No. 7 Georgia Tech Beats Duke to Clinch Spot in ACC Title Game
Nov. 14, 2009
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Jonathan Dwyer rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns, Josh Nesbitt accounted for three scores and No. 7 Georgia Tech clinched a spot in the ACC championship game by routing Duke 49-10 on Saturday.
Orwin Smith returned a kickoff 83 yards to spark the slow-starting Yellow Jackets (10-1, 7-1). Their offense took over after that, scoring touchdowns on five of the following six possessions, rushing for 306 yards and shutting out the Blue Devils in the final three quarters.
Nesbitt was 6 for 10 for 195 yards with touchdown passes covering 32 yards to Stephen Hill and 75 yards to Demaryius Thomas, and had a 2-yard touchdown run. Dwyer, the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, had scoring runs of 3 and 13 yards in his fourth consecutive 100-yard game.
The Blue Devils (5-5, 3-3) had minus-1 yard rushing through three quarters and finished with 25.
Georgia Tech outgained Duke 519-281, won its eighth straight and sewed up the Coastal Division title for the second time in four years. Now, after a week off and a visit from instate rival Georgia, it's on to Tampa, Fla., to face the Atlantic champion with a trip to the Orange Bowl on the line.
Thaddeus Lewis was 22 for 35 for 212 yards with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Re'quan Boyette and an interception in garbage time. Duke has lost two straight, and must beat No. 12 Miami and Wake Forest to qualify for its first bowl since 1994.
Yet for a while, the Blue Devils kept this one interesting, taking a 10-0 lead in the final minute of the first quarter before Smith got the Yellow Jackets back in the game.
He muffed the ensuing kickoff at about the 15, started out toward the hash marks, cut back down the right sideline and was dragged down from behind at the 2.
Nesbitt powered in on the next play, Marcus Wright took an option pitch 16 yards for a TD and Dwyer scored from 3 yards out to make it 21-10. Nesbitt's scoring strike to Hill with 32 seconds left made it an 18-point game at the break and sent Duke to its 39th straight loss to a nationally ranked opponent.
That looked much less of a certainty early on, because Lewis and the Blue Devils couldn't have been much better during their opening drive.
The fourth-year starter was 5 for 5 for 54 yards, and the 20-yard pass he dropped over Boyette's shoulder put Duke up 7-0 roughly 4 minutes in.
Smith's game-changing return came moments after a special-teams foul-up gave Duke a short field and a 10-point lead. Will Snyderwine's 31-yard field goal came after the Yellow Jackets botched what appeared to be a fake punt deep in Blue Devils territory - but ultimately, that was one of Tech's final miscues of the day.