CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — It's hardly a formula for success: Turn the ball over five times, get beat at your own ball-control game, and let the opponent's quarterback and receivers have record days.
But somehow it worked for resilient Georgia Tech, which got several explosive plays from its triple-option offense and a couple of key stops from its highly rated defense to defeat Virginia 35-25 on Saturday.
Zach Laskey and David Sims each ran for two touchdowns and Robert Godhigh ran for another for Georgia Tech (5-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), which never trailed and responded every time Virginia made it close. The Yellow Jackets, who entered the game second nationally in time of possession and 12th in yardage allowed, had the ball nearly 10 minutes less than Virginia and surrendered 444 yards — more than 100 more than their average.
Virginia's David Watford was 43-of-61 for 376 yards and two touchdowns, setting school records for completions and attempts, and Darius Jennings and Tim Smith became the only receiving duo in Cavaliers history with at least 10 receptions each.
Yet the Yellow Jackets still found a way to win.
"It was kind of a crazy game with all of the turnovers and penalties," said Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, who was particularly exasperated with a roughing-the-punter penalty that kept a Virginia touchdown drive alive. "We couldn't get ourselves off the field defensively, but we weren't giving up a lot of points, so we were able to hang in."
The Cavaliers got no points off Georgia Tech's five turnovers, four of them coming in the first half. Two fourth-down gambles that failed were huge.
The first one came on Virginia's second possession of the game. The Cavaliers lined up for a 32-yard field-goal try on third-and-6, but an offsides penalty against Georgia Tech made it fourth-and-1. The crowd pleaded with coach Mike London to go for the first down. He obliged, but Watford overthrew fullback Billy Scrobacz in the flat.
Then late in the first half, trailing 14-10, the Cavaliers were at the Georgia Tech 2 after a pass interference penalty in the end zone. Kevin Parks was stuffed at the 1, and the Cavaliers called their final timeout. Rather than settle for the chip-shot field goal, London chose to go for the touchdown. Parks was stopped short, and the Yellow Jackets jubilantly sprinted to the locker room with their lead intact and with the momentum.
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