Georgia Tech defensive end Tremayne McNair sacks Pitt quarterback Tom Savage for a loss during first half action Saturday evening at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. (Photo: Karl L. Moore)
ATLANTA — A milestone victory secured and a 17th straight bowl trip assured, Georgia Tech can look forward hopefully to what lies ahead.
The Yellow Jackets have big games against Clemson and rival Georgia to close the regular season, but their recent three-game losing streak is now mostly just a bad memory.
Georgia Tech celebrated homecoming Saturday night at Bobby Dodd Stadium by defeating Pittsburgh 21-10 for its third straight victory, improving to 5-2 in the ACC and 6-3 overall.
The Yellow Jackets put the game away with 13-play fourth-quarter drive that covered 80 yards and featured a 42-yard pass from Vlad Lee to DeAndre Smelter on third-and-17.
Robert Godhigh scored his second touchdown of the game on an 11-yard run with 2:41 remaining two plays after the catch by Smelter.
The victory was Tech’s 700th in 121 seasons of football and assured another bowl trip. The Yellow Jackets have lost 471 games and tied 43 in their history.
Tech lost two fumbles — both by David Sims — in Pitt territory, but sacked Panthers quarterback Tom Savage five times.
Jeremiah Attaochu and Euclid Cummings each dropped Savage twice. Attaochu has 25 sacks for his career — six short of the Tech record.
Savage was 25 of 37 for 233 yards, but Pitt (4-4, 2-2 ACC) had was minus-5 yards on the ground when the five sacks were factored in. Jemea Thomas intercepted Savage to end the game.
Godhigh had 89 yards rushing in six carries and Sims, who scored Tech’s other TD, gained 94 yards in 18 tries as the Yellow Jackets finished with 276 yards on the ground. Lee was 5 of 10 passing for 84 yards and netted 44 more rushing.
Pitt closed to 14-10 on its first possession of the second half as Savage hit Tyler Boyd in the end zone from 12 yards out with 10:04 left in the third quarter. The drive covered 58 yards on six plays after Sean Poole’s punt traveled just 28 yards.
Boyd finished with 11 catches for 118 yards. Smelter had three grabs for 64 yards and also had punt returns of 25 and 24 yards.
Godhigh broke off a 30-yard run on Tech’s first play of the game and Sims scored from 12 yards out with 9:41 remaining in the first quarter to cap a 64-yard, seven-play drive that gave the Yellow Jackets a quick lead.
After a fumble by Sims and failed fourth-down play stopped Tech in Pitt territory the next two times it bad the ball, the Panthers made it 7-3 on Chris Blewitt’s 44-yard field goal with 9:53 left in the second quarter.
A fake punt soon helped Tech pad its lead, though. Poole gained 12 yards on a fourth-and-5 play from midfield and Godhigh raced 35 yards with 5.58 left before intermission to complete the 77-yard drive that took seven plays.
Tech had a 227-55 first-half yardage advantage and 12 first downs to four for Pitt. Savage went 11-for-13, but was sacked four times in the first half.
Notes: Chase Roberts, a redshirt freshman from Greater Atlanta Christian, got his second start at right tackle. … The Yellow Jackets were without veteran tackles Ray Beno and Morgan Bailey. … Nose tackle Shawn Green, a junior from Grayson, sat out for the sixth time this season because of a leg injury. … Thomas took over as Tech’s main kick returner because of the absence of Lynn Griffin. … Former Yellow Jackets standout and coach Bill Curry served as honorary coach. Tech won the toss, but deferred.