This game was the epitome of why the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are affectionately called the “Ramblin’ Wreck”. The Yellow Jackets survive yet another tale of two halves to defeat the Georgia Southern Eagles 42-38.
Paul Johnson’s bunch gave the Yellow Jacket fans the fast start they wanted only to bog down in the second half.
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Tech was looking powerful in the first half and had everything clicking. On the Jackets first possession they drove 3 plays and covered 75 yards capped off by an eight yard touchdown by Justin Thomas.
That touchdown touched off a potential avalanche by the Jackets.
Zack Laskey caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, Tim Byerly scored on a 1-yard keeper to start the second quarter, Justin Thomas welcomed back Darren Waller hitting him with a 4-yard TD connection then Thomas to Smelter for a 57 yard TD.
By the time halftime came it was 35-10 Yellow Jackets and everyone in Bobby Dodd Stadium is smiling — except for the Georgia Southern Eagles.
The Eagles scowl is what drove them to completely dominate the second half of the game.
Sep 13, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Southern Eagles quarterback Kevin Ellison (4) handles the ball against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Georgia Southern scored 28 unanswered points on the Georgia Tech defense that had held down the Eagles in the first half.
Kevin Ellison made his presence felt for Georgia Southern starting the second half by capping off an 11 play drive with a 32-yard touchdown run.
That touchdown started the Eagles’ scoring avalanche falling on the Yellow Jackets. A 2-yard touchdown run by Matt Brieda, Ellison to BJ Johnson for a 68-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter then LA Ramsby on an 11-yard run with a successful two point conversion to give the Eagles the lead with 10:46 left in the fourth.
Georgia Tech fans were in a state of shock. Fans started getting riled up on twitter:
This was not what they had in mind when they hit Bobby Dodd Stadium this afternoon. However, the Jacket Fans were on the brink of their worst nightmare being realized–a loss to Georgia Southern in their first ever meeting would have had the whole campus in a rut.
That is when Justin Thomas turned into Mighty Mouse and saved the day. Thomas guided the Yellow Jackets on an 11 play 72-yard drive and threw a game winning 13-yard pass to Deon Hill.
Georgia Southern could not pull another rabbit out of their hat as their last ditch “Hail Mary” attempt was batted to the ground.
Everything that Georgia Tech gave Georgia Southern in the first half was given back in full during the second half.
Justin Thomas’ heroics will be something talked about all week by Tech fans. Thomas was 11 of 24 for 188 yards and four touchdown passes while rushing 22 times for 137 yards and a TD.
Thomas accounted for 325 of the Yellow Jackets 536 yards of total offense.
Sep 13, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets wide receiver Darren Waller (88) reacts with running back Tony Zenon (9) after catching a touchdown pass against the Georgia Southern Eagles during the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Georgia Southern’s Kevin Ellison was every bit Justin Thomas’ equal hitting 7 of 10 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown while rushing nine times for 107 yards of his own.
The Eagles Matt Breida gashed the Yellow Jackets for 111 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns.
Zach Laskey ran the ball well for Tech, however, rushing 17 times for 80 yards.
Deandre Smelter was the Jackets leading receiver with four grabs for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Zach Walker led the Eagles receivers with five catches for only 43 yards.
At the end of the day, Georgia Tech played in reverse of their normal trend.
Tech the first two games started off slow only to explode in the second half. Saturday afternoon, the Yellow Jackets started off fast in the first half only to escape in the second half.
Paul Johnson’s team is 3-0 regardless and still they have not given a full 60-minutes of intense football.
Maybe that can change next Saturday when the Yellow Jackets travel to Blacksburg to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies.