Georgia Tech Controls UCF for Gasparilla Bowl Win

Ken Cross

December 27, 2023 at 9:19 am.

TAMPA, Fla. – Georgia Tech used a powerful running attack to roll past UCF, 30-17, in the Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets rushed for 284 yards on 53 carries and quarterback Haynes King only had to put the ball into the air 13 times as he rushed for 89 yards and threw for 87 yards.

Jamal Haynes led Georgia Tech with 128 yards on 18 carries and then Dontae Smith helped Haynes bracket the rushing game with his 65 yards on 16 rushes.

The Yellow Jackets controlled the line of scrimmage as the last 27 plays were rushes.

“We got into a possession where you start looking at possessions and time on the clock,” said Georgia Tech head coach Brent Key. “You also look at timeouts. We had to eat the clock and Haynes did a great job looking at the clock and snapping it with one second.”

Trailing 17-3 midway through the second quarter, King scored from five yards out and he also threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Malik Rutherford to tie the game at 17-17 at halftime.

“We all came up in that huddle and we looked at each other,” said King. “We’d like we’ve been here before. We’re not going to press. We will stick to the game.”

Georgia Tech’s defense allowed only 114 yards in total offense from the Knights in the second half which coincided with the Yellow Jackets’ offensive line domination on offense.

“We have to live in the moment and they did,” said Price of his team. “They kept playing and playing.”

Knighted For a Moment: The Knights looked in control of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Friday night in Raymond James Stadium in John Rhys Plumlee threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Javon Baker and then hit Kobe Hudson on a 17-yarder that gave UCF a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter.

UCF had problems sustaining defensive opportunities as those last two defensive possessions in the first half helped Georgia Tech build its confidence and dominate the Knights in the second half.

Baker posted over 1,000 receiving yards for the season as he had 173 yards in nine catches with the touchdown.

“There have been a lot of ups and downs in this first year,” said Knights head coach Gus Malzahn. “This is a tough night.”

UCF finished 6-7 as it has three losses in its first season of the Big 12 by a total of four points – 36-35 vs. Baylor; 31-29 at Oklahoma; 24-23 at Texas Tech.