Late heroics lead Jackets over Blue Devils 31-27


Duke running back Mataeo Durant (21) gets upended as he is hit by Georgia Tech linebacker Quez Jackson (4) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

DURHAM, N.C. – Adonicas Sanders hauled in a 36-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Sims with 51 seconds to go to lift Georgia Tech to a heart-stopping 31-27 triumph over Duke on Saturday afternoon at soggy Wallace Wade Stadium.

Trailing 27-24 and with no timeouts, Georgia Tech needed just 51 seconds to march 88 yards in six plays for the winning touchdown. Facing third-and-6 from the Duke 36 yard line, Sims threw into the end zone for Sanders, who made an over-the-shoulder catch in tight coverage for the go-ahead score. It marked the first time since a 17-14 win over Boston College in the 2016 season opener in Dublin, Ireland that Tech scored a go-ahead, game-winning touchdown with less than a minute to go in regulation.

The Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 14-0 lead just 8:07 into the game and led 24-17 going into the fourth quarter, but Duke stormed back to take a 27-24 lead on a 22-yard field goal with 5:06 remaining.

The Jackets went three-and-out on their ensuing possession, but forced Duke to punt with 1:42 to go to set up the 88-yard winning drive.

Sims finished with 352 yards of total offense (297 passing, 55 rushing – both team highs) and accounted for four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) to help lead Georgia Tech’s season-high 440-yard effort. Running back Jahmyr Gibbs and wide receivers Malachi Carter and Sanders had 82, 78 and 73 yards receiving, respectively.

Defensively, the Yellow Jackets were paced by Ayinde Eley and Juanyeh Thomas, who had 13 and 11 tackles, respectively. Thomas also intercepted Duke’s Gunnar Holmberg with 15 seconds left to seal the victory.

With its first win at Duke since 2013, Georgia Tech evened its record at 3-3 overall and 2-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Duke fell to 3-3 overall and 0-2 in ACC play.

Georgia Tech has its lone open week of the season this coming week before returning to ACC play on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Virginia. Game time will be announced on Monday.

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