Sep 26, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head coach Geoff Collins looks on against the Syracuse Orange during the fourth quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech rebounds with easy victory over Kennesaw State

Quarterback Jordan Yates threw for 254 yards and four touchdowns to lead Georgia Tech to a 45-17 victory over visiting Kennesaw State in a nonconference game on Saturday at Atlanta.

Yates replaced starter Jeff Sims, who injured his left (non-throwing) arm while trying to recover a fumble during the first half in last week’s loss to Northern Illinois. But Yates, who completed 17 of 22 attempts, had no trouble moving the ball against the Owls in their first game against a Power 5 team in school history.

Dontae Smith rushed for a team-high 82 yards and a touchdown on eight carries for the Yellow Jackets (1-1), while Kyric McGowan had five receptions for a team-high 77 yards and two touchdowns.

Kennesaw State (1-1), a Football Championship Subdivision school in the Big South Conference, was led by Iaan Cousin, who rushed for team-high 52 yards and a touchdown on three carries, while Adeolu Adeleke had a 39-yard touchdown reception for his only catch.

Owls quarterback Xavier Shepherd went 8-for-20 passing for 111 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

The Yellow Jackets took a 7-0 lead on their opening possession when Yates capped an eight-play, 81-yard drive with a 6-yard TD pass to Jordan Mason with 8:49 remaining. Defensive lineman Jordan Domineck doubled the lead when he returned a fumble 70 yards for a score with less than four minutes remaining in the first quarter.

After the team’s exchanged field goals, Yates drove the Yellow Jackets 43 yards in seven plays, capping the drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to McGowan for a 24-3 lead with 3:13 left in first half.

The Yellow Jackets extended their lead to 31-3 less than three minutes into the third quarter when Yates hit Kalani Norris for a 16-yard touchdown pass to cap a six-play, 75-drive.

Yates threw his fourth touchdown pass of the game when he hit McGowan on a 39-yard strike less than a minute into the final quarter for a 38-3 advantage.

Kennesaw State got a 54-yard touchdown run by Cousin and a 39-yard scoring pass from Shepherd to Adeleke in the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA;  Miami Hurricanes quarterback N'Kosi Perry (5) carries the football against the Duke Blue Devils in the second half at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Miami Hurricanes won 48-0. Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech cancels Miami matchup over COVID-19 problems

When No. 10 Miami hosts No. 17 North Carolina in an Atlantic Athletic Conference showdown Saturday, it will now be the regular-season finale for both clubs and it could determine who plays in the Orange Bowl.

The Hurricanes’ home game against Georgia Tech, scheduled for Dec. 19, was canceled Friday because the Yellow Jackets informed the league that they would not be able to meet several of the ACC Medical Advisory Group’s COVID-19 limitations.

This game had already been postponed from Nov. 21.

“This afternoon, we informed Miami and the ACC that based on today’s medical report from chief medical officer Dr. Angelo Galante, it would not be in the best interests of our student-athletes for us to attempt to play a game next Saturday,” Georgia Tech director of athletics Todd Stansbury said in a statement. “As always, the health and safety of our student-athletes is our top priority. We felt that it was only right to let Miami and the ACC know as early as possible, and we appreciate their understanding.”

The canceled game puts added importance on the Miami-North Carolina game. The highest-ranked available team in the ACC goes to the Orange Bowl, and Miami (8-1, 7-1 ACC) seems to be in pole position, assuming Notre Dame and Clemson both get to the College Football Playoff. North Carolina (7-3, 6-3) could send a message to the voters, though, with an impressive win.

As for Georgia Tech (3-7, 3-6), its 34-20 loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 10 now turns out to have been the regular-season finale.

“Should the opportunity to accept an invitation to a bowl game arise, Georgia Tech will determine at that time if the health and safety of its student-athletes will allow the team to participate,” the school said in a statement.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2020; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren looks at the scoreboard from the sidelines against the Virginia Cavaliers in the third quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

NC State aims to break spell against Georgia Tech

North Carolina State will try to reverse a losing trend and earn a little revenge Saturday when it hosts Georgia Tech in Raleigh.

The Wolfpack (7-3, 6-3 ACC) have not beaten Georgia Tech (3-5, 3-4) at home since 2000 and would like to end that streak this weekend, when they play their final regular-season game.

