Georgia Tech

Stewart all smiles after first career TD

Georgia Tech's Ricky Jeune, bottom right, scores a touchdown against Virginia Tech's Terrell Edmunds as teammate Brad Stewart and fans celebrate in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in Atlanta, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. Georgia Tech beat Virginia Tech 28-22.
Georgia Tech's Ricky Jeune, bottom right, scores a touchdown against Virginia Tech's Terrell Edmunds as teammate Brad Stewart and fans celebrate in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game in Atlanta, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. Georgia Tech beat Virginia Tech 28-22. AP

Georgia Tech junior Brad Stewart may have been the happiest guy at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday.

The wide receiver from Savannah caught a 60-yard touchdown, the longest reception and first touchdown of his career. The score set off a huge celebration on the Georgia Tech sidelines, with most of the players surrounding the popular player and offering their congratulations.

“I hadn’t scored since 2014,” Stewart said. “I had forgotten how to celebrate.”

Even though Stewart had started 25 games, it was the first scoring catch of his 34-game career.

“I don’t know if you could tell by the expression on my face, but there’s not a word for it,” said Stewart, who’s last touchdown reception came his senior season at Savannah’s Benedictine School. “It felt great. Just seeing all the fans and players getting hyped for me because they knew how bad I wanted it.”

Quarterback TaQuon Marshall said he told Stewart this summer that his touchdown-free streak would come to an end this year.

“We talked about it all preseason,” Marshall said. “Like, ‘Hey, I’m going to make sure I get you one this year.”

Stewart also had two punt returns, one for a season-long 21 yards.

Kerr provides clutch break-up

Redshirt freshman cornerback Ajani Kerr had a feeling he was going to be tested late in the game when veteran Step Durham was injured. Kerr, who had played limited snaps in eight games, was asked to defend Virginia Tech’s Cam Phillips, the school’s all-time leader receiver.

“Everybody gets reps in practice and we all work for when this time comes,” Kerr said.

Virginia Tech targeted Phillips on fourth-and-1 with a minute remaining and Kerr was able to knock the long pass away in the end zone. The successful pass defense, his second of the season, preserved the win for the Yellow Jackets.

“It was their No. 1 guy and they’re going to go at me when they see fresh blood out there,” Kerr said. “I just had to be ready.”

Freeman’s timely fake punt

KeShun Freeman is best known as a solid defensive end, but on Saturday he got a chance to test his running skills. On fourth-and-1 at the Georgia Tech 46, the Yellow Jackets successfully ranked a fake punt play. The ball was snapped to Freeman, who ran for 3 yards and picked up the first down. The Yellow Jackets went on to score a touchdown.

“It’s something we carry every week,” Johnson said. “The left the defense out there, which sometimes is better. We just about dropped the snap, but he caught it and got enough.”

She said “Yes”

After the game was finished, junior linebacker Tre Jackson took a knee at midfield asked his girlfriend to marry him.

“He told me he was going to do it after we won,” Johnson said. “I said, ‘What if we lose?’ He said he’d do it out on the Plaza.’”

Odds and ends

The win was Georgia Tech’s first victory over a ranked team this year. They had lost previous games against Tennessee, Miami and Clemson. The Yellow Jackets’ last win over a ranked team came against Virginia Tech a year ago. …The Georgia Tech win was the first in the series by a home team since 2012. … The 24-yard pick-six by Virginia Tech was the first interception returned for a touchdown against Georgia Tech since 2013 when Brigham Young’s Alani Fua took one 51 yards for a score. …

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