Georgia Tech wide receiver Ricky Jeune (2) and quarterback TaQuon Marshall (16) celebrate a first half touchdown during the Jackets’ home opener against Jacksonville State at Bobby Dodd Stadium Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Atlanta.
Photo: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com
Photo: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com

Tech wins big, though it took a while to get going

As FBS-vs.-FCS goes, this was interesting -- until Jacksonville State started giving the ball away. The Gamecocks led Georgia Tech, last seen gaining 655 yards and scoring 41 points in a game it didn’t win, 7-3 and had a first down at their 49 with 1:40 left in the first half. Whereupon you thought, “Hmm.” 

Georgia Tech 37, Jacksonville State 10

Then Bryant Horn threw a pass to Lawrence Austin, who plays for Tech. (He’d jumped the route, as they say in the trade.) The game changed. The Yellow Jackets scored a quick touchdown – TaQuon Marshall finding Ricky Jeune, who was jostling with a defender in the end zone – to lead 10-7 at the break. On Monday night, they’d been unlucky not to be up 17-0 after two quarters against Tennessee. Here they were fortunate to be ahead at all. 

Tech was outgained 144 to 140 in this first half. Marshall, who rushed for 249 yards against a team from the big, bad SEC, managed 25 -- a dropoff of 224, which will delight the folks in Knoxville -- against Jax State. Might want to put that Heisman Trophy campaign on simmer.

Two more unforced Horn turnovers – another throw to nobody-except-a-Jacket, then a fumble when he ran into one of his linemen – gave Tech short fields. Two more Marshall touchdown passes sealed the deal. The Jackets won 37-10 without playing particularly well, which can happen against a decent FCS team in a short week when you’re coming off a horrendous loss.

They’ll need to do better against Central Florida in Orlando next week. But you knew that already.

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