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2016 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team

The 2016 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team represented the Georgia Institute of Technology in the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Yellow Jackets were led by ninth-year head coach Paul Johnson and played their home games at Bobby Dodd Stadium. They were a member of the Coastal Division in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

2016 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets logo.svg
TaxSlayer Bowl champion
TaxSlayer Bowl, W 33–18 vs. Kentucky
ConferenceAtlantic Coast Conference
DivisionCoastal Division
2016 record9–4 (4–4 ACC)
Head coachPaul Johnson (9th season)
Offensive schemeTriple option[1]
Defensive coordinatorTed Roof (4th season)
Base defense4–3 multiple
Home stadiumBobby Dodd Stadium
(Capacity: 55,000)
← 2015
2017 →
2016 ACC football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Atlantic Division
No. 1 Clemson xy$#   7 1         14 1  
No. 21 Louisville x   7 1         9 4  
No. 8 Florida State   5 3         10 3  
NC State   3 5         7 6  
Wake Forest   3 5         7 6  
Boston College   2 6         7 6  
Syracuse   2 6         4 8  
Coastal Division
No. 16 Virginia Tech xy   6 2         10 4  
North Carolina   5 3         8 5  
No. 20 Miami   5 3         9 4  
Pittsburgh   5 3         8 5  
Georgia Tech   4 4         9 4  
Duke   1 7         4 8  
Virginia   1 7         2 10  
Championship: Clemson 42, Virginia Tech 35
    1. – College Football Playoff champion
  • $ – Conference champion
  • x – Division champion/co-champions
  • y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll


Georgia Tech ended the 2015 season with a 3–9 overall record, 1–7 in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets finished last in the Coastal Division. Georgia Tech is picked to finished 6th in the Coastal Division, with Duke in 5th and Virginia in last.

Coaching staffEdit

Head Coach Paul Johnson
Name Position Seasons at
Georgia Tech
Alma Mater
Paul Johnson Head Coach 9 Western Carolina (1979)
Bryan Cook Quarterbacks/B-Backs 4 Ithaca (1998)
Lamar S. Owens Jr. A-Backs/Special Teams Coordinator 9 Maryland (2008)
Al Preston Wide Receivers 9 Hawai'i (1982)
Mike Sewak Offensive Line 9 Virginia (1981)
Ted Roof Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers 4 Georgia Tech (1986)
Andy McCollum Safeties/Recruiting Coordinator 7 Austin Peay State (1981)
Mike Pelton Defensive Line 4 Auburn (1999)
Joe Speed Cornerbacks 7 Navy (1996)
Ron West Co-Offensive Line Coach 1 Clemson (1979)


National Signing Day was February 3, 2016. The Yellow Jackets signed a total of 18 players in their 2016 recruiting class.

US college sports recruiting information for high school athletes
Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Jordan Woods
Citra, Florida North Marion H.S. 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 250 lb (110 kg) Jan 25, 2016 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Brandon Adams
Brentwood, Tennessee Brentwood Academy 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 300 lb (140 kg) Jan 24, 2016 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Parker Braun
Hallsville, Texas Hallsville H.S. 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 272 lb (123 kg) Aug 29, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Emanuel Bridges
Newman, Georgia Newman H.S. 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 208 lb (94 kg) Aug 6, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Jarret Cole
Norcross, Georgia Norcross H.S. 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Jul 30, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Steve Dolphus
Malcom, Georgia Westside H.S. 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 200 lb (91 kg) Oct 21, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Xavier Gantt
Buford, Georgia Buford H.S. 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Feb 11, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Lucas Johnson
San Diego, California Mt Carmel H.S. 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Jan 25, 2016 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Jay Jones
McCalla, Alabama McAdory H.S. 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 180 lb (82 kg) Jan 16, 2016 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Chris Martin
Loganville, Georgia Grayson H.S. 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 250 lb (110 kg) May 9, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Dedrick Mills
Waycross, Georgia Ware County H.S. 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 220 lb (100 kg) May 27, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Desmond Branch
Athens, Texas Trinity Valley Community College 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 265 lb (120 kg) Dec 10, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Jakob Brashear
Dacula, Georgia Dacula H.S. 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Mar 19, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Jalon Camp
Cumming, Georgia South Forsyth H.S. 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Dec 9, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Kenny Cooper
Argyle, Texas Argyle H.S. 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 285 lb (129 kg) Dec 8, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
J. Hawkins-Anderson
Duluth, Georgia Northview H.S. 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Dec 26, 2015 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Ajani Kerr
Powder Springs, Georgia McEachern H.S. 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Feb 2, 2016 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Jahaziel Lee
Ponchatoula, Louisiana Ponchatoula H.S. 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 260 lb (120 kg) Jan 24, 2016 
Recruiting star ratings: Scout:    Rivals:    247Sports: 
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 65   Rivals: 68  247Sports: 59
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "Georgia Tech 2016 Football Commitments List". Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  • "2016 Team Ranking". Retrieved February 9, 2016.


