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Sims-to-Sanders Game-Winner Lifts Tech Over Duke

DURHAM, N.C. Adonicas Sanders hauled in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Sims with 51 seconds to go to lift Georgia Tech to a heart-stopping 31-27 triumph over Duke on Saturday afternoon at soggy Wallace Wade Stadium.

Trailing 27-24 and with no timeouts, Georgia Tech needed just 51 seconds to march 88 yards in six plays for the winning touchdown. Facing third-and-6 from the Duke 36 yard line, Sims threw into the end zone for Sanders, who made an over-the-shoulder catch in tight coverage for the go-ahead score. It marked the first time since a 17-14 win over Boston College in the 2016 season opener in Dublin, Ireland that Tech scored a go-ahead, game-winning touchdown with less than a minute to go in regulation.

The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 14-0 lead just 8:07 into the game and led 24-17 going into the fourth quarter, but Duke stormed back to take a 27-24 lead on a 22-yard field goal with 5:06 remaining.

The Jackets went three-and-out on their ensuing possession, but forced Duke to punt with 1:42 to go to set up the 88-yard winning drive.

Sims finished with 352 yards of total offense (297 passing, 55 rushing – both team highs) and accounted for four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) to help lead Georgia Tech’s season-high 440-yard effort. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs and wide receivers Malachi Carter and Sanders had 82, 78 and 73 yards receiving, respectively.

Defensively, the Yellow Jackets were paced by Ayinde Eley and Juanyeh Thomas, who had 13 and 11 tackles, respectively. Thomas also intercepted Duke’s Gunnar Holmberg with 15 seconds left to seal the victory.

With its first win at Duke since 2013, Georgia Tech evened its record at 3-3 overall and 2-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Duke fell to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in ACC play.

Georgia Tech has its lone open week of the season this coming week before returning to ACC play on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Virginia. Game time will be announced on Monday.

Jahmyr Gibbs opened the scoring with a 77-yard touchdown catch just 2:37 into Saturday’s game at Duke (Photo: Brian Westerholt/Sports On Film).

 

Postgame Notes

Team

  • With the win, Georgia Tech evened its record at 3-3 overall and 2-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Duke fell to 3-3 overall (0-2 ACC).
  • Georgia Tech matched its overall win total from each of the past two seasons with six games still to play.
  • The win was Georgia Tech’s first at Duke since 2013, snapping a three-game losing streak for the Yellow Jackets at Wallace Wade Stadium.
  • Georgia Tech moved to 53-35-1 all-time versus Duke, extending the Yellow Jackets’ program record for most wins against one opponent (next: 50 vs. Clemson).
  • Georgia Tech and Duke squared off for the 89th-straight season, dating back to the first-ever game between the two programs in 1933. The Duke series is the longest continuous series on Georgia Tech’s schedule.
  • Georgia Tech scored the game-winning touchdown on a 36-yard pass from Fr. QB Jeff Sims to r-Jr. WR Adonicas Sanders on third-and-6 with 51 seconds to go. It marked the first time that the Yellow Jackets scored a go-ahead, game-winning touchdown with less than a minute to go in regulation for the first time since Dedrick Mills’ 4-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds left in a 17-14 win over Boston College on Sept. 3, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland.

Individual Notes

  • R-Jr. LB Ayinde Eley had a Georgia Tech career-high 13 tackles (prev.: 11 vs. Northern Illinois, Sept. 4)
  • Georgia Tech Jr. DB Juanyeh Thomas had a career-high 11 tackles (prev.: 10 at Syracuse, Sept. 26, 2020).
  • For the second-straight game, Georgia Tech Fr. RB Jahmyr Gibbs had a career-long reception, this time hauling in a 77-yard touchdown catch on the Yellow Jackets’ third offensive play of the game. Last Saturday versus Pitt, he had a then-career-long 71-yard touchdown reception.
  • Georgia Tech r-Sr. PR Azende Rey’s 35-yard punt return, which set up a Georgia Tech field goal in the second quarter, was the longest punt return by a Yellow Jacket since Jamal Golden had a 44-yard return versus Tulane on Sept. 12, 2015.
  • Georgia Tech Sr. WR Kyric McGowan’s 18-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was his team-best fourth touchdown catch of the season (in just five games).
  • Georgia Tech Fr. P David Shanahan had punts of 56 and 53 yards in the second half, which were the second- and tied for fourth-longest punts of his career, respectively.
Linebacker Ayinde Eley (10 – above) had a Georgia Tech career-high 13 tackles on the day to anchor the Yellow Jackets’ defense (Photo: Brian Westerholt/Sports On Film).

 

Multimedia

Coach Collins Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Juanyeh Thomas & Ayinde Eley Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Adonicas Sanders & Jeff Sims Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Coach Collins Postgame Press Conference (Audio)

ACC Digital Network Highlights

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