The first quarter delivered on these expectations, as GA Tech took an early lead on a quick touchdown, before NC State made it a 13-7 game on two redzone scores, one of which being an athletic, leaping touchdown by Jacoby Brissett. For the time being, it appeared as though NC State had the momentum, with the home crowd behind them. The momentum changed hands quickly at the end of the first quarter, then entering the second. The Yellow Jackets had a long rushing TD to close out the first quarter, making it 14-13 at the end of 1. It seemed like the game could continue this way, and anyone watching was in for an exciting shootout. However, when the second quarter commenced, DJ White had a 38 yard pick 6 for Georgia Tech, and then the defense again contributed on the ensuing Wolfpack drive, as a 43 yard fumble return touchdown made it a 28-13 game. The Yellow Jackets were in complete control from there on out, and went in to the half winning 35-16.
The second half was much of the same. Georgia Tech’s defense stifled the NC State attack, and their fast offense had two more touchdowns in the third quarter. By the time the final quarter rolled around, NC State had lost all momentum and the game was completely out of reach. Georgia Tech took a 56-16 lead with 10 minutes to go in the fourth, on a redzone touchdown pass, putting one final strike on the scoreboard. The Wolfpack would come back to get in the endzone once more, but that was not nearly enough, and came about three quarters too late.
Other than the first quarter of the game, NC State looked like they had throughout the first 4 ACC games. The offense struggled with consistency, and the defense was gashed repeatedly for long gains. After allowing just 38 rushing yards the week before, NC State’s defense had gaping holes in it this week, and it allowed a mind-blowing 479 rushing yards in one game. Quite frankly, it was a horrendous showing not just for the defense, but for an offense that turned it over three times, and was outscored 42 to 10 in the final three quarters of gameplay. Jacoby Brissett, who has been safe with the ball all season, threw two costly interceptions. One of these was at the Georgia Tech one yard line, and led to one of the strangest plays college football has seen all year, as Georgia Tech intercepted a batted around ball and ran it back before fumbling away the ball on the other side of the field.
Georgia Tech, unlike NC State, came out ready to play and kept the energy going for the entire game. They threw the ball only eight times for 70 yards, but the ground game was fantastic. Led by 157 yards from Synjyn Davis, the Yellow Jackets picked up a whopping yardage total to go along with 5 TDs on the ground. They looked like a team with a plan, and one that executed the plan well, which led to a clobbering of NC State.
Coming off this game, NC State has two games remaining, as they look for one more win to make it into a postseason bowl. The Wolfpack take on Wake Forest next week, in what is their best chance at a bowl game, before closing out the season with a visit to Chapel Hill to play longtime rival North Carolina.
Turnovers: GA Tech 2, NC State 3
Rushing Yards: GA Tech 479, NC State 155
3rd Down Conversions: GA Tech 8-10, NC State 6-12
Time of Possession: GA Tech 36:30, NC State 23:30