The schedule for Georgia Tech's 2016 football season was announced on January 26, 2016.

September 37:30 AMvs. Boston CollegeESPN2W 17–1440,562
September 103:00 PMMercer*ACCN+W 35–1049,992
September 1712:30 PMVanderbilt*
  • Bobby Dodd Stadium
  • Atlanta, GA
ACCNW 38–741,916
September 227:30 PMNo. 5 Clemson
  • Bobby Dodd Stadium
  • Atlanta, GA (rivalry)
ESPNL 7–2653,932
October 112:00 PMNo. 14 Miami (FL)
  • Bobby Dodd Stadium
  • Atlanta, GA
ESPN2L 21–3553,047
October 812:30 PMat PittsburghACCNL 34–3747,425
October 1512:30 PMGeorgia Southern*
  • Bobby Dodd Stadium
  • Atlanta, GA
ACCRSNW 35–2447,609
October 2912:00 PMDuke 
  • Bobby Dodd Stadium
  • Atlanta, GA
ACCRSNW 38–3543,886
November 512:30 PMat No. 18 North CarolinaACCNL 20–4858,000
November 123:30 PMat No. 18 Virginia TechESPNUW 30–2065,632
November 1912:30 PMVirginia
  • Bobby Dodd Stadium
  • Atlanta, GA
ACCNW 31–1742,136
November 2612:00 PMat Georgia*SECNW 28–2792,746
December 3111:00 AMvs. Kentucky*ESPNW 33–1843,102
  • *Non-conference game
  •  Homecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Eastern time

Schedule Source:[3][4]

Game summariesEdit

vs Boston CollegeEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Yellow Jackets 7 0 0 10 17
Eagles 0 0 7 7 14
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
6–2 2012 GT, 37–17

Trailing much of the fourth quarter 14–7, Georgia Tech surged to victory on the backs of a Harrison Butker 40 yard field goal with 4:00 left, an ensuing three and out by the Georgia Tech defense, and a crunch time 4th and 19 conversion from 5th year senior veteran Justin Thomas to Redshirt Sophomore Qua Searcy to keep hopes alive for the Jackets on their game-winning drive. Justin Thomas completed a momentous pass to Ricky Jeune, to get the Yellow Jackets into Boston College territory, and after a couple of sly runs by Thomas, Georgia Tech called a timeout at second and goal with 40 seconds left. Pitching the ball to true freshman and 19 year old Dedrick Mills, the young freshman followed a block by UGA transfer and redshirt junior JJ Green, and barreled his way over two Boston College defenders into the endzone, claiming a 17–14 lead over the home team Eagles. The game was a special opening weekend showdown, played as the "Aer Lingus Classic" in Dublin, Ireland.


1 2 3 4 Total
Bears 7 0 3 0 10
Yellow Jackets 7 14 7 7 35
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
15–1–1 1938 GT, 19–0

The Georgia Tech offensive attack rushed for 364 yards against Mercer University, a team who had only been playing football for two seasons since reinstituting the Football program. Qua Searcy piled up 91 yards on the ground. Quarterback Matthew Jordan added 2 touchdowns on the ground and Marcus Marshall enjoyed 51 yards on 10 carries and a Touchdown. The Georgia Tech defense after a slow start finished the game in a positive way. Losing 7–0 to begin the game, the Tech Defense held Mercer to just a field goal the remaining three quarters, which propelled the team to victory. Overall, Tech played very positively and as it heads into conference play, it meets Vanderbilt next weekend on September 17.


1 2 3 4 Total
Commodores 7 0 0 0 7
Yellow Jackets 14 3 14 7 38
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
19–15–3 2009 GT, 56–31

Enjoying the team's fourth straight 2–0 start, Quarterback Justin Thomas and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets offense totaled over 500 yards of total offense against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta. Thomas connected on 6 of his passes for 225 yards, including an 81-yard touchdown throw to Marcus Marshall. On the very first play of the game, Marshall took a screen in the flats and darted his way into the Vanderbilt endzone on the Yellow Jackets first play from scrimmage. The Georgia Tech defense came out strong and held Vanderbilt to just 275 yards of offense. Tech hosts #3 Clemson University on Thursday, September 22, for an ACC Showdown. Clemson, who has won three of the last four meetings between the two teams, comes in ranked the highest it ever has in a game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Clemson began playing football in 1886.


