"I knew they were going to step up and they did in the second half".
"Daniel, he's a warrior", Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said. "(It was a) very, very good college football game.
I actually could see Tennessee blowing Georgia Tech out. The teams last played in 1987, when the Volunteers won 29-15 in Knoxville. The Yellow Jackets went 3-0 a year ago against the SEC, including season-ending victories over Georgia and Kentucky.
Georgia Tech ran 96 plays, rushed for 535 yards and finished with 655 yards overall, compared to 59 plays and 369 yards for the Vols. "I was certainly disappointed with the outcome".
So this made sense: Johnson called a timeout, then he ignored the fancy stuff in his triple-option playbook and told Marshall to run an old-fashioned counter play from Tennessee's three-yard line.
Marshall's 249 yards on 44 carries were the most ever in a single game by a Tech quarterback, and his five touchdowns on the ground were the most from any Jackets player. Marshall also completed 5 of 9 passes for 120 yards. On the next play, Kelly picked up the biggest gain of the first half for the Volunteers with a 22-yard run to the 12.
John Kelly starred for Tennessee, rushing 19 times for 128 yards and four touchdowns.
Georgia Tech retook the lead on the next possession. He then noted, correctly, that his offense hogged the ball for 41 minutes and 27 seconds to Tennessee's 18:33.
Obviously what I liked most about Tennessee's win was the emergence of wide receiver Marquez Callaway and the strong playing of running back John Kelly. "They came to us and said Jauan may not be back, his wrist was kind of messed up".
"I think this football team showed our grit, but we're continuing to evolve", Jones said. I don't think so. I'm going to bring the guys onboard with me, lead them. We didn't. They did. Give them credit: "We didn't and they knocked the ball out".
There also was that counter play, which should have been an easy two-pointer for a Georgia Tech victory, especially since its offensive line kept blowing Tennessee defenders from here to Knoxville.
The game unfolded like something out of Coach Johnson's dreams. "It's something pretty special and we're looking forward to seeing it", Georgia Tech fan Greg Westbrook said.
"We have to get a lot better in a hurry".
"I just thought we had a better chance of getting a 2-point conversion there than we did of stopping them", Johnson said. "But, you've got to put it in the past and move on".
Quinten Dormady started at quarterback for Tennessee. The Yellow Jackets most likely will go with junior Matthew Jordan, who played at times while former starter Justin Thomas was injured last season, but could go with junior TaQuon Marshall or a pair of redshirt freshmen.
That's exactly what the Yellow Jackets want. Once again it came on a long, grueling drive. Quarterback TaQuon Marshall connected with Qua Searcy with a 42-yard pass and Marshall swept around right end to leaving the Vols trailing 28-14 with 13:08 on the game clock. The Jackets led 14-7 at halftime, accepted the ball to open the second half and promptly took complete control of the game with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that consumed almost six minutes - almost 20 percent of the available game time to that point.
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