Georgia Tech out to avoid wreck as Kennesaw State eyes upset
Georgia Tech attempts to rebound after opening with a loss to Northern Illinois.
Visiting Kennesaw State arrives in Atlanta for a nonconference game on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets were an 18 1/2-point favorite against the Huskies, who used a Rocky Lombardi touchdown pass and ensuing two-point conversion with 38 seconds remaining to pull out a 22-21 win. The Huskies blocked Georgia Tech’s 60-yard field goal attempt with one second remaining to secure the win.
The Yellow Jackets (0-1) don’t have much time to make changes, considering they open their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule at Clemson, the league’s six-time defending champion, on Sept. 18.
Saturday’s game will be the first for Kennesaw State (1-0), an FCS school about 20 miles north of Georgia Tech, against a Power 5 team in school history.
Georgia Tech is likely turning to quarterback Jordan Yates, who opened the season as the backup to Jeff Sims. But Sims injured his left (non-throwing) arm in the first half against the Huskies while trying to recover a fumble. He watched the rest of the game in street clothes with his arm in a sling.
Yates rallied the Yellow Jackets when he scored on a 4-yard run with 6:32 remaining to give Georgia Tech a 21-14 lead. But Georgia Tech’s defense couldn’t hold the advantage. Yates went 12-for-18 passing for 135 yards and a touchdown and had nine carries for 27 yards. Sims completed 3-of-8 passes for 21 yards and added 34 yards rushing before getting injured.
Jahmyr Gibbs rushed for a team-high 99 yards on 20 carries and Malachi Carter had a team-leading six catches for 92 of Georgia Tech’s 156 receiving yards.
Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins remains confident the Yellow Jackets can be an elite team.
“One hundred percent,” he told reporters. “It’s not if, it’s when. And we’ve just got to continue to build and continue to grow. The strides that we’ve made, you can see them. The improvements on defense, the improvements on offense. We’ve just got to score when we cross the 50.”
Kennesaw State, a member of the Big South Conference, amassed 407 yards in a season-opening 35-25 win over the Reinhardt Eagles, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school in Waleska, Ga.
Quarterback Jonathan Murphy (18 carries, 98 yards, two TDs), running back Kyle Glover (16 carries, 80 yards) and quarterback Xavier Shepherd (eight carries, 60 yards, two TDs) powered a rushing attack that ran for 335 yards on 65 carries. Murphy went 3-of-7 passing for 40 yards and in interception, while Shepherd was 1-for-2 passing for 32 yards.
–Field Level Media