Georgia Tech holds on, edges South Florida, 14-10
ATLANTA (AP) — Jordan Mason and Tobias Oliver each scored second-quarter touchdowns, and the Georgia Tech defense recovered a critical fumble at the goal line in the fourth quarter as the Yellow Jackets held on for a 14-10 win over South Florida on Saturday afternoon to give first-year coach Geoff Collins his first win.
The Bulls (0-2) lost their eighth straight game.
There wasn’t much offense Saturday beyond Mason, who rushed 20 times for 99 yards. Tech (1-1) totaled 257 yards of offense, USF 262. Each team had two turnovers.
For the second straight game Tech played three quarterbacks, starting redshirt sophomore Lucas Johnson and bringing Oliver - who started last week at Clemson - and James Graham off the bench.
None found much success throwing the ball while Tech passed for just 76 yards, but they all had some success on the ground as they combined to run 24 times for 86 of Tech’s 181 rushing yards.
That balance was much like what the Jackets routinely cranked out over the previous 11 seasons in retired coach Paul Johnson’s spread triple option.
“We inherited a roster that’s built a certain way ... we have to play to their strengths ... ” Collins said. “We will just continue to develop them. We are a player-based offense; we are not a scheme-based program.”
A 1-yard scoring run by Mason early in the second quarter and a 7-yard tally by Oliver with 53 seconds left in the first half gave Tech (1-1) a 14-3 halftime lead. Oliver rushed nine times for 48 yards.
Soon after K.J. Sails intercepted a Johnson pass late in the third quarter, the Bulls (0-2) started from Tech’s 25-yard line and pulled within 14-10 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Jordan McCloud with 14:53 left in the game.
Moments later Dylan Deveney fumbled and USF recovered.
McCloud threw to Mitchell Wilcox for a 54-yard gain to the 1-yard-line after a touchdown-saving tackle.
On third-and-goal from the 1, Jordan Cronkite tried to leap over the pike at the line of scrimmage and fumbled into the end zone and T.K. Chimedza recovered with 10:03 remaining.
“We thought he was in (before fumbling), but the officials reviewed it and said he wasn’t over,” said USF coach Charlie Strong.
USF: A week after getting shut out at Wisconsin, 49-0, the Bulls need to find some offense. USF netted just 93 yards on 30 rushes.
Georgia Tech: While the Yellow Jackets weren’t exactly dominant on offense, the decision to mix in three quarterbacks was just enough to squeak out the win. Johnson completed 11-of-17 passes, but for just 45 yards with the interception.
THREE QBS NO CHARM
USF also used three quarterbacks in senior starter Blake Barnett, McCloud and freshman wide receiver Jah’Quez Evans, who carried three times for 15 yards and did not attempt a pass.
Punter Pressley Harvin III might have been the Jackets’ player of the game, kicking six times for an average of 41.3 yards and pinning the Bulls inside their 20 four times. His long went for 55 yards, and USF fumbled one of his kicks.
USF: The Bulls return to Tampa to prepare for their home opener Saturday against South Carolina State.
Georgia Tech: The Jackets host The Citadel Saturday.