September 20, 2008
Georgia Tech wrecks Bulldogs, 38-7
ATLANTA - Much was said coming into Saturday's contest about the triple option attack of Georgia Tech.
And the Yellow Jackets did not disappoint racking up 438 yards rushing and five touchdowns in a 38-7 rout of Mississippi State.
"I was always taught that there was going to be days like this," said Mississippi State right tackle Quenton Saulsberry.
Altogether Georgia Tech totaled 500 yards offensively to improve to 3-1 on the season.
"I was proud of our football team today," said Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson. "That was a good win for us. Mississippi State came in here today as a very powerful defensive team and they've got a good football team. I think we got some big plays on them, got some mismatches and created some things with some formations."
Justin Dwyer led the Ramblin' Wreck attack with 141 yards rushing on nine carries and touchdown.
"I ran the option offense in high school and you've got to read your keys," said State safety [db]Derek Pegues. "If one man slips up, it can be a touchdown anytime. They just made plays and we didn't."
Jaybo Shaw accumulated 104 yards of offense and two touchdowns after taking over for starter Calvin Booker on the first drive. Shaw ran for 63 yards on nine attempts and a score and was also 3-of-7 passing for 43 yards and another touchdown.
Demaryous Thomas was the leading Yellow Jacket receiver with a pair of catches for 23 yards and a touchdown.
Georgia Tech wasted little time getting on the scoreboard taking their opening drive 79-yards, all on the ground. The Yellow Jackets strung together 11-plays and found the end zone on a 7-yard touchdown run by Embry Peeples on a pitch sweep to the left. Scott Blair kicked the point after for the early 7-0 lead.
The Bulldog offense took the field and quickly picked up a first down before disaster struck. J.C. Brignone misfired a shotgun snap straight up in the air that was recovered by Michael Johnson at the MSU 40- yard line.
"I think he must have thought I was under center because of the angle it came up at," said Mississippi State quarterback Wesley Carroll. "That's something we've got to correct because you can't let that happen especially in a crucial time on the first drive."
Georgia Tech capitalized on the turnover putting together another scoring drive on four plays. Shaw's desperation heave towards the end zone was dove and caught by Thomas for a 20-yard score with 2:07 on the clock in the first quarter.
"He made a great catch," Shaw said. "I knew that they were in man coverage and I just threw it up there to Bay-Bay, and that's what he does-he makes great catches."
Blair kicked the PAT for a 14-0 lead.
The Bulldogs bounced right back on their first play from scrimmage on a 71-yard jaunt by Anthony Dixon down to the 9-yard line.
(If I was healthy) I think I would have stretched it out on them and been in the end zone," Dixon said. "But he caught me so it is what it is."
Mississippi State drove even closer down to the 1-yard line. But the drive stalled after the Yellow Jacket defense stuffed Dixon on 3rd-and-goal and Adam Carlson came on for an 18-yard field goal attempt. The kick was blocked by Johnson to preserve the score.
"With the ball on the one-foot line and Dixon going over the top, we ain't never not made that," Croom said. "I just can't believe we lost yardage on it and then we get the field goal blocked. With Dixon over the top for a foot, I'd bet a lot on that but we didn't get it done."
After stopping MSU on 4th-and-1 to start the second quarter, the Yellow Jackets went back to work and padded their lead with a 25-yard option keeper to the left by Shaw with 7:55 on the clock. Blair booted the extra point for a 21-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs offense took the field once more but turned the ball over on its first play. Carroll rolled out on a bootleg to the left but fired too high for a wide-open Brandon McRae. McRae tipped the pass into the air and it was picked off by Jahi Word-Daniels.
State made one final attempt to get on the board before halftime. The Bulldogs went 65-yards on 15 plays and converting five first downs but the drive was stalled by two consecutive false starts on the offensive line. The drive came to a screeching halt on 3rd-and-16 from the Tech 17 when Carroll was picked off on the 1-yard line by Morgan Burnett to keep Mississippi State scoreless.
The Yellow Jackets offense picked up right where it left off to start the second half. On their first play from scrimmage, Dwyer caught an option pitched and raced 88-yards down the right sideline for the longest run in school history. Blair kicked the point after for a 28-0 lead.
MSU tried to spice up their offense by substituting Tyson Lee in at quarterback on the ensuing possession but to no avail. Lee was sacked on the first play from scrimmage followed by a three-and-out series and a punt.
The Yellow Jackets kept themselves from adding another touchdown on the next drive. After driving down to the 2-yard line, Shaw snuck it in but the play was called back on a chop block and Georgia Tech had to settle for a 29-yard field goal bring the score to 31-0 with 7:05 remaining in the third.
After stopping the Bulldogs on 4th-and-1 from the MSU 31-yard line, Georgia Tech tacked on their fifth touchdown of the afternoon early in the fourth quarter when Greg Smith took an option pitch 45-yards down the left sideline for the score. Blair added the PAT for a 38-0 advantage.
State finally got on the scoreboard after a 47-yard kickoff return by Pegues to set the offense up at midfield. Lee led the offense the rest of the way in seven plays with Robert Elliott putting the only Bulldog points up on the afternoon with a 6-yard draw. Carlson added the extra point with 8:09 remaining in the game.
The Yellow Jackets attempted to tack on a late field goal but Mohammed Yahiaoui's 37-yard attempt clanked off the left upright no good.
The Bulldogs put together one more scoring opportunity at the end of the game going 66-yards in 16 plays but Lee was sacked again on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line to end the contest.
Sedric Griffin led Georgia Tech defensively with eight stops while Jason Peters had two sacks and Johnson added a sack, fumble recovery and a blocked field goal.
"From what we have studied on film, (Johnson) is a heck of an athlete," Carroll said. "He has one of those freakish bodies, 6-foot-7, 260-pounds. He's just a great athlete and they had a real strong pass rush."
MSU ran 80 plays on offense for 407 total yards. The Bulldogs had 299 yards through the air and 108 on the ground.
"I'm read disappointed in the way we performed today," Croom said. "I'll look at the film before I evaluate my players but before anything else right now, I'll evaluate myself. I know we are a better football team that that, but we're not showing it on the field."
Dixon led State in the rushing department with 94 yards on 13 totes.
"I was banged up," Dixon said. "I was probably about 80-percent but I was out there playing football."
Lee finished the day 17-of-27 passing for 179 yards playing most of the second half. Carroll completed 14-of-22 for 120 yards and two interceptions.
"It doesn't matter who is in there, we've just got to find a way to win," Carroll said. "Even if we have to put a running back or a wide receiver back there, it doesn't matter because we've got to find a way to win."
McRae led the receiving corps with 10 catches for 102 yards.
"He's a phenomenal athlete and a great player," Carroll said. "He studies the game well and is always where he needs to be on the play. He's just a huge asset. He's played real well and I think all the receivers have rallied around that."
K.J. Wright paced the Bulldogs defensively with six tackles and 1.5 stops for loss. Pegues and De'Mon Glanton also added six tackles.
Bo Walters had the only State sack.
The Bulldogs fall to 1-3 with the loss and travel to LSU on Saturday.
"It's real important for (the players) to come back out next week and work to get better because we've got another big game next week," Croom said. "This one is over and we can't do anything about it except learn from the mistakes. Right now we just keep making the same mistakes over and over again."
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