Brian O’Neill #70 of the Pittsburgh Panthers rushes for a 24-yard touchdown in the first half during the game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on October 8, 2016 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Jackets dinged again for touchdown on opening drive

The Panthers succeeded by running a string of misdirection plays at the Yellow Jackets for big gains. The last was the most punitive. Quarterback Nathan Peterman rolled to his right and then threw a backwards pass across the field to offensive tackle Brian O’Neill, who was wide open and charged into the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown run.

Pittsburgh joined Mercer, Vanderbilt, Clemson and Miami in scoring on its first series of the game.

Coming into the game, the Panthers had themselves scored opening-drive touchdowns in three of their first five games.

Tech was resolved to stop the trend going into the game. Defensive end Rod Rook-Chungong called it “embarrassing.” Defensive coordinator Ted Roof said that the defense had not done a good job adjusting to Miami and Clemson’s up-tempo pace and needed to be ready.

“We can’t be the nail,” Chungong said. “We’ve got to be the hammer on the first series.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.