and three over Jacksonville State (2008, 2009 and 2017).
- Georgia Tech scored 20 points off three Jacksonville State turnovers. Over the past six games dating back to last season, the Yellow Jackets have scored 61 points off 13 forced turnovers.
- Georgia Tech has scored 28 or more points in six-consecutive games, marking the eighth time since 1904 that the Yellow Jackets have accomplished the feat. Of the eight times that Georgia Tech has scored 28 points or more in six-straight games over the last 114 seasons, four have occurred since Johnson became the Jackets’ head coach in 2008.
- Georgia Tech junior quarterback TaQuon Marshall threw three touchdown passes (27, 23 and 10 yards), becoming the first GT quarterback to throw three TDs in a game since Justin Thomas vs. Virginia on Nov. 1, 2014.
- Marshall also ran for a touchdown (1 yd.) to account for four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). He has accounted for nine touchdowns through two games this season (vs. Tennessee, vs. Jacksonville State) — the first two starts of his career.
- Senior wide receiver Ricky Jeune caught two of Marshall’s three touchdown passes (27 and 23 yards), good for the first multi-TD game of his career.
- True freshman B-back Jerry Howard’s 65-yard touchdown run in the third quarter (which came on the second carry of his career) was the longest by a Georgia Tech true freshman since Jonathan Dwyer also had a 65-yard touchdown run vs. Samford on Sept. 8, 2007.
- Senior cornerback Step Durham’s third-quarter interception was the first of his career.
ACC Digital Network Video Highlights
Video: GREAT Day at Bobby Dodd
— Georgia Tech Sports (@GTAthletics) September 9, 2017
Postgame Video – Head Coach Paul Johnson
Postgame Video – Georgia Tech Student-Athletes
Postgame Audio – Head Coach Paul Johnson
3⃣ passing TDs
6⃣ rushing TDs
— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) September 9, 2017