ATLANTA -- The Georgia Tech defense had a horrible second half against Georgia Southern. The Yellow Jackets allowed 28 second-half points and allowed Georgia Southern to score the first four times it had the ball in the third and fourth quarters.
“We didn’t play assignments. We didn’t tackle. We got pushed around,” Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said. “Other than that, we played OK.”
Georgia Southern ran for 283 yards and threw for 245 yards, giving the Eagles 528 total yards, with 393 of those coming in the second half. It was the most yardage and most points allowed by Georgia Tech this season.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN’S QB SITUATION
Georgia Southern started Kevin Ellison at quarterback but switched to Favian Upshaw in the second quarter. Ellison was at the helm during the comeback but couldn’t play the final two series because of an injury, and Upshaw finished the game.
Ellison completed 7-of-10 passes for 164 yards and one touchdown and rushed nine times for 107 yards and one touchdown. Upshaw completed 6-of-12 for 81 yards and was charged with a fourth-quarter fumble that led to Georgia Tech’s winning drive.
“Kevin didn’t feel like he could play,” Georgia Southern head coach Willie Fritz said. “His shoulder was hurting after he fell down on the ground, so we put Favian in. Kevin had a hot hand going, but he wasn’t able to continue. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in (Upshaw). I thought he came in and played very good.”
BIG DAY FOR THOMAS
Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas had what Johnson called “probably his best game.”
Thomas completed 11-of-24 passes for 188 yards and four touchdowns and rushed 20 times for 137 yards and one touchdown. It was his first 100-yard rushing game and the second time he has had more than 300 yards in total offense.
“I thought he played great,” Johnson said. “He had some nice runs on quarterback draws. He hit it up in there pretty good. I thought he played great on the last drive.”
PENALTY CHANGES MOMENTUM
A personal foul on Georgia Tech’s Paul Davis helped change the momentum in the second half.
Georgia Southern faced third-and-16 at the Georgia Tech 33 when the snap got loose, and the ball was recovered by Georgia Southern for a 23-yard loss. But Davis was flagged for a unsportsmanlike conduct; the official said Davis took a swing at a Georgia Southern player. The result was a first down for Georgia Southern at the Georgia Tech 37. The Eagles scored four plays later when Ellison went 32 yards on a fourth-and-1.
“(The penalty) killed us. It was a killer,” Johnson said. “It changed the whole game. I mean it was fourth down, and we’re going to get the ball back up 35-10. And the way it was going, we had scored touchdowns every time we had it. And then we let them score. Just because you give them a first down doesn’t mean you have to let them score, either.”
A-BACK PERKINS INJURED
Senior A-back Charles Perkins injured his left knee in the second quarter. He re-entered the game in the third quarter to block on a play but did not return. Perkins broke loose on the game’s first play for a career-long 63-yard run.