Tech dominates Vandy in opener, 45-3

Tech runs past Vandy (AP / John Bazemore)

Georgia Tech exploded for 31 second-quarter points and never looked back en route to a 45-3 annihilation of Vanderbilt in the Commodores' season opener in Atlanta.

ATLANTA-- The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets exploded for 31 points in the second quarter en route to a 45-3 rout of Vanderbilt in the season opener for both teams at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

The Jackets provided a rude welcome to Division I-A football for Bobby Johnson in his debut as Commodore coach. Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey, also making his debut as Yellow Jacket coach, recorded his first victory before a sellout crowd of 43,719.

The Jackets dominated the game in every way. They more than doubled the Commodores in offensive yardage (461-225) and first downs (21-9).

"That was a tough one to take," said Johnson after the game. "I thought we would react better when we got into some of those tough situations, but we didn't. They took advantage of it, and used their athletes to their benefit, and they took it to us."

The Commodore defense was unable to stop running back Tony Hollings, a converted safety, who rushed for 153 yards on 17 carries in his first game at running back. Backup Jermaine Hatch added 68 yards on 13 carries. The Commodores' leading ground gainer was Norval McKenzie with 28 yards.

Georgia Tech took the lead in the second quarter when quarterback A.J. Suggs completed a two-yard scoring pass to Will Glover.  Tony Hollings' two-yard run made the score 14-0, and a 37-yard pass from Suggs to Kerry Watkins later upped the ante to 21-0.

Luke Manget, the Jackets' record-setting placekicker, hit a 37-yard field goal with 3:17 left in the first half. The Jackets then converted an interception of Jay Cutler into a quick score just before intermission, with Suggs passing to Glover to make the score 31-0 at halftime.

Georgia Tech added two more third-quarter touchdowns to bulge the lead to 45-0. Vanderbilt avoided a shutout when kicker Greg Johnson booted a 37-yard field goal with 3:26 left in the contest.

Jay Cutler, a redshirt freshman, started the game at quarterback and played all but three series. The Commodores were held to only 49 yards of offense in the first half, and didn't cross into Georgia Tech territory until late in the second half.

Vanderbilt falls to 0-1 on the young season and hosts Furman next Saturday at Vanderbilt Stadium.  Georgia Tech, 1-0, travels to Storrs, Conn. to take on Connecticut next Saturday.

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