ATLANTA, Ga. – TaQuon Marshall got two long touchdown passes out of his only completions, including an 80-yarder to Ricky Jeune with 6 ½ minutes remaining, and Ajani Kerr swatted away a fourth-pass in the end zone to preserve Georgia Tech's 28-22 upset of No. 17 Virginia Tech on Saturday.
In a game with several huge momentum swings, Virginia Tech rallied from a 21-9 deficit in the second half. The Hokies (7-3, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) went ahead 22-21 when Greg Stroman returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown off a terrible pass by Marshall with 7:27 left.
The Georgia Tech quarterback made up for his mistake just two snaps later, after the Yellow Jackets recovered a fumbled kickoff. Jeune got loose behind the secondary, hauled in the long throw and just managed to stick the ball inside the pylon before tumbling out of bounds .
It was the longest touchdown pass of the season for the Yellow Jackets (5-4, 4-3), surpassing Marshall's 60-yard scoring play to Brad Stewart early in the second half.
On its final possession, Virginia Tech converted a pair of fourth-down plays and faced third-and-1 at the Georgia Tech 32 with plenty of time to pull off the winning touchdown against a team that had lost three games by a total of six points.
But, on a day when he made a number of curious calls, Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente called a pair of passes rather than running for the first down. Both were incomplete, including a deep pass down the middle for Cam Phillips that Kerr knocked away.
Finally, Georgia Tech won a close one.
The Yellow Jackets rushed for 261 yards, led by KirVonte Benson with 86 yards on 22 carries.
Virginia Tech: Any hopes of landing a major bowl bid faded away with the Hokies' second straight loss. A 28-10 setback at Miami the previous week knocked them out of contention for the ACC title.
Georgia Tech: By finally winning a close game, the Yellow Jackets gave their bowl hopes a huge boost. One more win will ensure postseason eligibility.
Virginia Tech: Returns home to face ACC rival Pitt on Saturday.
Georgia Tech: Hits the road for its final conference game against Duke.
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Georgia Tech's triple option offense struck for a big play in the first half that led to an early score. Nathan Cottrell busted free for a 69-yard run and quarterback Taquon Marshall capped it off with a short scoring scamper for a 7-3 Georgia Tech lead.
In quarter number two The Hokies drove deep into 'Jackets territory but a failed 4th down run by backup quarterback AJ Bush ended the threat.
Georgia Tech responded by running a fake punt to get a key first down that kept the insuing drive alive and allowed the Yellowjackets to stretch the lead. Taquon Marshall capped an 11 play drive with a 1 yard Td run and a 14-3 GT lead.
The Hokies rallied right before the half after an excellent kickoff return by Travon McMillan. Freshman Sean Savoy turned in a 14-yard TD run to cut the lead to 14-9.