NC State is still smarting from last year’s 28-26 defeat to the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. Coach Dave Doeren’s injury-depleted team fell behind 21-3 and saw their comeback fall short when a final two-point conversion failed.

Georgia Tech leads the series 20-10 and has a 9-6 advantage in games played in Raleigh.

“It’s been a fun year,” Doeren said. “It’s a special group. If we get this next one and it puts us at eight (wins), it would make it even better.”

NC State has significantly improved its offense this year. Last season, the Wolfpack averaged 22.1 points per game. This season that figure is 31.9. The Wolfpack are coming off a 36-29 win over Syracuse, scoring the final 16 points to secure the victory.

Quarterback Bailey Hockman has thrown for 1,511 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games. He passed for a career-high 313 yards and four touchdowns against Syracuse.

Zonovan “Bam” Knight and Ricky Person have been a steady, dependable combination in the backfield. They combine for an average of 127.4 yards per game, and Knight (698 yards) has eight touchdowns.

NC State’s Christopher Dunn needs two field goals to tie the school’s career record. He has 53, including a 31-yarder that sealed the win against Syracuse.

The Wolfpack got a boost on defense last week when safety Tanner Ingle returned after missing most of the season with a hamstring injury. He had seven tackles against Syracuse.

Georgia Tech ended a three-game losing streak – and a month-long layoff – with a 56-33 win over Duke. The Yellow Jackets had three players from that game honored by the ACC – offensive tackle Zach Quinney (co-Offensive Lineman of the Week), quarterback Jeff Sims (Rookie of the Week) and defensive end Jordan Domineck (Defensive Lineman of the Week).

It was the third time Sims has received such an honor. He set career highs for rushing yard (108) and touchdown passes (three) and became the first freshman in the country to run for at least 100 yards and pass for at least three TDs in a game this season. Sims has thrown for 1,492 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushed for 385 yards and four TDs this year.

Domineck had a crucial strip sack and fumble recovery for a touchdown that changed the momentum of the game against Duke. He finished with two sacks and 2½ tackles for loss. He leads the team with four sacks and 7½ tackles for loss.

“We’re a culture built on effort,” Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins said. “He plays with ridiculous effort. When you do that, good things happen, and that’s what he did. He did a great job giving great effort when we weren’t playing (for a month), and it showed.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets quarterback Jeff Sims (10) passes the ball during the first half against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways carry Georgia Tech past Duke

Freshman Jeff Sims threw three touchdown passes and the Georgia Tech defense forced five turnovers as the Yellow Jackets broke a three-game losing streak with a 56-33 win over Duke on Saturday in Atlanta.

Sims completed 13 of 23 passes and 146 yards and one interception, and he gained 108 yards on 12 carries for Georgia Tech (3-5, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference). He threw a 12-yard touchdown to Malachi Carter, a 24-yarder to Jalen Camp and a 24-yarder to Adonicas Sanders.

Georgia Tech lost prized freshman running back Jahmyr Gibbs to an undisclosed lower-body injury midway in the second quarter. Gibbs had rushed six times for 91 yards and two touchdowns, one of them 61 yards, and caught four passes for 48 yards before getting injured.

The Yellow Jackets finished with 523 total yards, the most they have produced since Nov. 3, 2018, at North Carolina, and they posted a season high for points. Jordan Mason ran 21 times for 105 yards and Dontae Smith rushed for 60 yards and two touchdowns, of 36 and 22 yards. The Yellow Jackets rushed for 377 yards.

The Georgia Tech defense forced four fumbles, one by Jordan Domineck that he recovered in the end zone for a touchdown just before the half that gave the Yellow Jackets a 28-23 lead they never relinquished. Tariq Carpenter recorded his first interception of the season, and Georgia Tech allowed only 68 rushing yards.

Duke (2-7, 1-7) was led by quarterback Chase Brice, who completed 19 of 40 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns, a 30-yarder to Mataeo Durant and a 28-yarder to Jarett Garner. However, Brice was sacked four times and threw an interception. Durant carried 15 times for 50 yards and one touchdown.

Duke’s other touchdown came when Shaka Heyward recovered a fumbled first-quarter punt in the end zone.

The contest ended a long period of inactivity for both teams. Georgia Tech had not played since Oct. 31 and Duke’s last game was Nov. 7.

