ATLANTA - Full of momentum and humming with efficiency, Georgia Tech was stopped cold by Duke on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets, who had threshed their past two opponents for 129 points and 1,086 yards, were quieted by the Blue Devils in a 28-14 defeat at Bobby Dodd Stadium, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Duke brought a defense far more prepared to stop the Jackets than had Bowling Green and Louisville. Tech, which had scored on 16 of 18 possessions (not counting clock-killing drives to end the game) against the Falcons and Cardinals, were stymied from the start. Tech went scoreless on its first five possessions, twice getting stopped on fourth-and-short.
Duke’s defense bottled up Tech’s run game, allowing only one run play of more than 20 yards. Coupled with disadvantageous field position – the Jackets started 10 of 12 possessions at their 35 or inside – the Jackets could not sustain long drives.
Tech (3-4, 1-3 ACC) took a step back with the defeat and most likely removed itself from the ACC Coastal race. Duke (5-1, 1-1) has now won four of the past five matchups with the Jackets, a run of success it has not enjoyed since winning four in a row over Tech 1980-83. The Jackets go into their open date with their next game at Virginia Tech on Oct. 25.
After not turning the ball over in the two games against Bowling Green and Louisville and fumbling just twice, Tech fumbled six times and lost three of them. The turnovers came in a quick sequence that turned the game Duke’s way.
In the final two minutes of the third quarter, the Jackets improbably lost the ball on fumbles on three consecutive plays.
With the score tied at 7-7, Tech put together a modest drive, starting at its 9-yard line and reaching its 49 in five plays. A time-consuming touchdown drive could give Tech a 14-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. However, the Jackets lost the ball on a fumble by B-back Jerry Howard, giving the Blue Devils the ball on their 43-yard line.
Duke converted the turnover with a five-play touchdown drive for a 14-7 lead. Tech took possession at its 35 after the kickoff went out of bounds. On Tech’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback TaQuon Marshall fumbled as he was tackled, again returning the ball to Duke. The Blue Devils found the end zone again for a 21-7 lead with 15 seconds left in the quarter.
Tech returned Juanyeh Thomas tried to fight for extra yards, but was stripped of the ball, which Duke recovered at the Tech 6-yard line. Duke needed only one play to get into the end zone on a fade pass from Daniel Jones – his third touchdown pass in 1:49 – to advance the lead to an insurmountable 28-7.
The Jackets attempted a rally after that – Marshall was replaced by Tobias Oliver after the senior left the game with an upper-body injury – but lost the ball on downs with 1:13 to play at the Duke 25.
Wasted in the afternoon was a fine performance by defensive end Anree Saint-Amour, who had two sacks, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry, which led to an interception by cornerback Lamont Simmons.
That turnover generated Tech’s only touchdown in the first three quarters, a 32-yard scoring pass from Marshall to freshman wide receiver Malachi Carter that tied the game at 7 with 54 seconds left in the second quarter.
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