Georgia Tech Football: Five takeaways from Georgia Tech’s win over Jacksonville State

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 9: Jerry Howard /

The Yellow Jackets got back in the win column Saturday with a win over a No. 5 ranked (FCS) Jacksonville State team, but it wasn’t always pretty.

1.  TaQuon Marshall continued to solidify his spot as starting quarterback.

After a record breaking performance in a heartbreaking loss to Tennessee in the season opener, Georgia Tech (1-1) quarterback TaQuon Marshall did nothing to lose ground as Paul Johnson’s field general. With 112 yards passing for three touchdowns, Marshall cut up Jacksonville States defense in the second half Saturday. He had another 25 yards rushing and a fourth touchdown on the ground also, in a performance that should give Johnson and Jackets fans confidence going forward. Tech’s new junior quarterback managed the game well and kept his exhausted offense moving down the field efficiently all afternoon.

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2. Georgia Tech has no shortage of weapons in the backfield.

When last season’s leading rusher Dedrick Mills was dismissed from the team before the season opener, Tech’s run game immediately became a huge question mark. Apparently, however, Paul Johnson has stocked up an embarrassment of riches in the backfield. Besides TaQuon Marshall, of course, KirVonte Benson led the Jackets in rushing against Tennessee. In game two, Jerry Howard stepped up with 82 yards on the ground. Eight different Tech rushers had positive yardage Saturday, with four of them over 25. Seven Yellow Jackets netted yards against Tennessee in a balanced rushing attack that’s becoming a dangerous trend for Tech’s opponents.

3. Ted Roof’s defense has the ability to make adjustments in the clutch.

The Gamecocks were getting good penetration on Georgia Tech’s front line in the first half of Saturday’s game. It wasn’t looking good for Tech defender’s early, but the second half was a different story altogether. In the end, Tech held JSU’s Bryant Horn to only 73 yards passing in the game and the entire team to only rushing yards. Besides the touchdown in the second quarter, the Gamecocks got a field goal in the third and that was it for the game. Tech intercepted Horn twice in the game and gave up a long run of 13 yards. Jacksonville State also coughed up the ball three times in the game with Tech recovering one of those. Certainly, against an FCS opponent, talent depth comes into play, but JSU is still among the best 1-AA teams in the nation. Roof’s defense made the needed adjustments and looked far better down the stretch Saturday.

4. The Yellow Jackets receiving corps has depth and is capable.

When Paul Johnson’s offense has had a big-time wideout to toss the ball to in the past, things have gotten difficult for other teams to defend. It appears as if the Jackets have compiled a nice receiving corps with plenty of weapons. Against Tennessee, Tech had three receivers with 20 yards or more. On Saturday Tech expanded that to four Jackets with 10-or-more receiving yards, accounting for three of the team’s touchdowns. Ricky Jeune has had at least 50 yards receiving yards in each of Tech’s two games and had his first two touchdowns in Saturday’s game.

5. Short turnaround scheduling can be unnecessarily dangerous to a team.

In the first half of Saturday’s game, it was evident that the Yellow Jackets were just plain exhausted. Tech was tossed into a perfect storm to hand a win to an FCS team. They played a late game on Monday night against a Southeastern Conference rival. The game went to double overtime and Georgia Tech lost in heartbreaking fashion. Spotlight games are notorious for long, frequent commercial breaks and the hype and press coverage prior to a big-time season opener can be exhausting enough even without playing football. The Yellow Jackets won a game that they should have Saturday, but did so by overcoming circumstances dealt against their favor.

Next: Jackets game against Miami moved back to October 14th

Georgia Tech is scheduled to travel to Orlando for a 7:30 p.m. matchup against out-of-conference foe Central Florida. It’s not yet determined whether Hurricane Irma damage will affect that matchup.