ATLANTA (AP) — Haynes King passed for 290 yards and four touchdowns, Jamal Haynes ran for 113 yards and one score and Georgia Tech bounced back from a season-opening loss to beat South Carolina State 48-13 on Saturday.
King, a transfer from Texas A&M, completed 21 of 29 passes before giving way to let Zach Pyron in the fourth quarter as the Yellow Jackets (1-1) churned out 578 yards of total offense.
“This week we honed in and we preached about execution,” King said. “We still left some stuff out there, and the drives we didn’t finish it was up to us. We messed it up, a lack of execution right there.”
South Carolina State (0-3) has lost seven in a row and 11 of 14 after going 3-8 last season.
After blowing a 28-13 halftime lead and losing to Louisville last week at nearby Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Jackets went up 21-0 midway through the second quarter as King connected with Eric Singleton on a deep shot down the left side for a 40-yard score. Georgia Tech pushed the lead to 28-6 just before halftime as Haynes broke off a 67-yard dash down the left side to set up King’s 8-yard TD pass to Brett Seither.
The Jackets went 5 for 6 in the red zone.
“That’s been a whole establishment for getting that inside of our minds,” Haynes said. “Getting down there and getting the job done has been really good this week, and it’s going to continue forward.”
South Carolina State linebacker Aiden Webber was disqualified in the second quarter for targeting against Trey Cooley as the running back caught a 6-yard pass on the left sideline at the Bulldogs’ 3-yard line. Cooley, though, lost a fumble near the goal line on the next play for a touchback, spoiling a chance for the Jackets to take an early three-touchdown lead.
Cooley made up for the mistake on the first play of the third, catching a pass in the right flat to ramble 55 yards for a TD that made it 35-6. Late in the third he scored on a run from 15 yards out to give the Jackets a 45-13 lead.
Georgia Tech’s Kyle Kennard intercepted a short pass on the opening drive and ran it back 12 yards deep into South Carolina State territory. The Jackets took a 7-0 lead four plays later on Haynes’ 4-yard run.
“It was actually a play we prepared for all week,” Kennard said. “We had a play designed for that all week. It was a screen, and sure enough it opened up and I saw the quarterback lift his hand off the ball, and I’m like, ‘Is he really about to throw this?’ And he threw it. So, yeah, here we are.”
Kennard recovered a fumble at the Tech 26 to thwart another drive late in the third.
South Carolina State: The Bulldogs used three quarterbacks, but the passing attack never got going and finished with 91 yards. Corey Fields finished 9 for 15 through the air and managed to orchestrate a scoring drive that made it 21-6 late in the second when Kacy Fields ran in from 1 yard out. The extra-point attempt was blocked. Andre Washington and Prometheus Franklin were a combined 1 for 4.
Georgia Tech: The victory wasn’t exactly an elixir. The team got some bad news in the second quarter when starting receiver Chase Lane left the game with a left leg injury and in the fourth when leading tackler Eddie Kelly had to be helped off the field as he limped to the sideline with a leg injury. Gavin Stewart, who ranked second in the Atlantic Coast Conference field-goal percentage last year after going 12 of 13, is off to a 0 for 3 start this season after missing a 47-yarder wide left late in the second. Aidan Birr converted from 30 yards in the third to make it 38-13.
Scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., the game started 2 hours, 23 minutes late because of lightning in the area. The teams came on the field after one delay and were set to begin at 1:42, but another delay with lightning, thunder and heavy rain pushed the opening kickoff back again. The game finally ended at 6:34 p.m.
South Carolina State: Hosts The Citadel on Sept. 23.
Georgia Tech: Visits No. 20 Ole Miss next Saturday.