ATLANTA (RamblinWreck.com and AP) - Justin Thomas ran for a touchdown, backup quarterback Matthew Jordan had a couple of short scores and Georgia Tech defeated Mercer 35-10 on a sweltering Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets (2-0) overcame an early 7-0 deficit against a Southern Conference school playing its first game against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent.
Thomas tied the game on a 13-yard run late in the first quarter, and short-yardage specialist Jordan put the Yellow Jackets ahead to stay with a 1-yard plunge early in the second. Jordan tacked on another 1-yard scoring run in the final minute of the third period after taking over for Thomas, sealing the victory.
Mercer (0-2) stunned the home crowd by jumping ahead on John Russ' 32-yard TD pass to Avery Ward, after Georgia Tech fumbled the ball away on the opening possession of the game.
With the temperature climbing into the 90s and many fans in an already sparse turnout heading home at halftime, the Yellow Jackets turned to their running game to wear down the Bears. Georgia Tech finished with 364 yards on the ground.
Thomas, who only played the first half, ran seven times for 69 yards and completed 5-of-10 passes for 80 yards. Qua Searcy led all runners with 91 yards, while six other Georgia Tech players were in double figures.
Russ was 24 of 38 for 225 yards. The Bears were limited to 85 yards rushing.
-With the win, Georgia Tech moved to 2-0 for the fourth-straight season and seventh time in nine seasons under head coach Paul Johnson.
-Georgia Tech won its home opener for the 10th-straight year and 17th time in the last 18 years. The Yellow Jackets moved to 93-25-4 all-time in home openers.
-Georgia Tech moved to 14-1-1 all-time versus Mercer and claimed its 12th-straight win in the series, dating back to 1908. Saturday’s game was the first between the Yellow Jackets and Bears since 1938 – Mercer did not field a football team from 1942-2012.
-Georgia Tech has won back-to-back games for the first time since it opened last season with wins over Alcorn State (69-9) and Tulane (65-10).
-Georgia Tech blocked a field goal for the second time this season when Kyle Cerge-Henderson blocked a 37-yard attempt in the fourth quarter. It was Georgia Tech’s 16th blocked kick since the beginning of the 2013 season – the Yellow Jackets entered Saturday tied with BYU and Temple with the most blocked kicks by an NCAA Division I FBS team since the beginning of ’13 (15).
-Georgia Tech senior quarterback Justin Thomas scored the 17th rushing touchdown of his career in the first quarter, which moved him into a tie for fifth all-time among Georgia Tech quarterbacks and a tie for 10th overall in school history.
-With 149 yards of total offense, Thomas passed Mike Kelley (5,198 yds. – 1978-81) to move into seventh in Georgia Tech history with 5,287 yards of total offense.
-Backup quarterback Matthew Jordan had a career-high two rushing touchdowns (both from one yard out). He has three rushing touchdowns in two games this season and five in seven career games.
-One week after setting a career high with 60 receiving yards against Boston College, sophomore A-back Qua Searcy set a career high with 91 rushing yards on 7 carries (13.0 avg.).
-Georgia Tech first-career starts:
-Junior LT Andrew Marshall
-Although not technically a “starter,” junior Grant Aasen was the Yellow Jackets’ punter for the first time in his career