ATLANTA (AP) — Justin Thomas ran for a touchdown, backup quarterback Matthew Jordan had a couple of short scores and Georgia Tech defeated Mercer 35-10 on a sweltering Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets (2-0) overcame an early 7-0 deficit against a Southern Conference school playing its first game against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent.
Thomas tied the game on a 13-yard run late in the first quarter, and short-yardage specialist Jordan put the Yellow Jackets ahead to stay with a 1-yard plunge early in the second. Jordan tacked on another 1-yard scoring run in the final minute of the third period after taking over for Thomas, sealing the victory.
Mercer (0-2) stunned the home crowd by jumping ahead on John Russ’ 32-yard TD pass to Avery Ward, after Georgia Tech fumbled the ball away on the opening possession of the game.
With the temperature climbing into the 90s and many fans in an already sparse turnout heading home at halftime, the Yellow Jackets turned to their running game to wear down the Bears. Georgia Tech finished with 364 yards on the ground.
Thomas, who only played the first half, ran seven times for 69 yards and completed 5-of-10 passes for 80 yards. Qua Searcy led all runners with 91 yards, while six other Georgia Tech players were in double figures.
Russ was 24 of 38 for 225 yards. The Bears were limited to 85 yards rushing.
Mercer: The Bears picked up a $300,000 payday for making an 87-mile trip to Atlanta, which didn’t even require a hotel stay. The money will be a major boost to the school’s athletic budget.
Georgia Tech: It’s hard to read much into a victory over an outclassed opponent, though the Yellow Jackets at least got a chance to use a lot of players. Third-string quarterback TaQuon Marshall scored his first college touchdown on an 11-yard run in the closing minutes.
Mercer: The Bears return home to meet Tennessee Tech, still looking for their first win of the season.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets will take a step up in competition when they host Vanderbilt from the Southeastern Conference next Saturday. This will be the first meeting between the schools since 2009. Georgia Tech has not lost to the Commodores since 1941, going 11-0-1 since then.