Georgia Tech broke a three-game losing streak to Duke and now leads the series 52-35-1.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2020; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets receiver Ahmarean Brown (2) runs the ball for a touchdown during the second half against the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech looks for more nighttime magic vs. Duke

Georgia Tech will try to extend its streak of success in home games played at night when the Yellow Jackets host Duke on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta.

Georgia Tech (2-5, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won four straight night games at home, including a 46-27 victory over Louisville on Oct. 9. The Yellow Jackets have won seven consecutive Saturday night home games, a streak that dates back to 2011.

But Duke (2-6, 1-6) has won the last three meetings in the series, including 41-23 last year in Durham, NC. The Blue Devils trail the all-time series 51-35-1, but have won five of the last six.

It has been a while since either team was on the field. Duke last played on Nov. 7 and dropped a 56-24 decision to rival North Carolina. The Blue Devils trailed 28-0 to start the game and 42-10 at halftime. Georgia Tech hasn’t played since Oct. 31, a 31-13 loss to Notre Dame.

The Yellow Jackets had games against Pittsburgh and Miami (Fla.) postponed and rescheduled because of COVID-19. Duke had a game with Wake Forest canceled for the same reason.

“They’ve had a month off. I don’t know how much they’ve adjusted or changed,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. “It feels more like a bowl game (as far as timing). You hope you take care of the ball and play well early. It will have more that feeling than anything else.”

Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins, who played more than a dozen true freshmen against Notre Dame, said, “Our guys are working hard. It’s a crazy situation. We’re just trying to keep having fun and getting better every single day.”

Georgia Tech’s offense is led by freshman quarterback Jeff Sims, who has thrown for 1,346 yards and eight touchdowns while rushing for 277 yards and four scores. Despite his inconsistencies, Sims has shown enough potential that James Graham, who started nine games last season, announced he was entering the transfer portal.

The Yellow Jackets have depth at running back in freshman Jahmyr Gibbs (369 yards rushing, 20 catches for 255 yards), Dontae Smith (193 yards) and Jamious Griffin (161 yards). Jordan Mason, last year’s leading rusher, is finally healthy from an injury that has limited him to three games and 27 carries.

Georgia Tech’s top defenders are linebackers Quez Jackson (57 tackles, 4 1/2 tackles for loss) and David Curry (53 tackles, 5 1/2 tackles for loss). But the Yellow Jackets have struggled to get to the opposing quarterback and have only 13 sacks.

Duke’s offense is led by junior quarterback Chase Brice, a transfer from Clemson. Brice, who grew up in the Northeast Atlanta suburbs, has thrown for 1,722 yards and seven touchdowns. He threw for 155 yards against the Tar Heels, but was sacked three times.

The Blue Devils have a solid one-two punch at running back with Deon Jackson (580 yards, four TDs) and Mataeo Durant (592 yards, six TDs). The top pass-catchers are tight end Noah Gray (26 catches, 9.5 yard average), along with receivers Jake Bobo (23 catches, 11.9 yards) and Jalon Calhoun (25 catches, 10.3 yards).

The Duke defense is anchored by ends Chris Rumph II (7 1/2 sacks, 10 tackles for loss) and Victor Dimukeje (7 1/2 sacks, 8 1/2 tackles for loss). They are the school’s first teammates to post 7 1/2 sacks together in the same single season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) passes against the North Carolina State Wolfpack during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pitt places confidence in Pickett vs. Georgia Tech

When Pitt faces Georgia Tech on Saturday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta, the Panthers feel confident they will have the difference-maker.

That would be senior quarterback Kenny Pickett.

Pickett missed two games because of a left ankle injury, then returned last week to lead Pitt (4-4, 3-4 ACC) to a 41-17 blowout win at Florida State, ending the team’s four-game losing streak.

Against the Seminoles, Pickett was 21 of 27 passing for 210 yards despite not being back to full health.

“When Kenny Pickett is in the game, it’s a different ballgame whether he can scramble or not,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said. “Again, he wasn’t full go, and I think he came out of that game feeling really good, which is a positive, so he’ll be a week healthier this week as we go, and then maybe there’s some opportunities to run him a little bit more if we have to.”

Despite missing the two games, Pickett has passed for 1,599 yards and eight touchdowns, with three interceptions. He is completing 62.3 percent of his throws.

