By Rebecca Washney
ATLANTA— The Yellow Jackets’ quarterback TaQuon Marshall did just enough to scrape a win over Virginia Tech this Saturday. Mashall proved to be too much of a threat to Virginia Tech’s defense, running for two touchdowns and throwing two touchdown passes for a final score of 28-22.
Marshall rushed for 64 yards and passed for 140 yards, throwing Georgia Tech’s two longest touchdown passes of the season. Marshall came into the game with 1,537 yards of offense, including 870 rushing and 14 rushing touchdowns, leading the ACC in scoring (10.5 ppg), rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns (14) and ranking second in rushing (108.8 ypg).
KirVonte Benson rushed for 86 yards, and Nathan Cottrell rushed for another 83, totaling Georgia Tech’s rushing yards for the game at 261.
“You know KirVonte [Benson] runs the ball hard if you give him a chance,” Johnson said. “If you can get him started, he runs hard.”
Virginia Tech started the scoring with a 41-yard field goal.
The Yellow Jacket’s didn’t let the lead go for long, Cottrell rushed for 69-yards blowing past Virginia Tech’s defense. Marshall carried the ball the final 3-yards in for Georgia’s first touchdown.
Virginia Tech’s Travon McMillian had a 70-yard kickoff return that brought Virginia to the 29-yard line. A 15-yard pass interference penalty pushed Virginia up to Georgia’s 14-yard line, where Sean Savoy rushed for Virginia’s first touchdown, ending the first half at 12-9.
In the third quarter, Marshall completed his first pass. It went for 60-yards to Brad Stewart who ran in for a touchdown. It was Stewart’s first touchdown of the season, bringing the score up to 21-9.
“I haven’t scored since [high school],” Stewart said. “I had forgotten how to celebrate.”
Virginia Tech’s quarterback Josh Jackson completed a 26-yard pass that could have easily been an interception for Georgia, tipped over and elongating Virginia’s drive. The play led to Virginia running back Jalen Holsten rushing 7-yards for a touchdown in the final seconds of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw a change in leads after Georgia Tech threw an interception to Greg Stroman, who ran in for a touchdown, pushing Virginia ahead of Tech 21-22.
The Yellow Jackets pushed back hard, and Marshall completed his second touchdown pass, 80-yards to Ricky Jeune that put Georgia on top again at 27-22.
Marshall completed the 2-point conversion, but the points were taken back after a 5-yard illegal start penalty. The next play featured a false start penalty that pushed them back again, this time to the 13-yard line, where Georgia tried for the extra point and brought the final score to 28-22.
“I was thinking that we were cursed there when they got that deep ball, I thought it was a pick, and we were gonna get the ball at the forty,” Johnson said. “Low and behold two of our guys caught it again. Then we hit the play, the big play action to Ricky [Jeune].”
Georgia Tech now rides an eight-game winning streak at Bobby Dodd Stadium, which is the Jacket’s longest home winning streak since Nov. 21, 1998-Sept. 2, 2000.
The Yellow Jackets (5-4, 4-3 ACC) need one more win in their final two games to assure bowl eligibility; the win against Virginia Tech provided some cushion for them when they travel to Duke on Nov. 18.
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