Georgia Tech continues to impress as Jackets rout Vanderbilt
ATLANTA -- The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have earned three wins in three weeks, an impressive accomplishment for a team that didn't earn its third win last year until Oct. 24.
The Yellow Jackets improved to 3-0 by romping the Vanderbilt Commodores (1-2) 38-7, their sixth consecutive win against the Commodores. Georgia Tech improved to 12-0-1 all-time against Vanderbilt since 1941.
"I feel like everyone's very hungry now," receiver Clinton Lynch said on the Jackets trying to bounce back from finishing 3-9 last season. "Last year, things didn't really go our way. Now that we see that, we're humbled by it and realize now what we need to do in order to be successful."
Comparisons are already being made between this year's team and the team in 2014. That team started 3-0 and finished the year by winning the Capital One Orange Bowl. Quarterback Justin Thomas has been with the team through its ups and downs, but he's playing as well as he ever has.
The Yellow Jackets racked up 511 total offensive yards, and Thomas threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Marshall on the first play of the game to get the Yellow Jackets rolling.
After the defense gave up a touchdown on a pass from Kyle Shurmur to Kalija Lipscomb on the team's first drive, a drive that head coach Paul Johnson said really frustrated him, Georgia Tech shutout Vanderbilt's offense in the final three quarters.
The Jackets held the Commodores to 275 yards on offense. The defense shutdown running back Ralph Webb, the SEC's leading rusher, to 69 yards on 18 carries. Shurmur finished 17-of-26 with 149 yards. Lipscomb caught six passes for 59 yards.
Johnson laughed about his defense, saying they can be hard to watch. The Yellow Jackets allowed Vanderbilt to stay on the field, get 17 first downs and win the time of possession battle. But at the end of the day, they got the job done.
"Just like the prior two games, we've done a good job of keeping them out of the end zone. It's what really counts," Johnson said. "But we're going to start playing better offenses. We're gonna play people with better skill guys."
Thomas continued to impress in his senior season. He threw for 136 yards and rushed for 84 yards. He left to let backups Matthew Jordan and TaQuon Marshall get some snaps in the fourth quarter. Lynch caught a 77-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Jordan in the fourth quarter.
A-back Dedrick Mills rushed for three touchdowns in the game. Mills was coming off a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules, according to the team. His time on the bench didn't seem to affect the freshman who rushed for 58 yards on 15 carries.
"Sitting out last week made me think a lot. Hurt my team a little bit," Mills said. "This week, going into the game, I pretty much had to do what I had to do."
The Yellow Jackets have a short week before hosting the No. 5 Clemson Tigers (3-0) Thursday. Thomas said the key to being successful is not making the game bigger than it is. That's tough to do when it's the arguably the best opponent they will face all season.
"We got to dial in," Thomas said. "We're gonna enjoy this win, but it's gonna be a short win to enjoy."