STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Georgia Tech’s defense entered Saturday’s game allowing opponents only 106 yards rushing per game, second-best in the ACC.
Mississippi State’s Anthony Dixon had exactly that total for the game. The Bulldogs rushed for 209 yards on the evening, and despite their 42-31 victory, Georgia Tech proved to be susceptible against the run.
“We acted like we had never seen the option before,” said Tech coach Paul Johnson. “Everybody was looking in the backfield and nobody was playing their keys.”
State’s offense outgained the Yellow Jackets with 487 yards, the most surrendered this season by Tech. Miami had 454 yards in the Jackets’ only loss of the season, 33-17 on Sept. 17.
Dixon’s yardage was the most allowed by the Jackets this season. The previous high was 93 yards by Graig Cooper of Miami. Dixon picked up 103 of his yards in the first half but was limited to 3 in the second.
“We made some corrections in the locker room at halftime and got that corrected,” said senior linebacker Sedric Griffin.
Tech had surrendered only one rushing touchdown on the season but gave up a pair to the Bulldogs.
The Jackets’ defense forced five turnovers, including four fumbles, that they cashed into 21 points. Cornerback Jerrard Tarrant scooped up a fumble and raced 40 yards for the score in the second quarter.
Tech also gave up 278 passing yards, but a late interception by cornerback Mario Butler off a tipped pass sealed the deal with 28 seconds remaining.
Tech had only one sack -- when defensive end Anthony Egbuniwe got to Tyson Lee in the first quarter, forcing a fumble and setting up the Jackets’ first score.
Griffin led the charge on defense with 10 tackles, and both Egbuniwe and linebacker Brad Jefferson forced two fumbles.
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