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Georgia Tech's matchup with Tulane has opening-day feel
After big win against Alcorn State, Yellow Jackets starters will see more playing time Saturday
Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas (5) drops back to pass as Alcorn State defensive end Ramonte Bell (50) defends during the first half of a game Sept. 3 in Atlanta - photo by JOHN AMIS

Georgia Tech vs. Tulane

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta

On TV: Fox Sports South

For Georgia Tech, it’s like another opener.

The Yellow Jackets began the season with a 69-6 blowout of FCS school Alcorn State, a game that provided little insight into what kind of team they might be.

Quarterback Justin Thomas played only the first quarter. The defense wasn’t challenged at all. Georgia Tech didn’t even bother throwing a pass in the second half.

While the Yellow Jackets are again a heavy favorite for Saturday’s game against Tulane at Bobby Dodd Stadium, they should at least have to break a sweat.

“We’ve got a lot of room for improvement off week one,” said coach Paul Johnson, whose team moved up one spot to No. 15 in the rankings released Tuesday. “Once the game got in hand, we made some mistakes and (there were) a lot of technique things we can clean up and some other issues.”

Georgia Tech will be able to get away with those miscues against teams such as Alcorn State and, in all likelihood, Tulane (0-1). The Green Wave began the season with a dismal performance, getting blown out at home by Duke 37-7.

But the difficulty of the schedule picks up significantly the following week, when the Yellow Jackets travel to South Bend to meet No. 9 Notre Dame — the first of four games they will play against teams currently ranked among the top 12.

Thomas, who ran for a touchdown and threw a 19-yard scoring pass during his brief time on the field against Alcorn State, will surely get more playing time against Tulane even if Georgia Tech races out to another big lead.

There are still a few areas he needs to work on — including his tendency to carry the ball loosely with one hand — before he faces Notre Dame.

“Maybe it looked good to everybody else, but it didn’t look good in our (film) room,” Thomas said. “Just some small things I need to work on. Getting downhill. Pushing it to the defender some more. Just some ticky-tacky things you can work on.”

The Yellow Jackets did get a good look at their new B-back combination — and the early results were promising. Patrick Skov, a senior transfer from Stanford, ran for 72 yards on 12 bruising carries. Freshman Marcus Marshall broke off two long touchdown runs and finished with 184 yards on just eight carries.

“They are different guys,” Johnson said. “Patrick will run you over and is a real physical-type guy and has OK speed.

Marcus is more of a jitterbug, a speed guy. Patrick is going to get you the tough yards and Marcus is probably going to have longer runs if everybody is blocked.”

Skov will remain the starter against Tulane, with the playing rotation determined by how the game plays out. The Yellow Jackets also have junior Marcus Allen, who carried only three times in the opener before going out with an ankle injury.

He might be a bit limited in practice this week but should be able to play on Saturday, according to Johnson.

“It’s just a feel thing,” Johnson said. “Patrick is the starter, and we’ll play off that. Marcus (Marshall) is a good complement. Marcus Allen brings some things to the table. … I can envision games where three of them are playing. I can see games where two of them are playing. I can see games where one of them is playing.”

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