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Georgia Tech can't handle BYU, drops third straight game

POSTED: October 13, 2013 12:31 a.m.
Alex Goodlet | Associated Press/

Georgia Tech qarterback Vad Lee (2) runs the ball during Saturday's game in Provo, Utah.

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PROVO, Utah — Georgia Tech experienced a tale of two halves. In each situation, the outcome did not favor the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech had trouble stopping BYU's offense in the first half, allowing the Cougars to score on four of their first five possessions. After halftime, the Yellow Jacket defense adjusted and slowed BYU down.

At that point, BYU's defense took over and forced turnovers on consecutive fourth quarter drives. It led to a 38-20 victory for the Cougars on Saturday night and plenty of frustration for Georgia Tech.

"We were killing ourselves," Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee said. "BYU has a good defense and can't kill yourself against a good defense. They played the same as last year. Their defense doesn't change. They just line up and they out man you and that's what they did to us."

Taysom Hill passed for 244 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 65 yards and another score to lead BYU. Jamaal Williams added 86 yards and a touchdown as the Cougars (4-2) beat the Yellow Jackets for the second consecutive season.

BYU had 433 yards of total offense with 345 yards coming before halftime. The Cougars had more first downs than any Georgia Tech opponent this season.

"Initially, we had a lot of short, quick passes that allowed our offense to get into a rhythm," Hill said. "We took advantage and that really allowed us to get into a groove in the first half."

Georgia Tech (3-3, 2-2 ACC) totaled 400 yards on offense. Lee led the way with 133 yards on 7-of-20 passing and 41 yards on 21 carries. But the Yellow Jackets could not stop the Cougar offense before halftime and failed to overcome a pair of costly fourth quarter turnovers.

It marked the 12th straight time an opponent failed to score more than 21 points on BYU.

"We dug ourselves into such a hole and against a team that's traditionally pretty good defensively," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "You put yourself so far behind the eight ball."

The biggest surprise for Georgia Tech - Hill did most of his damage through the air only a few weeks after struggling to complete the majority of his pass attempts.

Hill looked nothing like the quarterback who struggled so much in the passing game earlier in the season during the first half. He completed his first eight passes and did not throw an incomplete pass until early in the second quarter. The sophomore completed 16 of 20 passes for 226 yards by halftime.

For BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall, such a performance puts to rest any lingering questions about Hill's passing abilities.

"Taysom is confident already," Mendenhall said. "There's no issues with his confidence nor our confidence in him. It's just great to see the team excited and see plays go on the board as frequently and as fast as they were going. We looked really good the first half offensively."

Hill's lone touchdown pass - a 45-yard toss that Cody Hoffman stretched across the goal line to grab - gave BYU an early 7-0 lead.

Hoffman finished with 99 yards on five receptions - tying him with Dennis Pitta for first place with 221 career receptions at BYU.

"It feels good," Hoffman said. "I had a slow start to the season, but you got to be mentally tough and overcome that. I've been working on it and trying get back to 100 percent now, but it was a real mental game for me to get back."

Georgia Tech responded quickly. Lee completed a 49-yard pass to Michael Summers on third down to get into BYU territory and finished off the drive with a 2-yard keeper to make it 7-7.

After forcing BYU to punt on its first series, the Yellow Jackets struggled to mount much resistance against Hill and the Cougar offense through the rest of the first half.

BYU retook the lead on a 2-yard run from Williams. Then the Cougars extended their advantage to 24-10 on a 1-yard keeper by Hill with 4:53 left before halftime.

Georgia Tech opened a door to get back into the game after it finally figured out how to slow down the BYU offense in the third quarter. The Yellow Jackets held the Cougars to just 33 yards over that span. It didn't matter with the BYU defense stepping up its own effort in the second half.

Kyle Van Noy sacked Lee for a 10-yard loss on the opening play of the fourth quarter. It forced Georgia Tech to settle for a 42-yard field goal attempt, which Harrison Butker hooked wide left.

On the Yellow Jackets' next series, Alani Fua ripped a pass from Lee out of the air and took it back 51 yards untouched to give BYU a 31-13 lead with 11:01 remaining. Any hope for a rally ended for good for Georgia Tech a few minutes later when Spencer Hadley recovered a fumble from David Sims at the Cougar 31.

BYU marched down the field with big runs from Williams and Hill following the fumble. Algernon Brown capped off the drive with a 15-yard run to give the Cougars a 38-13 lead with 3:11 left.

The Yellow Jackets finally finished a second half drive when Deon Hill caught a 5-yard TD pass from backup quarterback Justin Thomas with 53 seconds remaining.

NOTES: BYU players wore jerseys with the words honor, spirit and tradition in place of their last names as part of homecoming festivities. . The Cougars improved to 15-0 under Mendenhall when scoring a defensive touchdown. . Georgia Tech won the time of possession battle for the fifth straight game, holding the ball 36 minutes and 43 seconds.

 



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