It was a tale of two halves once again for the Jackets, who played sloppy in the first half but dominated the rest of the way at Yulman Stadium Saturday afternoon. Tech survived a potential trap game and secured a 38-21 victory over the Tulane Green Wave, giving them a 2-0 mark on the season. The Jackets will return to Atlanta next weekend to face Georgia Southern in Bobby Dodd Stadium.
The Jackets had a 24-21 lead at halftime after sophomore kicker Harrison Butker booted a 46-yard field goal as time expired. For a detailed first half recap, click here.
The second half went much better for Tech. Tulane kicked off the half with a drive to the GT 39 yard line, but true freshman defensive back Lawrence Austin intercepted Tulane QB Tanner Lee at the 24 yard line, halting the drive in its tracks. The interception set up a long 6:42, 76-yard drive for the Jackets, which ended with a 2-yard touchdown run for Tony Zenon, his second on the day.
Tech forced a punt on Tulane's next drive thanks to a Shawn Green sack. The redshirt-senior defensive lineman also batted down a pass attempt on 4th and 3 at the end of the first half. The Jackets would fail to capitalize, though, after Justin Thomas threw an interception at the Tulane 14.
Tech took a 31-21 lead into the fourth quarter. Tulane had a chance to make it a game after they sustained a 10-play drive into Georgia Tech territory, but the Tech defense forced another punt situation. This time, redshirt-senior B-back Matt Connors blocked the kick, and redshirt-sophomore linebacker Beau Hankins scooped it up and ran it back 46 yards to the Tulane 1-yard line. Tim Byerly would punch it in a few plays later for his second score on the day to give the Jackets a 38-21 lead, which would ultimately be the final score.
Tulane had one last drive, but the Tech defense prevailed again by forcing another turnover on downs with 6:25 left in the game. Tim Byerly came back out for Tech's last drive and took the offense 60 yards downfield to the Tulane 12 before time expired. With more time, though, it certainly appeared as though the Yellow Jackets would have scored again.
The Tech offense finished the day with 359 yards of total offense compared to Tulane's 327. Justin Thomas was just 3-8 for 15 yards passing, with one interception and no touchdowns. Senior B-back Zach Laskey led all rushers with 86 yards on 12 carries followed by Thomas' 70 yards on 10 carries and Zenon's 62 on eight. The bright spot on defense was the Tech secondary, which notched three interceptions on the day.
All in all, this game bore a striking resemblance to the Wofford game last week. The Jackets outplayed Tulane by about the same margin they outplayed Wofford; that said, Tulane is most likely a better team than Wofford, so it appears as though the Jackets are steadily settling in to the season. It's heartening to see the coaching staff continue to make solid halftime adjustments, but Tech will certainly need to start playing complete games if they want to be competitive in the coming weeks.
How do you feel about today's game? Better than you did about last week's game? Let's talk about it!