Saturday, November 17, 2012

Defense? Ga. Tech leads Duke 21-17 at half

ATLANTA - In a game largely absent of defense, Georgia Tech leads Duke 21-17 at halftime.

Each team had only one full possession that didn't result in points. Duke punted on the game's opening drive, and Georgia Tech punted on its final possession, which began with 53 seconds left on the clock. Duke did run one play at the end of the half, an incomplete pass.

The Yellow Jackets collected 196 rushing yards in the first half, many coming after contact due to poor Duke tackling. Georgia Tech amassed 243 yards of total offense in the first half. The Blue Devils totaled 154 yards of offense in the first half, 55 on the ground and 99 through the air. 

Georgia Tech opened the scoring with a signature ball-control touchdown drive, methodically moving 72 yards in 5:45 for a 7-0 lead. The Yellow Jackets extended the drive with a conversion of fourth-and-2 from midfield, with Orwin Smith taking a pitch 16 yards to the Duke 34-yard line.

Georgia Tech's first pass completion of the game was the other key play for the drive, as Tevin Washington found Smith, who had beat Lee Butler, for a 21-yard gain to the Duke 2-yard line. The Blue Devils defense stopped Washington twice, but he found the end zone from one yard out on third down to open the scoring.

Duke responded with a touchdown drive of its own that took 4:03 off the clock.

The key play of the drive came with Duke opted to go for it on fourth-and-2 from its own 42-yard line. Sean Renfree made the gamble pay off, though, with a 3-yard pass to Conner Vernon. After three more 1st downs thanks to a mix of runs and passes, Renfree found Desmond Scott all alone in the left corner of the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown. The Yellow Jackets ran a corner blitz, and no defender was within 10 yards of Scott.

The teams traded touchdowns again, with Duke responded thanks to a 43-yard kickoff return by Lee Butler, combined with a personal foul penalty against Georgia Tech, set Duke up on the Yellow Jackets' 28-yard line to start its third drive. Four plays later, Renfree kept the ball on a designed run, going nine yards up the middle for the Duke touchdown, tying the game at 14-14 with 12:40 remaining in the half.

The Yellow Jackets used their longest touchdown drive on the year (measured by the number of plays run) to retake the lead on its third drive. Facing fourth-and-2, Georgia Tech opted to try for the touchdown. Vad Lee, who took over for Washington, just got the ball across the goal line before his knee went down, making it 21-14 over Duke. That scoring drive took 8:03 off the clock as Georgia Tech ran 16 plays.

A 50-yard field goal from Ross Martin, the longest of his career, capped the scoring at 21-17.

- Laura Keeley


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