Yates finished the game 17-for-23 passing for 254 yards and four touchdowns, becoming the first Tech quarterback to throw four touchdown passes in his first career start. Sims watched from the sidelines, his left arm heavily wrapped. Sims, who was knocked out of the Northern Illinois game, was available only on an emergency basis. His availability for Saturday’s game against No. 6 Clemson is uncertain.
“It was real fun,” Yates said. “(My teammates) made my job really easy (Saturday) across the board.”
It was a critical win for Tech and coach Geoff Collins, whose leadership of the team in his third season came under severe question from the fan base following the loss to Northern Illinois.
“It was difficult, but I was very proud – the coaching staff that we have, the leadership that we’ve developed and we’ve built in this program, the resilience, the focus – all of those things were on display this week,” Collins said.
Until a fourth-quarter lapse, Tech (1-1) played a cleaner and more efficient game than it did in the opener, when missed chances cost the Jackets at least 17 points in the 22-21 loss. After missing two-field goal tries last week, kicker Brent Cimaglia made his only field-goal attempt of the game, from 31 yards in the second quarter. Yates repeatedly hit downfield throws, an area where Sims struggled last week. The Jackets scored four touchdowns and a field goal on their five red-zone trips, a trouble spot last season. The defense, down three starters (safety Tariq Carpenter, who played one play before departing, cornerback Zamari Walton and defensive tackle Ja’Quon Griffin), limited Kennesaw State (1-1) to 272 yards of offense, 114 of them in the fourth quarter when the Owls got loose for 14 points.
Against an overmatched FCS opponent thinned by injury, the Yellow Jackets took care of business Saturday, overwhelming Kennesaw State 45-17.
Tech quickly loosened the tension by taking a 17-0 lead in the game’s first 20 minutes. Defensive end Jordan Domineck delivered a tone-setting moment on KSU’s second drive of the game with the Jackets ahead 7-0.
On a first-and-10 play from the Tech 22, with the Owls having driven from its 25 and threatening to tie the score at 7-7, Domineck deflected Owls quarterback Xavier Shepherd’s option pitch, picked up the ball and ran 70 yards for the touchdown, stiff arming Shepherd into the turf about halfway to the end zone.