Georgia Tech (2-5, 2-4), which is coming off a 31-13 loss to Notre Dame on Halloween, has a quarterback to watch, too.

Freshman Jeff Sims has completed 55.9 percent of his throws for 1,346 yards and eight touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He understands he needs to be more consistent, something the Yellow Jackets worked on during their off week.

“We tend to hurt ourselves a lot, and we can’t do that,” Sims said.

Narduzzi recruited Sims out of Jacksonville and likes the upside for the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder.

“I think he’s going to be sharp, and he’s got a nice arm,” Narduzzi said. “He’s smooth. He knows he can read coverages. You see him look off stuff — he’ll go over here and go from one, two, three, so you see him reading the field. He’s not just throwing (run-pass options). But they will throw some RPOs for sure this weekend.”

The Panthers are 4-1 against Georgia Tech under Narduzzi. Last year’s 10-point Pitt win, 20-10, was the largest margin of those five games. In two other meetings, the Panthers had a game-winning field goal.

If Georgia Tech, a young team, can break through this time against Pitt, it could go a long way toward making the team’s rebuilding effort seem more successful, especially coming off a tough loss to a Fighting Irish team that was ranked No. 4 when they played.

“I still have high spirits for this team,” Yellow Jackets safety Juanyeh Thomas said.

It’s the second year in a row Pitt is playing this game on the road, a product of the conference’s revamped schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’ll be a tough game. It was a tough game a year ago when we went down there, and I guess we have to go to Georgia two years in a row,” Narduzzi said. “I don’t know how that plays out with the ACC scheduling in the future, but I hope they have to come to Pittsburgh two years in a row, as well.”

For the Yellow Jackets, receiver Ryan King sustained a season-ending undisclosed injury against Notre Dame, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Ian Book (12) looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Fighting Irish won 45-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Book helps No. 4 Notre Dame cruise past Georgia Tech

Ian Book threw for 199 yards and one touchdown and Kyren Williams ran for two touchdowns to help No. 4 Notre Dame to a 31-13 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday in Atlantic Coast Conference play at Atlanta.

Book completed 18 of 26 passes and improved his record to 26-3 as a starter for Notre Dame (6-0, 5-0 ACC). He directed the methodical Fighting Irish offense to 426 total yards. Williams carried 15 times for 76 of the team’s 227 rushing yards.

Georgia Tech (2-5, 2-4) had no luck against the veteran Notre Dame defense, which had five sacks and nine tackles for loss, and dropped its third straight decision. Notre Dame’s Daelin Hayes had five tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one quarterback hurry.

Yellow Jackets quarterback Jeff Sims completed 15 of 26 passes for 150 yards. Jahmyr Gibbs led the team with 61 yards rushing on 14 carries and had five catches for 49 yards.

Notre Dame opened the game with a 15-play 81-yard drive that culminated with Book’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Joe Wilkins Jr. Book was 8-for-8 passing on the drive.

Later, the Irish drove to the Georgia Tech 13-yard line, but Williams had the ball knocked loose by Juanyeh Thomas and it was recovered and returned 93 yards by Zamari Walton to tie the game. It was the longest fumble return in school history.

Notre Dame responded with a 75-play drive capped by Williams’ 2-yard run and tacked on a 32-yard field goal from Jonathan Doerer for a 17-7 halftime lead.

Williams added a 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Georgia native C’Bo Flemister scored on a 3-yard run early in the fourth to stretch Notre Dame’s lead to 31-7.

Georgia Tech produced an offensive touchdown midway in the fourth quarter with Jordan Mason scoring from the 1.

The win sets up a showdown for Notre Dame against No. 1 Clemson on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2020; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) looks to make a pass during their game against Virginia at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Lawrence returns to Atlanta, leading No. 1 Clemson at Tech

Two years ago, with his team’s offense struggling in the second quarter at Georgia Tech, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney sent a freshman quarterback into the game. Four touchdown passes later the Tigers had claimed a 49-21 victory and the rest is history.

One day later, Trevor Lawrence was named the team’s starting quarterback and the Tigers are 29-1 since then, with a national championship and two ACC titles to their credit. And this season, Lawrence is the favorite for the 2020 Heisman Trophy while leading the No. 1 team in college football.

“It was a tough bus ride home for me because I knew it was going to be a tough conversation (with incumbent quarterback Kelly Bryant),” Swinney said. “But that’s my job, and I knew it was the right thing to do for the team.

