After losing the last two games in the waning seconds, Georgia Tech found redemption by taking out the Pittsburgh Panthers 35-17.
Both were thrillers, last year Pitt picked up 21 yards on the last five plays to set up a game-winning 31-yard field goal by Chris Blewitt. Blewitt’s attempt hit the right upright but fell through the goal posts as time expired giving them a 37-34 victory. Pitt won on another late field goal by Blewitt for the second-straight season by three points.
On Oct. 15, 2015, Blewitt made a career-long 56-yard field goal with 1:11 remaining in the ballgame to lift the Panthers to a 31-28 win at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Today there was no opportunity for last moment heroics or just plain luck besides Blewitt has graduated and moved on.
Miscues and hiccups showed their ugly heads. The Yellow Jackets offense looked a bit out of kilter coughing the ball up 5 times none more costly than the one by Kirvonte Benson deep in the red zone at the 2-yard line mid-way the fourth quarter. Coach Johnson said, “if we score on that one, we put the game away.”
Give the Yellow Jackets’ Defense it’s credit five turnovers, and they allowed no points directly from the offensive miscues “had it not been for the defense we would not have won this game” said Taquon Marshall who scored two touchdowns and led the nations top rushing offense producing 484 total yards.
Kirvonte Benson coughed it up twice but led the team in rushing with 29 carries for 197 yards and 2 touchdowns. Pitt started the scoring on their first drive taking only 2:32. The touchdown was set up by Q. Ollison who went off right tackle for a 30 yard gain before D. Binucci hit Q Ollison for a wide open 28-yard touchdown pass.
Tech fumbled on their first possession, it was an attempted pitch by Marshall to K. Benson, Pitt recovered on the 33-yard line. They could not move the ball an inch, so they attempted a 50-yard field goal that went wide right. As it sailed, I thought about the kick in 2015.
Hoping to make amends, Benson ran with force, then, on a fake left, spin right option, QB Taquon Marshall dashed around the end and tiptoed down the sideline 32 yards before he dove into the end zone making sure he had the ball inside the pylon to tie the score at 7. The drive endured 3:24 and 7 plays covering 68 yards.
The defense forced a short series, and the offense went back to work. Marshall, operating as if he was a basketball player conducting a 360 dribble and spin move that made the crowd take a deep breath of oh’s and awes as he drove to the 1-yard line. He took it in on a QB Sneak for Georgia Techs second score of the game 14-7. After that move, he deserved to be rewarded. This guy has become a scoring machine seven touchdowns on the ground and three by air.
Pitts Q Henderson wanted in on the action, so he tied the score 14-14 on an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown picking up style points as he dove into the end zone providing photo ops.
Marshall was whacked on a pass play that was intercepted. A roughing the passer flag bailed him out. On the next play, J Howard fumbled giving the ball right back to Pitt.
At the 5:06 mark of the second quarter Pitt had a total of 97 yards to Tech’s 203 yards, but the scoreboard was tied at 14-14. Tech had only 1 passing yard, 3 fumbles gifting 2, and they nearly doubled Pitt in the number of plays ran 19-37.
Benson seized his opportunity going right up the middle for the score 21-14. In the game of football, offensive backs get all the glory, Jahazel Lee, the big offensive lineman deserved to have his name printed with an assist. On the previous play, he pancaked the defensive end to allow Marshall to get the ball in scoring position. A Kessman concluded the half by kicking a 55-yard field goal as the clock expired to make the score 21-17. What is it about these two teams and field goals?
The Georgia Tech Defense played well limiting the Panthers to 135 total yards as Georgia Tech chalked up 277 by halftime. However, those numbers did not matter it was the four points on the scoreboard that made the real difference.
To start the second half scoring Q. Weimeskirch barreled over a few Pitt Defenders at the goal line to get into pay dirt, which extended Georgia Tech’s lead 28-17. Like clockwork, Tech does something outstanding then comes back and shoot themselves in the foot, Wiemeskirch fumbled at the 47-yard line to end the third quarter. Staying true to character as “good team bad team” A. Simmons ripped through the offensive line and sacked B. Dinucci for a 15-yard loss.
Anree Saint-Amour came up with the play of the game, a scoop fumble recovery as the tide started to rise on Pitt. They gave Tech possession at the 32-yard line. Moreover, guess what! Benson another fumble this time at the 4-yard line adding to their stat of crucial Red Zone Fumbles. On the next drive, he lifted his burdens by ripping off a 47-yard touchdown run to give the Yellow Jackets the 35-17 victory.
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