Defense steps up, leads Georgia Tech to win over Wake Forest

Remigio Civitarese
Ottobre 22, 2017

Georgia Tech whipped out the big plays in the second half. Through one half, Wake Forest did what it wanted. Qua Searcy broke loose for a 42-yard scoring run against the Demon Deacons (4-3, 1-3), who lost their third straight. All plays where Benson wasn't carrying the ball were averaging four yards per play.

Duke Ejiofor had a huge game on defense, sacking Marshall three times.

But Tech responded in a way that it hasn't always. The Demon Deacons are 1-2 on the year in ACC play.

That momentum carried into the second half.

Georgia Tech junior QB TaQuon Marshall rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 23 attempts in Saturday's 38-24 win over Wake Forest. It didn't look at all a likely outcome in the first half, as the Jackets were down 21-10 with 1:02 remaining in the half and 21-13 at halftime. The Yellow Jackets have a pair of wins in ACC play over the Pittsburgh Panthers and the North Carolina Tar Heels. "There was a little more sense of urgency".

Georgia Tech took the game's opening drive 70 yards and swallowed up more than eight minutes before settling for a field goal.

Can the Yellow Jackets get back into the win column with a home victory over Wake Forest? The losses to Tennessee and Miami fit that mold. We had way more energy in the second half than we did the first half. To find the last instance where Tech so thoroughly turned the tide of the game as it did Saturday would require deeper digging.

Georgia Tech should be the slight favorite in this game, but the Yellow Jackets could be upset by the Demon Deacons on Saturday night.

"This team is a fighter", Benson said. Three of them gave Georgia Tech first downs, and one of them put the Yellow Jackets within field goal range before the first half.

"We just talked about it at halftime - I don't care what defense we play, I just want to able to line up", he said.

Johnson on the slow start: "I thought we kind of slept walked through the first half".

"The guys opened up some holes for me, " he said.

"We just didn't close, " Wolford said. "Hurry up to the line of scrimmage and push 'em back". The Yellow Jackets have had multiple 100-yard rushers five times in the last 10 games overall (BB Marcus Marshall and QB Matthew Jordan at Virginia Tech on November 12, 2016; Benson and Marshall vs. Tennessee on September 4, Pittsburgh on September 23, North Carolina on September 30 and Wake Forest on Saturday).

Wake Forest attempted three fourth-down conversions and came up empty on all three.

Offensively, Tech wore out Wake Forest in the second half, running for 296 yards on 32 carries after scraping for 131 yards on 34 carries in the first half.

Benson's 11-yard TD gave the Yellow Jackets a 31-24 lead with 11:55 remaining. He added to his 75 yards in the first half with 61 and a touchdown on 14 carries in the second, giving him 136 rushing yards, his fourth 100-yard game.

Marshall on bouncing back from the Miami loss: "Sometimes you've got to through some adversity and see how the guys will react".

Wake Forest weathered the first storm against Georgia Tech on Saturday night.

Beyond moving Tech to 3-1 in the ACC as they try to keep pressure on ACC Coastal Division leader Miami, the Jackets might also gain some confidence in overcoming a slow start.

Said linebacker Victor Alexander, "This team here is a very strong team, and we stick together very well". A repeat next Saturday likely would be a steeper climb at Clemson's Memorial Stadium, but it could be beneficial experience all the same.

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