Yellow Jackets show promise but fall to No.25 Tennessee in 2OT
On Monday night the Yellow Jackets unfortunately experienced the same feeling that the Georgia Bulldogs did last season at the hands of Tennessee, but this one will definitely sting a little more.
After completely disassembling the Tennessee defense for the first 3 quarters of the game at the hands of Junior QB TaQuon Marshall, costly mistakes in the 4th quarter allowed Tennessee to slowly creep back into the game and cause OT.
As many know, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, run the triple option offense which allows the QB to make reads off the defense and either hand off to his fullback, running back or run with the ball. In order for this type of offense to be effective, the QB not only needs to be able to throw the ball but also have the speed to make defenders miss tackles.
TaQuon Marshall, a Junior QB received his first college start and boy did he not disappoint! Knowing that the Yellow Jackets needed to enforce the run game, Marshall ran the triple option and eventually broke through the Tennessee defense with a 12 play 86 yard drive that resulted in a rushing touchdown in the 1st quarter. A 44 yard completion after 11 straight running plays, opened up doors for the GT offense for the rest of the game.
After a Tennessee response of their own, tying the game at 7-7, the Yellow Jackets decided to slow the game down and keep the Tennessee offense on the sideline. On their next 2 drives, they ran 16 and 11 play drives respectively and pushed their lead to 21-7 courtesy of RB KirVonte Benson and QB TaQuon Marshall running TD’s. At this point in the game, all momentum was with the Yellow Jackets as they had caused a punt and a turnover on downs. Little did they know, one mishap would shift all momentum to Tennessee towards the end of the game.
After losing veteran kicker, Harrison Butker, this past year, the Yellow Jackets knew they had a work in progress with sophomore Shawn Davis, who up to this point had never attempted a field goal in live game action. Unfortunately for Davis, it wasn’t a pretty showing, after missing a 47 yard field goal terribly, the ball was given back to Tennessee towards the end of the 3rd quarter where they were able to score and get within 1 TD of GT.
Following back and forth 4th quarter touchdown drives, GT once again made another costly mistake by fumbling the ball on Tennessee’s 7 yard line after a 82 yard drive that would have possibly sealed the game. Tennessee, smelling blood, attacked the GT corners and tied the game at 28-28 with 1:29 left in regulation.
Once again the Yellow Jackets took the ball and marched down the field with ease, like they had done all night and put themselves in a spot to win the game with a 36 yard field goal. Sadly. the football gods had other plans…
Tennessee coach, Butch Jones, knowing that the GT kicker had missed a field goal earlier, decided to call timeout two times in a row in order to freeze the kicker. It worked, as Tennessee was able to penetrate the line of scrimmage and block the kick, putting the game into OT.
In OT, both offenses scored but the deciding factor was when Tennessee on their second possession in OT, scored and put the pressure on GT and their coaching staff. GT was given a chance to answer Tennessee’s TD and did but instead of kicking the extra point, GT coach Paul Johnson, called for a two point conversion that failed after being stopped 1 yard short of the goal line which ended the game at 42-41 Tennessee.
Even though Georgia Tech lost the game, there are many positives, such as:
- TaQuon Marshall was able to lead the offense effectively in his first college start
- TaQuon Marshall finished the night with 5/9 for 120 yards passing and 44 carries for 249 yards and 5 Touchdowns
- Freshman Punter Pressley Harvin III averaged 46 yards a punt
- The Defense held up Ranked Tennessee for 3 quarters
- KirVonte Benson is a force to be reckoned with on 3rd down
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets take on Jacksonville State Gamecocks at home on Saturday September 9th at 12:30 EST