Strength in defense, special teams boost Yellow Jackets to win

ATLANTA – Most of the big-name programs in college football these days play a game or two at the beginning of the season against a smaller opponent. It could be considered college football’s version of a preseason.

Georgia Tech is no different in this regard. After opening with a huge win over FCS opponent Alcorn State, the Yellow Jackets followed with another dominating performance against Tulane, yesterday, winning 65-10.

The Jackets dominated all parts of the game, including on defense and special teams. Right from the start, Tech established its presence in both those areas. The defense forced Tulane to go three and out on its first drive.

Jamal Golden then returned the ensuing punt 44 yards to Tulane’s 35-yard line, giving Tech a short field to work with on its first offensive drive.

Chris Milton also blocked a punt deep in Tulane territory, giving Tech another short field to work with later in the game.

“I just tried to go out there and make a play for the team,” Milton said. “Coach [Paul Johnson] gave me the call to go. And it was kind of a bad snap so it was a little slower, and that let me get to it a little quicker.”

Coach Paul Johnson noticed the special teams play, as well. He did note however that part of it was due to miscues from Tulane.

“It helps a bunch,” Johnson said. “They helped a bunch too by dropping snaps and snapping it over their head.”

Tulane punter Peter Picerelli recovered the snap that went over his head in the end zone for a safety.

It was a great day for the Yellow Jackets’ defense as well. They never let Tulane get in any sort of rhythm on offense throughout the day. Tech’s defense was strong on first down all day, which forced Tulane into difficult second and third-down situations.

“We knew that if we could make big plays on the first down, the second down would not be as bad,” defensive end Keshun Freeman said. “We were just working so hard at practice on those early downs and creating damage so we would not be in those third-downs-and-short.”

Milton credited the defensive line’s success up front, saying it helped make everything easier in secondary coverage.

“I think the defensive line played a great game,” he said. “They kind of stopped a lot of the running plays up front. It made it a lot easier for us in the back-end so we could just play coverage.”

The Yellow Jackets will need their defense and special teams to keep playing this well as they go into the brunt of their schedule. Up next they get the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, who are always a tough match. With the tune-up games out of the way, the Yellow Jackets will look to build upon the success they had as the season continues.

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