J.J. Green boosts Jackets with kickoff return for score

AJC photo by Hyosub Shin

Combined ShapeCaption
AJC photo by Hyosub Shin

Georgia Tech returner J.J. Green gave the Yellow Jackets a lift in the second quarter by returning a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown against Pittsburgh Saturday.

It was Tech’s first touchdown scored on a kickoff return since Jamel Golden’s return against North Carolina in Nov. 2012. After receiving the kickoff at the 4-yard line, Green made a move on the first defender, then bounced it to the home sideline and then outran Pitt’s coverage.

Tre Jackson, Chase Alford and Clinton Lynch were among those throwing blocks to clear Green’s path down the sideline. Jalen Johnson cleared the final defender for Green, shoving Tre Tipton out of the way to allow Green to cut back to the middle of the field.

The touchdown answered Pitt’s touchdown drive and cut the score to 14-10 with 12:04 left in the second quarter.

Coincidentally, the special-teams coordinator at the time of the last return for a touchdown was watching from the press box. Dave Walkosky, who was Tech’s special-teams coach in the 2012-13, was at the game scouting on behalf of the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.

A second coincidence: Green wears the same No. 28 jersey that former Tech cornerback D.J. White wore when he made another game-changing play against Pitt two years ago at Heinz Field, chasing down Panthers running back James Conner to strip him of the ball and force a touchback in the same end zone.