Jackets Top USF 14-10 For First Win of Collins Era

Kaleb Oliver (22) forces a fumble by USF’s Jordan Cronkite (2) that is recovered by Georgia Tech on the 1 yard line, preserving the Jackets’ 14-10 fourth-quarter lead.

The Flats – A pair of key defensive plays in the fourth quarter preserved a 14-10 Georgia Tech lead and the Yellow Jackets went on to defeat USF by that same 14-10 score on Saturday afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Leading 14-10 with a less than 12 minutes to go in the ballgame, Georgia Tech (1-1) turned the ball over near midfield. One play later, it appeared that USF (0-2) might take its first lead of the game when Jordan McCloud completed a pass to a wide-open Mitch Wilcox, who looked like he might take it to the house for a go-ahead touchdown before Georgia Tech’s Tariq Carpenter hustled to chase him down from behind and tackle him at the 1-yard line.

Three plays later, on third-and-goal from the 1, Tech defensive back Kaleb Oliver shot into the backfield to hit USF running back Jordan Cronkite as Cronkite was trying to extend the ball over the goal line for the go-ahead score. The ball popped loose on Oliver’s hit and GT defensive lineman T.K. Chimedza snagged the free ball out of the air to thwart the scoring threat and maintain the Yellow Jackets’ 14-10 lead.

The Jackets’ subsequent series stalled near midfield but junior punter Pressley Harvin III pinned the Bulls at their own 6-yard line with a 41-yard punt — his fourth punt of the day that was downed inside the USF 20. Georgia Tech forced a punt on USF’s ensuing series and then ran the final 3:23 off the clock to give Geoff Collins his first win as Tech’s 20th head coach.

Jordan Mason ran for a career-high 99 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Tobias Oliver added 48 yards on the ground and a score of his own to pace Georgia Tech offensively. Making the first start of his career, quarterback Lucas Johnson completed 11-of-17 passes, the most pass completions by a Tech quarterback since Justin Thomas also completed 11 against Miami (Fla.) in 2016.

Georgia Tech returns to action next Saturday when it hosts The Citadel at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. (BUY TICKETS).

Postgame Notes

Team Notes

  • Georgia Tech evened its record at 1-1. USF fell to 0-2.
  • The win was Geoff Collins’ first as Georgia Tech’s head coach.
  • Georgia Tech won its home opener for the 21st time in the last 22 seasons. However, Saturday’s win was Georgia Tech’s first over an NCAA Division I FBS opponent in a home opener since a 27-21 win over North Carolina on Sept. 10, 2005.
  • Georgia Tech moved to 96-25-4 all-time in home openers.
  • Georgia Tech avenged a 49-38 loss at USF last season (Sept. 8, 2018).
  • Georgia Tech evened its all-time record vs. USF at 1-1.
  • Collins moved to 2-1 vs. USF as a head coach (he split two meetings with USF as head coach at Temple in 2017-L and 2018-W).
  • A year after surrendering 426 yards to USF, Georgia Tech’s defense limited USF to just 262 yards of offense on Saturday.
  • USF’s 10 points were the fewest that Georgia Tech has allowed to an FBS opponent since a 33-7 win over North Carolina on Sept. 30, 2017.
  • Georgia Tech’s nine tackles for loss tied for the most since it had nine against Georgia Southern on Oct. 15, 2019.
  • Three different Georgia Tech quarterbacks (So. Lucas Johnson, So. Tobias Oliver and r-Fr. James Graham) combined to complete 13 passes, marking the first time that Georgia Tech had double-digit pass completions in a game
    Jordan Mason ran for a career-high 99 yards in Georgia Tech’s 14-10 win over USF. (Photo: Georgia Tech Athletics)

    since it completed 10 passes in a 38-35 win over Duke on Oct. 29, 2016.

Individual Notes

  • Georgia Tech sophomore RB Jordan Mason rushed for a career-high 99 yards on 20 carries (4.5 avg.) and a touchdown (prev. high: 95 yards at USF, Sept. 8, 2018).
  • Sophomore QB Tobias Oliver rushed for 48 yards to give him 980 rushing yards in 14 career games. He needs only 20 more yards to become the eighth quarterback in Georgia Tech history with 1,000 career rushing yards.
  • Oliver’s 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was his 13th rushing touchdown in 14 career games, which are the 10th-most by a quarterback in Georgia Tech history.
  • Georgia Tech junior DB Tariq Carpenter’s 0 tackles for loss were a career high (prev. 1.0 at Pitt, Sept. 15, 2018).
  • Georgia Tech sophomore LB Charlie Thomas’ tackles for loss were a career high
  • On USF’s fumble on the GT 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, Georgia Tech So. Kaleb Oliver recorded the second forced fumble of his career and Fr. DL T.K. Chimedza had the first fumble recovery of his career.
  • Georgia Tech sophomore QB Lucas Johnson made his first-career start.
  • Johnson’s 11 pass completions (11-for-17) were the most by a Georgia Tech quarterback since Justin Thomas completed 11-of-19 passes in a 35-21 loss to Miami (Fla.) on Oct. 1, 2016.

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