ATLANTA (AP) Justin Thomas threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Marshall on the first play of the game, Georgia Tech held Vanderbilt scoreless in the final three quarters and the Yellow Jackets beat the Commodores 38-7 on Saturday.
Thomas threw for 136 yards and ran for 84 yards before sitting out the final quarter as Georgia Tech (3-0) remained undefeated against Vanderbilt (1-2) since World War II.
The Yellow Jackets won their sixth straight game in the series, improving to 12-0-1 against the Commodores since 1941.
Vanderbilt was held to 275 total yards, including 69 yards rushing on 18 carries by Ralph Webb, who led the Southeastern Conference in rushing through two games.
Kyle Shurmur capped Vanderbilt’s opening drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kalija Lipscomb. Georgia Tech scored the final 31 points.
Georgia Tech’s defense was dominant the rest of the way. Vanderbilt’s Khari Blasingame was stopped on a fourth-and-1 run from the Georgia Tech 28 in the third quarter.
The Yellow Jackets gained momentum for Thursday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference game against No. 5 Clemson.
VANDERBILT: The Commodores were held to one touchdown for the second time in three games. Vanderbilt opened with a 13-10 loss to South Carolina before beating Middle Tennessee 47-24. Webb was effective at times but had too little help. Vanderbilt’s defense was fooled too often on late option pitches by Thomas.
GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets already have matched their win total from 2015, when they finished 3-9. The offense struggled at times in a 17-14 win over Boston College to open the season but has since gained momentum. It was no surprise to see the spread option attack produce 289 yards rushing.
VANDERBILT: The Commodores will be looking to make up for last year’s 14-12 home loss to Western Kentucky when they face the Hilltoppers in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets will have a quick turnaround but at least won’t have to travel before playing No. 5 Clemson on Thursday night. The Tigers have won three of the last four in the series, including a 43-24 win at Clemson last season. Georgia Tech took a 28-6 win in 2014, the last time the game was played at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
- Georgia Tech moved to 3-0 for the fourth time in the last six seasons (2011, 2013, 2014, 2016). Prior to 2011, Georgia Tech was 3-0 just four times in 40 seasons since 1971 (1984, 1990, 2001 and 2005).
- Georgia Tech moved to 20-15-3 all-time versus Vanderbilt. The Yellow Jackets have won six-straight games in the series (dating back to 10-10 tie in 1965) and are 12-0-1 against the Commodores since World War II (last GT loss: 14-7 in 1941).
- Georgia Tech outgained Vanderbilt, 511-275, with a 289-85 advantage in rushing yards and a 222-190 edge in passing yards. Georgia Tech averaged 8.1 yards per play, compared to 4.5 for Vanderbilt.
- Georgia Tech scored on its first offensive play (an 81-yard touchdown pass from senior QB Justin Thomas to sophomore BB Marcus Marshall). It was the first time that Georgia Tech scored on its first offensive play since it scored on 70-yard pass from Tevin Washington to Zach Laskey at Virginia on Sept. 15, 2012.
- The opening touchdown was the first time that Georgia Tech scored on a one-play drive since Oct. 25, 2014 at Pittsburgh (65-yard run by Matthew Jordan).
- The 81-yard touchdown was Georgia Tech’s longest play from scrimmage since an 82-yard touchdown pass from Vad Lee to Jeff Greene vs. Presbyterian on Sept. 8, 2012.
- Georgia Tech has held each of its first three opponents of the season to 14 points or less for the first time since 2001.
- The 81-yard touchdown on the game’s opening play was the longest pass of Thomas’ 39-game career (prev.: 79 yards at Pittsburgh, Oct. 25, 2014).
- The 81-yard reception was the longest play from scrimmage of Marshall’s career (prev.: 64-yard run vs. Alcorn State, Sept. 3, 2015).
- The 81-yard reception nearly doubled the number of receiving yards that Marshall had totaled in 13 career games coming in (42).
- True freshman BB Dedrick Millsscored on runs of 15, 4 and 5 yards to become the first Georgia Tech player with three rushing touchdowns since Patrick Skov vs. Alcorn State on Sept. 3, 2015. It was the 41st time in Georgia Tech history that a player had three rushing touchdowns in a game.
- Redshirt freshman Dorian Walker returned the first interception of his career 64 yards in the fourth quarter.