Tech’s only score of the game was on a 10-yard pass from quarterback TaQuon Marshall to wide receiver Ricky Jeune in the second quarter, and Jeune made another big play by dragging safety Dominick Sanders 12 yards after the catch for a 28-yard gain. But that was about all for Tech. Marshall tried some deep balls in hopes of finding big plays, but was unsuccessful.
The UGA run game was as good as advertised. Ranked No. 9 nationally in rushing yards per game (267.4 yards per game), the Bulldogs pummeled the Jackets for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Running backs Sony Michel and Nick Chubb often ran through big holes in the Tech line, which was primed to stop them. Missed tackles were a problem as Tech defenders sometimes had Chubb and Michel lined up at the line or behind it only to have them run through them. On Michel’s four-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that may have put the game out of reach, the Tech defense plugged the middle to force him wide, where he stiff-armed linebacker Victor Alexander and then cut back on cornerback Lance Austin to reach the end zone.
Quarterback Jake Fromm almost always had time to throw, and predictable results ensued. He finished the game 12 for 16 for 224 yards and two scores. By opponent passing efficiency rating (233.9), it was easily Tech’s worst game of the season.
Tech gave up, again, a scoring drive to end the first half. Taking possession on its 20-yard line with 42 seconds left, the Bulldogs needed only six plays (including a spike to kill the clock) to hit a 37-yard field goal as time expired. The drive apparently infuriated Johnson, who told Tech sideline reporter Wiley Ballard, “I tried to run the clock all the way down. I guess 40 seconds was too much.”
Once again, the return game was not impactful. Jerry Howard’s two returns reached the 21-yard line and the 12-yard line, the latter of which was advanced to the 27-yard line after a personal foul on the Bulldogs. The Jackets also averted disaster when Howard misplayed the opening kickoff, which was initially placed at the Tech 1-yard line before being ruled a touchback.
UGA’s potent return game took its toll, as Mecole Hardman sped through the Jackets for 40 yards on three punt returns and a 29-yard runback on his only kickoff return.