To restore confidence against, admittedly, a team rated by one metric as the 10th worst in FBS, was presumably well worth the $900,000 guarantee paid to Bowling Green (1-4).
“In our heads, we’re supposed to do that,” said linebacker David Curry, who contributed one of the takeaways with an end-zone interception in the fourth quarter. “We’re supposed to go out there and dominate.”
Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall, who struggled in both the option and pass game in the past three weeks, made the right reads on option plays, pitched the ball cleanly on and was on-target in limited opportunities when firing the ball downfield. Marshall, who had completed 43.9 percent of his passes and thrown four interceptions in 57 pass attempts thus far, was 5-for-6 for 160 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Johnson seemed intent to get Marshall going by calling for a pass on Tech’s first offensive play. He answered with a tight, on-target spiral to wide receiver Jalen Camp on a sideline route for a 33-yard pickup.
“I just tried to put the ball in the place where only he could catch it,” Marshall said. “It came up to be a big play, and it kind of got our offense rolling in the first half.”
Tech gave up 10 points on the first three possessions on drives measuring a total of 139 yards as the Falcons’ Air Raid offense produced a string of completions and first downs on quick-hitting routes.
But, benefiting from advantageous field position – Bowling Green started only one drive past its 25-yard line – the Jackets gave up only seven points after that. Even removing the negative yards that the Falcons accrued in two sacks and a 17-yard loss on a mishandled snap, Tech largely was sound in its run defense, with its longest rush permitted going for 14 yards.
The defensive play of the game might have been produced in the fourth quarter by defensive end Anree Saint-Amour, who tracked a pass deflected by defensive end Desmond Branch, caught it at the Bowling Green 3-yard line and ran it in for his first interception and score of his career.
Tech returns to ACC play Friday at Louisville. After stopping a three-game losing streak, the Jackets now will seek to end a seven-game losing streak away from Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“We’ve got to go to Louisville now and win an ACC game on the road and we’re back to even, and we’ll play the last half of the season and see where it goes,” Johnson said.