Atlanta, GA—Georgia Tech erased last week’s game and went into this week with a renewed confidence against Western Carolina.
The Yellow Jackets (1-1) got things going with running back Dontae Smith who set career highs for rushing yards (102, on 11 carries) and three touchdowns, his offensive linemen were knocking people off the blocks in the first half on Saturday night to defeat the visiting Catamounts, 35-17, at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“It felt good to finally get things going,” Smith said. “Not that we did a bad job last week, and the O-line did a good job last week, but it starts with the O-line. If they come out, and they do what they need to do, then that makes my job easy. That makes the rest of our jobs easy.”
Western Carolina QB Carlos Davis threw a 51-yard touchdown dime to put the Catamounts up 7-0. Western Carolina took advantage of the poor communication in the secondary which had receivers running wide open in the first quarter.
To close out the first half, Smith punched in his third touchdown and put Georgia Tech up 28-14 leading going to the break.
The Catamounts put up 266 yards in the first half on the Yellow Jackets, averaging 14 yards per completion.
In the second half, the Catamounts drove the ball into Yellow Jackets territory, but a bad snap gave the ball back to Georgia Tech. Sims then threw a bad interception on the next play to give the ball right back to Western Carolina.
Carlos Davis got blasted hard on the next drive and the Catamounts had to insert a backup quarterback. Western Carolina start to have success on the ground against Georgia Tech and move the ball into their territory.
Western Carolina threaten to score at the start of the 4th with Davis still out of the game. The Catamounts would boot a field goal to trim the lead to 35-17.
Tech would then proceed to give the ball back to the Catamounts after a quick three and out. Thomas would get the ball back for Tech which set up the Yellow Jackets in the red zone.
However, kicker Jude Kelley missed a short field goal and the ball went back to Western Carolina at their own 20-yard line.
Western Carolina quarterback Carlos Davis threw for 233 yards but was intercepted twice and sacked three times before leaving the game due to injury in the fourth quarter. Davis had pressure in his face all game long.
42% of the yards were gained on Western Carolina’s first two possessions, as the Catamounts scored three points over their final 11 possessions. Thomas was impactful in the final 30 minutes, amassing eight tackles (two for loss, with one sack) and an interception.
They’ve got really good players, and we had our hands full,” coach Geoff Collins said. “We contributed to that with some eye violations early to let some things happen that shouldn’t have happened, but we’ll get those things cleaned up and get them fixed and get ready for next Saturday.”
The Yellow Jackets return to action next Saturday, Sept. 17, with a 3:30 p.m. contest against No. 22 Ole Miss at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The game will be televised on ABC.