Georgia Tech swamps Alcorn State

Published 5:39 pm Saturday, September 1, 2018

ATLANTA (AP) — Alcorn State showed plenty of balance on offense Saturday against Georgia Tech. Seven players had a rushing attempt, 10 caught a pass, and nearly everyone on the roster saw some playing time.

That was the good news.

The bad news was that it wasn’t nearly enough to pull off an upset of a Power 5 conference opponent.

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Georgia Tech piled up 439 rushing yards — four players had at least 70 — and recorded its first shutout in nearly five years as it blanked the Braves 41-0 in the season opener.

Alcorn was shut out for the first time since losing 56-0 to Arkansas State in Sept. 2012.

“I thought our guys played fairly well,” Alcorn coach Fred McNair said. “Our guys stood up to the task. It could have been much worse, but I think we played hard enough to keep the game in perspective.”

Jordan Matson led Georgia Tech with 85 rushing yards and a touchdown, a 28-yard run on the fourth play of the game.

Quarterback TaQuon Marshall rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown and completed 9 of 18 passes for 104 yards, a score and an interception. KirVonte Benson had 75 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and Tobias Oliver, the backup quarterback, had 72 yards on 12 carries.

Tech punted just once, yet head coach Paul Johnson wasn’t particularly impressed after his team dominated an FCS opponent.

The Jackets lost two fumbles (one by punter Pressley Harvin III), and stalled on downs when Oliver was stopped on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter.

Marshall completed just 4-of-12 passes in the first half, badly overthrowing open receivers at least three times.

“I think any time you can win a game and win it in pretty dominating fashion, that’s a positive,” Johnson said. “At the same time, I was disappointed in the way we played offensively, for sure. … We’ve got to make a ton of progress from week one to week two as the competition will continue to ratchet up. For as many guys as we have returning on offense, that was a pretty sloppy performance.”

Alcorn State quarterback Noah Johnson completed 10-of-15 passes, but never threatened Tech as he passed for just 51 yards. Despite the balance ont he stat sheet, Raidarious Anderson was the Braves’ leading receiver with two catches for 15 yards.

P.J. Simmons, the preseason Southwestern Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, was held to 47 yards on 10 carries. He also caught three passes for nine yards.

The Yellow Jackets outgained the Braves 543-146 in the second meeting between the programs. Tech beat Alcorn State 69-6 to open the season in 2015.

“The offense had some opportunities, but we weren’t able to execute on a couple passes. We’ll get better,” McNair said. “We showed some good spurts on offense but we need more consistency. We just have to keep working, and there are some things we were excited about from this game.”