Jackets dinged again for touchdown on opening drive

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)

Georgia Tech made it five games in a row that it has allowed the opposition to score on the first possession of the game. Pittsburgh took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in a mere six plays to take a 7-0 lead.

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.”

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