Gibbs left the game in the second quarter after falling untouched at the end of a 42-yard catch-and-run pass reception. Gibbs was on pace for what could have been the most productive game of his career, with 91 rushing yards and 48 receiving yards in less than a half of play.
He was on crutches on the Tech sideline in the second half. In seven games, Gibbs has proved to be a dynamic playmaker, ranking fourth in the ACC in all-purpose yards at 138.3 yards per game. His 11 runs or receptions of 20 yards or more are tied for eighth in the ACC. He leads Tech in both rushing yards (460) and receptions (24), as well as touchdowns (seven).
Offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude did confirm that running back Jamious Griffin, who has been out for at least the past two games with an injury, will be available against N.C. State.
“Jamious is back healthy now, he’ll be back in the mix,” Patenaude said, “We just continue to roll those guys through.”
Running back is Tech’s deepest position, as Mason — a third-team All-ACC pick last season — and Smith showed Saturday. Patenaude described Smith as, among other things, the Energizer Bunny, “electric fast” and having “race-car quicks.”
Against Duke, Smith’s quickness paired well with Mason’s brute force, as the former broke free for runs of 36 and 22 yards.
“That gives us a little bit different look,” Patenaude said. “Because we’re pounding ‘em with J.P., and wearing ‘em out, wearing ‘em out, wearing ‘em out. And then Dontae comes in, and if you’re a defender, and you don’t know that quickness and that ability to get to top-end speed very quickly, that’s a little bit of a change-up and they weren’t ready for it.”