Georgia Tech Football: Jackets defense impresses in 35-17 victory over Pitt

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Defensive end Antonio Simmons
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Defensive end Antonio Simmons /

Georgia Tech’s defense stepped up on Saturday afternoon in the Yellow Jackets 35-17 victory over Pittsburgh.

The Yellow Jackets rushed for over 400-yards for the second time this season on Saturday. The biggest takeaway however from Saturday’s 18-point victory over Pittsburgh was the stellar performance from the Jackets defense.

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Entering Saturday, everyone knew the Yellow Jackets offense was going to be tough to step when running full force. But there were plenty of questions regarding the Jackets defense that surrendered 42-points to Tennessee.

Saturday’s performance certainly helped calm the nerves of the Tech coaching staff and friends alike.

The Yellow Jackets defense on Saturday looked the part of a top ACC defense, keeping Pittsburgh’s offense to just 235 total yards. The Jackets kept Pittsburgh to an average of just 4.2 yards per play and just 1.8 yards per carry on the ground.

The most impressive part of the Jackets performance on Saturday, however, may be their third-down defense. Pittsburgh was only able to convert on 1-of-13, third-down attempts. A much better performance than their performance against Tennessee allowing 5-of-12.

When it came to defending the Pittsburgh passing attack, the Jackets secondary passed the test. The Jackets allowed just 198-yards despite allowing 62.8% of the Panthers passing attempts to be completed. The Jackets as a team had six pass deflections.

Defensive lineman Antonio Simmons had a spectacular day with three tackles that included two sacks. Junior cornerback A.J Gray also had a sack in Saturday’s game. Senior linebacker Terrell Lewis lead the team in tackles with five.

Offensively, the Jackets stuck with the status quo and attacked the Panthers on the ground. Both b-back, KirVonte Benson, and quarterback TaQuon Marshall rushed for 100+ yards and two touchdowns. Marshall now has 11 total touchdowns on the season and 666 total yards.

Overall, nine different Jackets carried the ball for a total of 67 times, 436-yards, and five touchdowns. Five different ball carriers also had carries for longer than 15+ yards.

That being said, the Jackets turned the ball over four times including two fumbles from KirVonte Benson. The Jackets high amount of turnovers lead to quarterback TaQuon Marshall praising the Jackets defense with the quote below.

Overall, the Jackets victory over Pittsburgh wasn’t pretty but it wasn’t expected to be either. For the Jackets it was a building block as they head into their ACC schedule which certainly won’t be easy, to say the least. While the defense played better, the offense showed that the team is still far from being a complete team. The next step for the Jackets will be to put a full game together both offensively and defensively.

The victory gives the Yellow Jackets a 2-1 record on the season and a 1-0 record in ACC conference play. The Jackets will return to the field next Saturday when they take the field to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels who are coming off a 27-17 loss to Duke.