Encouraging signs in blowout win for Georgia Tech

It would be less than wise to conclude that the dominance that Georgia Tech demonstrated against Alcorn State on Thursday night answered all of the Yellow Jackets’ question marks going into the season. Alcorn State, after all, came to Atlanta representing one of the weakest leagues in FCS.

But, at the least, No. 16 Tech’s 69-6 romp over the Braves didn’t send up red flags.

The Tech defense, which was among the weakest in the country on third down last season, prevented the Braves from converting a third-down play on their first eight tries. By game’s end, Alcorn State was 2-for-16 on third downs. The pass rush, often only bringing the four-man line, hurried quarterback John Gibbs Jr.

In the first half, Alcorn State ran 31 plays and gained 81 yards. Tech continued its takeaway clip from last season, picking up three more, two in the first half when the starters were still in the game.

“As a whole, I think we did pretty well,” said cornerback Chris Milton, who picked off Gibbs on third down of Alcorn State’s first drive to set up Tech’s second touchdown. “They didn’t score many points, so I think we did our job, but I think we can always get better.”

B-back Patrick Skov, making his Tech debut after transferring as a graduate student from Stanford, looked the part. Running low to the ground behind his shoulder pads and breaking tackles, he gave the Alcorn State linebackers all they could want. He showed his value on Tech’s second score of the game. On a second-and-goal from the 3 midway through the first quarter, Skov took a handoff and met linebacker Darien Anderson in the hole around the 2-yard line. Skov won the battle of force, driving Anderson back into the end zone for a touchdown, one of three he scored in the game. His 12 carries (for 72 yards) nearly matched his three-year total at Stanford (14, for 25 yards).

“I’ve never had 12 carries in a game, and that was probably in a half,” Skov said. “So, it’s like I said, it’s a unique opportunity, but I’m glad I’ve been able to come here and be a part of this team.”

Defensive tackle Jabari Hunt, making his first appearance since 2013 after missing last season because of academic ineligibility, was often stalemated by Alcorn State guard Toto’a Leilua, though he had frequent double-team help. It’s likely that Hunt will need time to kick off rust and adjust to a new position. His one tackle did show hustle — on a quick pass to the sideline, Hunt disengaged from a block and chased down running back Darryan Ragsdale to limit him to a 2-yard gain.