October 21, 2017 Atlanta - Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall (16) fakes hand-off to Georgia Tech running back KirVonte Benson (30) in the second half of an NCAA college football game at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Georgia Tech beat Wake Forest 38-24. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/Hyosub Shin/AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/Hyosub Shin/AJC

Paul Johnson praises play of KirVonte Benson, TaQuon Marshall

Before the likely final regular-season game of the season, Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson took the occasion to look back at the seasons of quarterback TaQuon Marshall and B-back KirVonte Benson and offer his commendation.

Before the start of the season, “the big question marks were quarterback and B-back because you had guys who hadn’t played – at least on offense,” Johnson said Wednesday after the team’s third practice of the week for the Georgia game Saturday. “I think both those guys have acquitted themselves well.”

Marshall and Benson rank third and fourth, respectively, in the ACC in rushing yardage per game with 107.4 and 100.9 yards. There have been two players in Johnson’s 10-year tenure who have averaged 100 rushing yards per game, B-back Jonathan Dwyer in 2008 and B-back Anthony Allen in 2010.

They also both reached 1,000 rushing yards in Saturday’s loss to Duke, a milestone only five players in the Johnson era have passed – Dwyer in 2008 and 2009, quarterback Joshua Nesbitt in 2009, Allen in 2010 and quarterback Justin Thomas in 2014.

The two were first-year starters and relative unknowns going into the season. Matthew Jordan had been expected to be the starter at quarterback, but his foot injury in spring practice gave Marshall the opening to take the job. Dedrick Mills led the team in rushing as a freshman last season, but was dismissed from the team in August for violating athletic-department policy.

Both Marshall and Benson are candidates for All-ACC recognition.

“Could they do some things better?” Johnson asked. “For sure. Everybody can. We all can. For the big part, both of them, to have reached 1,000 yards in 10 games, they’ve done some really good things.”

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