Georgia Tech at Notre Dame
When: 3:30 p.m. Sept. 19
Where: South Bend, Ind.
On TV: NBC
ATLANTA — Paul Johnson wouldn’t mind every game playing out like this.
The Georgia Tech coach watched another dominating win on Saturday, his team scoring more than 60 points for the second game in a row. Justin Thomas passed for two touchdowns and ran for a score to lead the No. 15 Yellow Jackets to a 65-10 victory over lowly Tulane.
Thomas got a chance to shine after playing only the first quarter in a 69-6 win over Alcorn State to open the season. He threw a 17-yard scoring pass to Qua Searcy late in the first half, and then hooked up with Micheal Summers on a 30-yarder midway through the third quarter. The junior quarterback also scored on a 4-yard run.
Thomas went to the bench late in the third with the Yellow Jackets (2-0) leading 44-7.
“I prefer to win every game 65-10,” Johnson quipped. “But we’re definitely going to be stepping up the competition level.”
It begins next weekend, when Georgia Tech travels to South Bench to face No. 9 Notre Dame, the first of four games this season against teams currently ranked in the Top 25.
“I’m very excited about it,” defensive end KeShun Freeman said. “We have to fix some small things so we can go up the road and play better.”
There were certainly no major issues in the first two games, as Georgia Tech overwhelmed a pair of inferior teams and got a chance to play a lot of backups. It was the Yellow Jackets’ most points in two consecutive games since 1918, when a John Heisman-coached powerhouse scored more than 100 points three times.
Tulane (0-2) has been outscored 102-17 this season, getting blown out at home in its opening game by another Atlantic Coast Conference team, losing 37-7 to Duke.
The Green Wave were especially bad on special teams, getting a punt blocked to set up a short touchdown drive for Georgia Tech, and then snapping it over the punter’s head for a safety. For good measure, Tulane missed a 47-yard field goal and surrendered a 44-yard punt return.
The Yellow Jackets extended the nation’s longest streak of 250-yard rushing games to 15 in a row, finishing with 439 yards on the ground. Thomas had 10 carries for 71 yards. Patrick Skov chipped in with 50 yards on 11 carries, including a 6-yard touchdown.
Searcy scored twice, chalking up Georgia Tech’s opening touchdown with a 13-yard run in which he bounced off a defender and leaped into the end zone on third-and-goal. Clinton Lynch broke off a 45-yard touchdown run.
“Our kids played hard in spots,” Tulane coach Curtis Johnson said. “But golly, they got that option going. That quarterback is amazing.”
Georgia Tech did most of its damage on the outside, as Tulane focused on shutting down the inside handoffs and power plays. The runners kept coming in waves, as 13 players got at least one carry for the Yellow Jackets. So far, the loss of every skill position starter except Thomas has not been felt.
“We’ve done this for a long time,” Johnson said. “Now, it’s going to change when the competition ratchets up, but we’ve rushed for a lot of yards for a lot of years with a lot of different guys.”
Matthew Jordan, Georgia Tech’s new backup quarterback, did a pretty good impression of Thomas in the fourth quarter.
The redshirt freshman threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to TaQuon Marshall and got loose for a 65-yard touchdown run.
Jordan had been playing A-back, looking to get more playing time, until No. 2 quarterback Tim Byerly went down with a knee injury in practice during the week. Byerly watched from the sideline on crutches, while Jordan moved smoothly to his new position.
“It’s great that he got out there and played a little bit,” Thomas said. “You never know. We may need him.”
Tanner Lee’s 44-yard pass to Devon Breaux accounted for Tulane’s only touchdown. At least the Green Wave finally ran a play out the red zone for the first time this year, setting up a meaningless field goal in the fourth quarter.
“I’ve never been beat that bad in my life,” Lee said. “It stings.”