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Georgia Tech hammers mistake-prone Panthers

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The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets strolled into Heinz Field and destroyed the Pitt Panthers on homecoming. The Jackets scored eight touchdowns as they buried Pitt 56-28 Saturday afternoon.

Pitt’s fourth ACC game began in about the worst way possible. The Panthers lost five fumbles in the first quarter, tying the FBS record for most fumbles lost in a quarter.

And Georgia Tech capitalized, turning the first four into touchdowns.

"You don't want the turnovers," said Pitt head coach Paul Chryst. "We have to protect the ball, obviously."

The first fumble came two plays into Pitt’s first drive when quarterback Chad Voytik was stripped of the ball then recovered by Quayshawn Nealy of the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech would score on a short run from running back Broderick Snoddy.

On Pitt’s next drive, running back James Conner broke through the defensive line and headed for what looked to be a 75-yard touchdown run. But, Conner was stripped of the ball on a brilliant effort from Tech defensive back D.J. White at the two-yard line. The ball bounced out of bounds in the end zone meaning a touchback and Georgia Tech’s ball at the 20-yard line.

"I didn't see the guy and it was just a lesson learned," said Conner. "I was trying to look at the scoreboard and I didn't think anybody was behind me, so I thought I had it. Next time though I'll sprint to the back of the end zone. It was a lesson learned."

The Yellow Jackets wasted no time scoring as quarterback Justin Thomas completed a short pass to running back Charles Perkins, who did the rest with his legs. The 79-yard touchdown pass would make the score 14-0 Georgia Tech.

On the Panthers’ ensuing drive, Voytik handed the ball to running back Isaac Bennett who proceeded to fumble the ball, once again recovered by Nealy.

Thomas would run the ball into the end zone making the score 21-0.

Pitt got the ball back and Voytik threw to wide out Tyler Boyd who also fumbled it away after the catch. Georgia Tech took over and Snoddy rushed 34 yards for a touchdown.

All the above would transpire 5 minutes and 16 seconds into the first quarter, the score was 28-0

Voytik and center Alex Officer botched a center exchange later in the quarter, and Georgia Tech recovered, officially tying the FBS record. Mercifully for Pitt, the first quarter ended without anymore Georgia Tech points.

The second quarter began much smoother for the Panthers, as Conner would punch in a one-yard touchdown putting Pitt on the board, 28-7.

Pitt’s defense then held Georgia Tech and gave the ball back to Connor and the Panthers offense that would score on a 4-yard touchdown run from Connor.

The Panthers second quarter was exceedingly better than their first, but the good feeling in Heinz Field was short lived.

The third quarter began with another Snoddy touchdown, this time a 28-yard touchdown run.

Conner answered for Pitt with a 16-yard rushing touchdown, making the score 35-21 at the end of the third.

Yellow Jackets running back Tony Zenon ran a 57-yard touchdown, and running back Deon Hill added another eight-yard touchdown for Georgia Tech. Both scores came a minute apart.

"We have to make tackles on defense," said Chryst. "I give Georgia Tech credit. They ran their offense extremely well. We did not stop them."

After Voytik was knocked out of the game, Pitt quarterback Trey Anderson entered and threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Bennett. However, at that point the game was effectively over.

The Yellow Jackets piled on another touchdown, this time by running back Matt Connors on a 6-yard rush. At that point the score was 56-28 for Georgia Tech.

That would be the final, as Pitt simply could not overcome early mistakes, the Panthers finished losing 6 fumbles in total.Pitt James Conner

Voytik finished with 190 yards and 16 completed passes, his backup Trey Anderson, played less than a half and put up 135 yards with eight completions and a touchdown.

Conner ran for 119 yards and three touchdowns.

Seven different Yellow Jackets scored on the day, and the Georgia Tech offense compiled 615 yards, 468 of which on the ground. The Panthers finished with 518 total yards, mostly through the air with 325.

The Panthers will try to bounce back next week against ACC opponent Duke, at noon, at Heinz Field.

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