ATLANTA - Jaybo Shaw and Demaryius Thomas proved Georgia Tech has the option to pass in its new spread option attack.
Shaw, a Flowery Branch graduate, completed nine passes to Thomas for 230 yards, giving Georgia Tech's run-based option offense unusual balance, and the Yellow Jackets shut out Duke 27-0 on Saturday.
"Just look at him," Shaw said when asked why he kept throwing to the 6-foot-3, 229-pound Thomas. Each of Shaw's nine completions were to the sophomore.
"When he's out there, he's huge," said Shaw of Thomas. "He's a real easy target and he dominates most of the corners. It makes it real easy when you can just throw it up to him, and he bailed me out a lot today."
Duke usually left one cornerback on Thomas as the Blue Devils stacked the defensive line to stop the run.
Despite Duke's defensive focus, Jonathan Dwyer ran for a career-best 159 yards as the Yellow Jackets finished with 224 yards rushing and 230 yards passing.
Shaw finished 9-for-13 with a touchdown while setting a school record for the most yards passing by a quarterback making his first start. He had a 2-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter and completed an 88-yard touchdown pass to Thomas later in the period.
Shaw, a freshman, made his first start as Josh Nesbitt was held out with a hamstring injury.
The 230 yards receiving by Thomas is the second-highest total in school history; Dez White had 243 yards against Virginia in 1998.
Georgia Tech (4-1 overall, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) led only 3-0 before Roddy Jones' 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Duke (3-2 overall, 1-1 ACC) suffered its 17th straight ACC road loss, one week after winning at home against Virginia to end a streak of 25 straight conference losses overall.
The big game by Thomas was a surprise in coach Paul Johnson's spread option offense. Thomas led the team with modest totals of seven catches for 88 yards through four games.
"The thing is if you're going to sell out to stop the option, it's one on one (for Thomas), and their cornerback better be pretty good," Johnson said.
"(Thomas) is a pretty good player, and not a lot of people are going to stop him one on one."
Thomas was as surprised as anyone.
"I didn't think I would get the ball this much," he said.
Duke, which averaged 30.8 points in its first four games, was shut out for the first time since a 13-0 loss to Richmond to open the 2006 season.
"We can't measure ourselves just in wins and losses alone at this stage," said first-year coach David Cutcliffe.
"Obviously, we failed the test on the field to a great degree. ... We played a team that played really well, played far superior to us today, and it obviously started with not being able to move the ball against them."
Duke was held to 132 yards, the third-fewest allowed by Georgia Tech in an ACC game. The Yellow Jackets had 11 tackles for losses.
Georgia Tech's defensive front kept pressure on Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, leaving the other seven defenders for pass coverage.
The Blue Devils' deepest penetration in the first three quarters was the Georgia Tech 46 late in the first quarter. Duke began a fourth-quarter drive at the Georgia Tech 47, but it was pushed back 2 yards.
Duke was stopped on a fourth-down play at the Georgia Tech 21 late in the fourth quarter.
Lewis finished 15-for-28 for 97 yards with an interception.
Dwyer had long runs of 25 and 10 yards as Shaw opened with a 12-play drive. But on second down from the Duke 8, Shaw fumbled when trying to hand off to Dwyer, and defensive end Wesley Oglesby recovered for the Blue Devils at the 9.
A 32-yard pass from Shaw to Thomas helped set up a 20-yard field goal by Scott Blair in the second quarter. A review confirmed Thomas caught the pass before fumbling out of bounds.
Jones' touchdown run in the third quarter gave Georgia Tech a 10-0 lead. Dwyer had four runs for 51 yards on the final four plays of the third quarter, setting up Shaw's 2-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Notes: Duke outscored its first four opponents 76-14 in the second half but was outscored 24-0 by Georgia Tech in the final two quarters. ... The 88-yard touchdown reception by Thomas is the third-longest in school history. ... The previous Georgia Tech record for passing yards by a quarterback making his first start was 202 yards by Eddie McAshan against South Carolina in 1970. ... Georgia Tech recorded its first shutout since a 7-0 win over North Carolina in 2006.