1 2 3 4 Total
#5 Tigers 14 9 0 3 26
Yellow Jackets 0 0 0 7 7
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
50–28–2 2015 CLEM, 43–24

The Clemson Tigers zipped off to a fast start via their star quarterback, Gainesville, Ga. native Deshaun Watson. He connected on three touchdown passes in the first half alone. When the tigers led 14–0, Lance Austin came up with a tremendous interception of a Watson pass in the endzone. When Lance attempted to the return the ball as far as possible, a teammate and Austin accidentally collided which jarred the ball out into the endzone, where Clemson was attempting to score. What seemed like a touchback for Georgia Tech, the play was controversially ruled a safety. From then, Clemson led 16–0 rather than 14–0, and ensuingly scored with 4 seconds in the half. They also added a career long 47 yard field goal by their placekicker who had missed a 27-yard field goal earlier in the game. Clemson outgained Georgia Tech 417–125. While the Georgia Tech offense struggled to pass protect star quarterback Justin Thomas, True Freshman Dedrick Mills enjoyed another outstanding performance, running for 74 yards and a touchdown, where he ran through close to four Clemson defenders and scored. Georgia Tech faces Miami on October 1, seeking its second ACC win in 2016.

Miami (FL)Edit

1 2 3 4 Total
#14 Hurricanes 7 21 7 0 35
Yellow Jackets 0 14 7 0 21
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
11–10 2015 MIA, 38–21

Georgia Tech suffered two scoop and scores against the Miami (FL) Hurricanes, which resulted in a huge turnaround in the game. With Tech and the Hurricanes tied at 7–7, Justin Thomas and the Jackets were driving downfield to add another score when a crucial penalty was called on Georgia Tech, knocking the white and gold out of field goal range. From then on, Miami (FL) scored on the backs of Brad Kaaya and with two ensuing touchdowns via the defense, the Hurricanes enjoyed a 28–7 lead from there and eventually took the game by a final tally of 35–21. Georgia Tech's offense did show much improvement from the prior week against Clemson, racking up over two hundred forty yards on the ground. With a looming momentous game the following weekend in Pittsburgh, Pa, Georgia Tech seeks to rebound.

at PittsburghEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Yellow Jackets 3 17 0 14 34
Panthers 7 14 3 13 37
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
4–6 2015 PITT, 31–28

The Pittsburgh Panthers behind their transfer quarterback Peterman got off to a quick start against Georgia Tech, when they ran a trick play by throwing a flat screen out to their offensive tackle, who apparently was an eligible receiver on the play. The Tackle took the ball over 40 yards into the endzone to give the panthers an original 7–0 lead. Georgia Tech answered on the following drive with a field goal by senior veteran Harrison Butker. Unfortunately for the Jackets, following a strong performance by Quarterback Justin Thomas, an acrobatic 96 yard Kickoff return for a touchdown by Junior JJ Green, and two more A back scores from Clinton Lynch and another by Green, the white and gold fell up short ultimately. Taking the lead with close to 5 minutes left via a JJ Green touchdown, with the Yellow Jackets up 34–27, defending a third and long against Pittsburgh, a ball was tipped off of Corey Griffin's fingertips and into the hands of a Pittsburgh Tight End who ran an extra 45 yards into the endzone. On Tech's ensuing drive it came up short on fourth down and Chris Blewitt kicked a 28-yard field goal which ricocheted off the right post and in as time expired to defeat Georgia Tech.

Georgia SouthernEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Eagles 7 3 0 14 24
Yellow Jackets 21 0 0 14 35
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
1–0 2014 GT, 42–38

Georgia Tech, behind the guidance of Justin Thomas, enjoyed a 35–24 win against the Georgia Southern Eagles in Atlanta. Thomas threw for 175 yards and a touchdown and Dedrick Mills added 89 yards on 12 carries and a Touchdown. The Yellow Jacket defense enjoyed a strong day, holding the Eagles offense to a minimal number of yards. Harrison Butker missed a short field goal, his only miss of the entire season. This was the second ever meeting between Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern, with Tech earning a win in 2014. At 1–3 in the ACC, Georgia Tech seeks to rebound over the next three weeks when it faces Top 20 University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill on November 5, and then the following weekend in Blacksburg Virginia facing #23 Virginia Tech. This weekend, Tech faces Duke in Atlanta in two weeks on October 29.


