Freshman Dedrick Mills ran 4 yards for a touchdown with 35 seconds left to give Georgia Tech a come-from behind 17-14 ACC victory over Boston College in the opening game for both teams in Dublin, Ireland, on Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets, who won just one conference game in an injury marred 3-9 season in 2015, marched 59 yards on a soggy field drenched by rain, led by quarterback Justin Thomas, for the winning score, handing BC its ninth straight league loss.
Thomas, who avoided a sack on the first play of the drive that would have cost him 16 yards, connected with Qua Searcy for 22 yards on a fourth-and-19 to key the march — Mills capping a 68-yard debut by scampering around left end for the winning score.
Tech had closed to within 14-10 on a 39-yard field goal by Harrison Butker with 5:57 left and then got the ball back on a 32-yard punt by Mike Knoll for the winning drive.
Matthew Jordan ran 3 yards for the game’s opening score, with 3:11 left in the first quarter. BC answered on a 73-yard touchdown run by Jon Hilliman two minutes into the second half and quarterback Patrick Towles ran 6 yards for the go-ahead score with 11:46 left in the game.
Thomas was 8-of-15 passing for 119 yards, while Towles, the graduate transfer from Kentucky making his BC debut, was 11 of 17 for 137 and two turnovers — an interception and fumble.
Hilliman, who broke his foot in the fourth game last season and got the year back via medical redshirt, ran for 102 yards on 17 carries. But kicker Colton Lichtenberg missed two field goals that proved costly.
BC, the nation’s No. 2 rushing defense last year, limited the Yellow Jackets, whose spread offense has led the country in rushing the past eight years, to 119 yards on the ground — and 238 yards of total offense.
Last year, the BC athletic program became the first since 1976-77 TCU to lose all conference games in football and basketball.