Georgia Tech Football: Four takeaways from the Jackets’ win over Pitt

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback TaQuon Marshall
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Quarterback TaQuon Marshall /

After an unexpected bye week, the Yellow Jackets got back to action Saturday with a 35-17 trouncing of ACC Coastal foe Pittsburgh.

1. The offense still doing just fine without Dedrick Mills in the backfield.

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Georgia Tech (2-1) lost last year’s leading rusher to program dismissal right before its first game and initially, it appeared as if it probably didn’t make much of a difference at all. Through the next two games – and especially against Pittsburgh on Saturday – it’s no longer debatable that the Yellow Jackets have so much talent and potential in the backfield, it has simply been next man up for Tech. In all three games thus far, TaQuon Marshall has spread the ball between so many ball carriers – including himself – that it has to have opposing defensive coordinators losing sleep. Saturday, Paul Johnson’s offense had nine rushers and all had positive yards for a total of 436 and five touchdowns. KirVonte Benson had 196 of his own, while racked up 112 yards. Each of those two players had a pair of rushing touchdowns.

2. Ted Roof’s defensive adjustments have done well for two straight games.

Georgia Tech was only up four points at halftime on Saturday, having given up 17 to Pittsburgh in the first half. Just like with Jacksonville State, however, the second half was a completely different tale. The Jackets shut Pitt out in the third and fourth quarters, taking a whole lot of pressure off the offense. Overall, Tech only allowed the Panthers 37 rushing yards and kept two Pitt passers under 200 yards for a combined total. Pitt’s passer rating on the day was 19.15 between two quarterbacks and three players with negative rushing yards. If wasn’t unexpected that a few adjustments and talent depth would slow a team like FCS Jacksonville State deep in a game, but doing the same among equals was the continuation of a nice trend for Ted Roof’s Jackets.

3. TaQuon Marshall is on pace for a solid statistical season.

Technically speaking, a good option quarterback can take his team to great heights without putting very many stats in the books. Of course it’s always better if a guy like TaQuon Marshall gets some numbers in the books to ice the cake. Saturday, Marshall had another 112 yards rushing and 48 yards passing. On the season, even with a cancelled game, Marshall has 280 yards passing and 389 yards on the ground. He has racked up an amazing eight rushing touchdowns and another three passing. With zero interceptions through three games, Marshall is currently ranked 10th in all of the FBS with an 81.4 total quarterback rating.

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4. Without turnovers, the Yellow Jackets could go places.

The Jackets were on their way to trouncing the Tennessee Volunteers in prime time to open the season, but turnovers helped to derail an otherwise impressive performance. On Saturday, Tech rushers fumbled the football five times with four of those lost. Amazingly, the Jackets pulled out an 18-point victory in the face of their sloppy ball handling. The win should have been larger and much more convincing, and overall, Tech should be 3-0 (perhaps 4-0 if not for mother nature). If the Jackets can continue to spread the football around and control the clock this team could be a contender in the ACC. That being said, no team can continue to lay the ball on the ground that many times and stay lucky enough to win very often.

The Yellow Jackets get back to action Saturday at noon as they host ACC Coastal rival North Carolina at Bobby Dodd Stadium.