Clinton Lynch continues to cement his reputation as a big-time playmaker for Georgia Tech.
The Norcross graduate rushed five times for 15 yards, including an 11-yarder. But he had a bigger impact as a receiver, where he caught all three balls thrown his way for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Lynch caught a 46-yard touchdown in the first half and the game-winning 21-yarder under good coverage with 5:38 remaining.
“We have full confidence in (Justin Thomas) throwing the ball,” Lynch said. “He threw a great ball to me on both of my touchdowns, actually. It’s just good to have a guy like that on your team.”
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This season, Lynch has 11 catches for 306 yards and four touchdowns.
Defense struggles again
The Georgia Tech defense allowed a season-high 559 yards against Duke, far more than the 442 given up against Clemson. Duke ran for 254 yards, threw for 305 and had 23 first downs.
The Yellow Jackets especially struggled to stop throws to the tight end. Duke’s three tight ends caught 12 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
“A lot of the same problems we’ve had all year — can’t get off the field defensively, and we had back-to-back turnovers off the kickoff return and on the very first play of the second half,” Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said. “Hopefully we learned a very valuable lesson.”
Safeties dominate stats
Safeties A.J. Gray and Corey Griffin had another productive afternoon against Duke. Gray led the team with nine tackles and forced a fumble. Griffin had seven tackles and recovered a fumble.
“We had some guys make plays, we’ve just got to be consistent,” Johnson said.
Green, Marshall injured
J.J. Green missed most of the second half after being clobbered on a kickoff return. Green, who returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Pittsburgh, was hammered by Duke’s Deondre Singleton on a return and fumbled the ball. Green was carried to the locker room and did not return.
B-back Marcus Marshall suffered an undisclosed injury in the second half. He ran 13 times for 69 yards, including a 50-yarder, in his second start of the season.
Mills out with concussion
Freshman B-back Dedrick Mills was forced to miss the game because he had not cleared the concussion protocol. Mills suffered the injury Tuesday and was not medically cleared for the game. Mills entered the game as the team’s leading rusher with 446 yards.
Will Bryan started at right guard. Bryan had not started the two previous games. … The honorary captain for the game was former Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary, who received a nice ovation when he walked to midfield for the coin toss. O’Leary was 52-33 in seven seasons as head coach from 1995-2001.