“Trevor’s an amazing player and he was just clearly the best guy. What he’s done since then is incredible.”

Lawrence, who played high school ball just outside of Atlanta, returns with the Tigers to Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday. It will likely be his final game as a collegian in his home state, when No. 1 Clemson (4-0, 3-0 ACC) faces Georgia Tech (2-2, 2-1).

The game marks the first time that Georgia Tech will host the nation’s top-ranked team since Nov. 8, 1980, when the Yellow Jackets battled No. 1 Notre Dame to a 3-3 tie.

“We’re excited to play such a big-time opponent,” second-year Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins said. “The margin for error against such great players and coaches is very thin.”

Particularly when two of the players are Lawrence and backfield mate Travis Etienne, the two-time reigning ACC Player of the Year.

“They obviously are two of the elite players in all of college football,” Collins said. “So, we understand the work we’ve got cut out for us, not only in the passing game but in the running game.”

While Lawrence has 10 touchdown passes and has thrown 355 passes without an interception — the second-longest streak in ACC history — Etienne has emerged as another key option in the passing game for Lawrence. In the past two games, Etienne has 13 receptions for 187 yards.

Georgia Tech could provide some challenges, however. The Yellow Jackets are coming off a decisive 46-27 victory against Louisville, which even their record at 2-2 and moved them within one victory of matching last season’s total.

Freshman quarterback Jeff Sims passed for 249 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 64 more and another score against Louisville as the Yellow Jackets rallied from a 21-7 deficit.

“He’s a good one,” Swinney said. “He’s big, he’s athletic, got a really good arm. He’s their leading rusher and he’s not afraid to push the ball down the field.

“He’s just a guy who’s going to get better and better. He can make any throw. He’s got a bright future. He’s a guy we’ve got to do a great job of containing.”

Clemson is attempting to win a 26th consecutive game against ACC opponents, as well as extending its winning streak in regular-season games to 34 in a row, which already is the longest streak in ACC history.

“Their roster is filled with great players,” Collins said. “You look at their personnel on both sides of the ball and they’ve got great players all across the roster. We know we’ve got a big challenge.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head coach Geoff Collins looks on against the Syracuse Orange during the fourth quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Big fourth quarter drives Georgia Tech past Louisville

Georgia Tech turned three Louisville turnovers into touchdowns, outscored the Cardinals 20-0 in the fourth quarter and broke its two-game losing streak with a 46-27 win on Friday in Atlanta.

The Yellow Jackets (2-2, 2-1 ACC) put the game away with three fourth-quarter touchdowns, a 19-yard pass from Jeff Sims to freshman Jahmyr Gibbs, a 34-yard pass from Sims to Malachi Carter, and a 12-yard run by Dontae Smith.

Sims, a true freshman, completed 11 of 21 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns and rushed seven times for 64 yards and one touchdown. Gibbs ran 13 times for 61 yards and one touchdown and caught a touchdown pass.

Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham completed 19 of 33 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 14 times for 50 yards and two touchdowns. Javian Hawkins carried 26 times for 155 yards for the Cardinals (1-3, 0-3 ACC).

After enduring 10 turnovers in its last two games, Georgia Tech did not give it up on Friday.

Georgia Tech took a 7-0 lead by capitalizing on Jerry Howard’s fake punt that set up a 12-yard scoring run by Gibbs.

Following an exchange of punts, Louisville reeled off three consecutive touchdowns, as Georgia Tech had trouble stopping the Cardinals on third down. Cunningham threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Marshon Ford, ran for a 2-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal, and connected with Tutu Atwell on play action for a 26-yard touchdown.

Georgia Tech scrambled downfield in 49 seconds to grab a touchdown before halftime. Sims rolled left and flipped to receiver Ahmarean Brown, who threw a 9-yard scoring pass to Jalen Camp that cut the lead to 21-14.

Georgia Tech took the lead when Griffin scored on a 3-yard run, but the extra point was blocked. The Yellow Jackets scored after Tech’s Bruce Jordan-Swilling caused a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. That led to a 22-yard touchdown run by Sims and a 26-21 lead.

Louisville regained the lead on a 12-play drive that concluded when Cunningham scored on an 11-yard run, putting the Cardinals ahead 27-26 with 32 seconds left in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media