Tulane defense no match for Georgia Tech ground game _lowres

Advocate Photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- Tulane's Nico Marley sacks Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas during Saturday's game at Yulman Stadium. The Yellow Jackets eventually racked up 344 rushing yards in their 38-21 win.

Coach Curtis Johnson put it succinctly after Tulane’s debut at Yulman Stadium against Georgia Tech.

“They had all the questions — and all the answers,” he quipped about the Georgia Tech option offense, which ran through his defense in a 38-21 defeat Saturday.

To say the Yellow Jackets ran Tulane Tech ragged is putting it mildly. Tech put the ball in the hands of its backs on 57 of their 65 plays, piling up 344 yards against the Green Wave unit that gave it up in gobs.

“We practiced against it (the option), but it’s hard against an offense you only rarely,’’ he said.

“We knew what they were going to do,’’ free safety Sam Scofield, “but they are so very good at it.’’

During a game in which Tulane had plenty of chances, especially early, finding a way to stop Tech a time or two more might have made a difference.

On Tech’s first touchdown drive, the Jackets faced two third downs. On third-and-two at the Tulane 49, B.J. Bostic ran around right end for a 5-yard gain. The Wave then held at the goal line for a third-and-one, which might have limited Tech to field goal, but Tim Byerly ran in on a QB draw.

An inability to handle the run game, and possibility the heat (it was 90 degrees at kickoff) contributed to the outcome. It’s one of the prices of playing outdoors. Scofield said the Green Wave had a burst of energy from its fans, attending at game on campus for the first time in 40 years. But he also said after the first quarter the Green Wave began feeling the heat. A year ago, that wouldn’t have been a problem in the Superdome, with its controlled 72-degree temperature.

He and Johnson both said the heat wasn’t a major factor, but on the first series of the second half, three defensive starters — defensive tackle Corey Redwine, defensive end Royce LaFrance and cornerback Lorenzo Doss — went out with cramps.

The Tulane defense seemed elastic at best against the Tech offense, which was successful on 10 of its 12 third-down conversion attempts. The Jackets averaged 6.0 yards a carry, and of the three Tech backs who carried 10 times or more, each averaged more than 7 yards.

Charles Perkins picked up 33 yards and an 8.2 average, but he only toted the ball four times.

In the second quarter alone, Tech rolled for 139 yards on the ground, giving the Jackets 202 by intermission. At that point, Georgia Tech held a precarious 24-21 lead. But it scored two more touchdowns, while the seemingly tired Greenies did not score after the break.

It was telling how comfortable Tech was just flinging its backs against the Wave that the Yellow Jackets’ starting quarterback, Justin Thomas, only threw the ball eight times, completing three with one interception.

He didn’t have to throw very often.