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Jackets' Comeback Bid Falls Just Short at UVA

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Trailing by 21 points with less than four minutes remaining in the contest, Georgia Tech cut the deficit to eight and was driving for a potential game-tying touchdown, but the Yellow Jackets’ rally fell just short in a 48-40 loss to Virginia on Saturday night at Scott Stadium.

Georgia Tech (3-4, 2-3 ACC) fell behind 48-27 when Virginia’s Ra’Shaun Henry caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brennan Armstrong with 3:50 to go in the game.

The Yellow Jackets stayed alive by driving 75 yards in just 2:34 on their ensuing possession, capped by a 37-yard touchdown catch by Kalani Norris from quarterback Jeff Sims that cut the Jackets’ deficit to 48-34 with 1:16 remaining. After Malachi Carter recovered a perfectly executed onside kick by Jude Kelley, Tech needed only 54 seconds to drive 51 yards and pulled within eight points at 48-40 on a 5-yard pass from Sims to Kyric McGowan with 22 seconds left on the clock (the two-point conversion attempt was no good).

For the third time this season and second time in less than a minute, Kelley once again executed a perfect onside kick, this time recovered by Juanyeh Thomas to give the Jackets the ball back at the 50 yard line. Sims completed passes to Jordan Mason (7 yards) and Adonicas Sanders (12 yards) to put Tech within 31 yards of potentially of tying the game. However, Virginia’s Joey Blount batted down Sims’ throw into the end zone on the final play and the Cavaliers escaped with the win.

The teams combined for 1,206 yards of offense in the Saturday night shootout (636 for Virginia, a season-high 570 for Georgia Tech). The Yellow Jackets passed for 300 yards and ran for a season-best 270 in the balanced attack.

Tech jumped out to early leads of 13-0 and 16-7, but Virginia’s No. 6-ranked offense (the fourth-straight top-20 offense that the Yellow Jackets have faced) rallied to take a 24-16 halftime lead. The Jackets pulled back within three points at 27-24 on Jahmyr Gibbs’ 71-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, but Virginia (6-2, 4-2 ACC) scored 21 of the game’s next 24 points before the Jackets’ furious comeback attempt.

Georgia Tech returns home for the first time in nearly a month next Saturday when it hosts Virginia Tech for homecoming at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by clicking HERE.

Wideout Kyric McGowan (2 – above) hauled in two touchdown receptions on the day to go along with 89 receiving yards (Photo: Keith Lucas).

 

Postgame Notes

Team

  • With the loss, Georgia Tech fell to 3-4 on the season and 2-3 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Virginia moved to 6-2 overall and 4-2 in ACC play.
  • Georgia Tech trailed 48-27 with 3:50 to go in the game. The Yellow Jackets put together touchdown drives of 75 and 51 yards and recovered onside kicks following each score, giving them the ball back with 20 seconds remaining and trailing just 48-40. The Jackets drove to Virginia’s 31 yard line but their final pass was incomplete in the end zone.
  • Georgia Tech set season highs with 570 yards of total offense (prev.: 440 at Duke, Oct. 9), 7.3 yards per play (prev. 7.0 vs. Kennesaw State, Sept. 11), 7.9 yards per rush (prev.: 6.1 vs. North Carolina, Sept. 25) and 28 first downs (prev.: 25 vs. NIU).
  • Georgia Tech averaged more than six yards per play for the fourth-straight game at fifth time in seven games this season.
  • Saturday marked the fourth-straight game that Georgia Tech faced one of the nation’s current top-20 total offenses (No. 19 North Carolina, No. 5 Pitt, No. 18 Duke and No. 6 Virginia). Tech went 2-2 in those four games.
  • Georgia Tech dropped to 4-14-1 all-time at Virginia, including a 4-15 in its last 19 visits to Scott Stadium, dating back to 1992. The Yellow Jackets haven’t won at UVA since 2013 (four-straight losses).
  • Georgia Tech fell to 0-10 in its last 10 games that immediately followed a loss. The Yellow Jackets haven’t won consecutive games since Nov. 10-17, 2018 (vs. Miami (Fla.) and Virginia).

Individual Notes

  • Georgia Tech Fr. RB Jahmyr Gibbs had a career-high 132 rushing yards (prev.: 105 at Syracuse on Sept. 26, 2020).
  • Gibbs’ 71-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the longest rush by a Yellow Jacket since QB TaQuon Marshall had a 78-yard touchdown run at Virginia on Nov. 4, 2017.
  • With two touchdown catches (36 and 5 yards), Georgia Tech Sr. WR Kyric McGowan has six touchdown receptions in six games as a Yellow Jacket. McGowan had two touchdown receptions and four total touchdowns (two rushing) in four seasons at Northwestern (2017-20) before his arrival at Georgia Tech as a graduate transfer this season.
  • Georgia Tech r-So. RB Dontae Smith’s 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was his fourth touchdown run in his first 35 carries this season (one every 8.8 carries) and his seventh TD run in 88 carries (one every 12.6 carries) dating back to the beginning of last season.
Running back Jahmyr Gibbs (1 – above) ran for a career-high 132 yards on the night, including a 71-yard touchdown effort in the third quarter (Photo: Keith Lucas).

 

Multimedia

Coach Collins Postgame Press Conference (Video)

Coach Collins Postgame Press Conference (Audio)

DB Juanyeh Thomas Postgame Press Conference (Video)

QB Jeff Sims Postgame Press Conference (Video)

WR Kyric McGowan Postgame Press Conference (Video)

ACC Digital Network Highlights

ACC Digital Network Condensed Game

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