1 2 3 4 Total
Blue Devils 0 7 21 7 35
Yellow Jackets 14 14 3 7 38
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
50–32–1 2015 DUKE, 34–20

Bouncing back from a 1–3 start in the ACC, Senior Superstar Quarterback Justin Thomas racked up over 451 yards of Total Offense alone, tallying 195 yards on the ground and 257 yards through the air. Georgia Tech enjoyed a strong start to the game offensively, taking a 28–7 lead at halftime against the visiting the Duke Blue Devils from Durham, North Carolina, a team who had defeated Georgia Tech over the last two seasons, in 2014 and 2015. Georgia Tech won the Orange Bowl in 2014 and only lost three games, one of them being at hands of Duke. At the beginning of the Second half, Georgia Tech suffered two crucial turnovers which Duke turned into instant touchdowns, cutting the lead to 28–21. A Field Goal by Harrison Butker in the 3rd quarter gave Georgia Tech some leeway with a 31–21 lead, but Duke ensuingly scored two touchdowns to take the lead 35–31 with 6 minutes left in the game. With Georgia Tech needing a score, it was sacked on 1st and 10 from the 15, sending Tech back to its own 8-yard line. It was facing a 2nd and 17 with the clock running, one play before being sacked, and momentum completely on the side of the Duke Blue Devils. Matters were looking bleak. Justin Thomas avoided three rushers on 2nd and 17 in the endzone, avoiding a safety, and darted 61 yards down the sideline as the clock continued running and time began to slowly fade away in the game. Then, an acrobatic catch by Clinton Lynch from Thomas for a score sent the crowd into ecstasy and heartbeats began to relax. Needing a three and out to relax a bit, the Tech defense stood strong and Duke acted like it was going for it on 4th and 3 from its own 39 but the Quarterback quick snapped and punted the ball. From there, facing a third and seventeen, Justin Thomas avoiding a number of defenders and trecked 51 yards for a first down with 2 minutes remaining, allowing the White and Gold to run out the clock. This was Georgia Tech's second come from behind ACC victory in 2016, with the first coming in dramatic fashion overseas in Dublin, Ireland.

at North CarolinaEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Yellow Jackets 7 10 3 0 20
#18 Tar Heels 17 10 14 7 48
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
28–20–3 2015 UNC, 38–31

Seeking to stay in the hunt for the 2016 Dr. Pepper ACC Championship in Orlando, Florida, Georgia Tech traveled to Chapel Hill North Carolina on November 5, 2016 seeking a win against Ryan Switzer and the North Carolina Tar Heels. In one of Tech's highlights, Clinton Lynch caught a 5-yard screen and bulldozed over six unc defenders for a 79-yard touchdown. Tech kept matters close until the second half.

at Virginia TechEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Yellow Jackets 6 14 0 10 30
#18 Hokies 0 0 7 13 20
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
4–9 2015 VT, 23–21

Georgia Tech fired back at critics and the media the following weekend in dramatic fashion in Blacksburg, Virginia. On the opening kickoff of the ballgame, Ocee (Fla.) native Terrell Lewis spearheaded the Virginia Tech kick returner, and the ball was knocked loose where Knoxville (Tenn.) native Nathan Cottrell dove onto the ball and hung on for the Yellow Jackets. From there, the Georgia Tech offense and defense took a stand for themselves and manhandled the Virginia Tech offense in every way. The Georgia Tech defense brought immense pressure the entire game, pressuring Virginia Tech quarterback Athens (TX) native Jeron Evans. Tech sacked Evans six times and pressured him eleven times. Coaches Speed, Roof, and McCollum brought the heat the whole game and the Tech defense stood up immensely. Georgia Tech blocked a field goal attempt which was recovered by Lance Austin, who is famous for his epic blocked field goal return in October 2015 which propelled Georgia Tech to victory over top 5 Florida State University on the final play of the game. His twin brother Lawrence Austin enjoyed two acrobatic interceptions, which showed off his impeccable vision. The Georgia Tech offense, without fifth year senior veteran Justin Thomas, was thrust into victory mode behind an offensive line with three true freshman starting, Jahaziel Lee, Parker Braun, and Kenny Cooper. Redshirt sophomore Matthew Jordan of Jackson, Alabama made his first collegiate start at Georgia Tech, and his ability to lead the offense turned out to be a significant aid in the game. Jordan enjoyed a 55-yard touchdown scamper and sophomore Marcus Marshall enjoyed another 50-yard touchdown on top. Tech enjoyed a 30–7 lead with 5 minutes left and the final tally ended in a 30–20 victory for Georgia Tech.


1 2 3 4 Total
Cavaliers 0 10 0 7 17
Yellow Jackets 0 7 14 10 31
Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner
19–18–1 2015 UVA, 27–21

On Senior Day for Justin Thomas, Patrick Gamble, Harrison Butker, and Roderick Rook Chungong, Georgia Tech surged to victory in front of 48,500 fans at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Their careers included two ACC Championship game appearances, one Orange Bowl Championship, one Sun Bowl Championship, and one Music City Bowl appearance. Justin Thomas was just yards shy of becoming the Georgia Tech leader in all-time total offense. He threw 5 of 11 completions with a long touchdown pass to Sophomore Clinton Lynch. The Georgia Tech defense played very well, with Lance Austin and Corey Griffin making two crucial interceptions. Tech would face archrival University of Georgia on November 26 in Athens, where it would seek an upset as an underdog.

at GeorgiaEdit

1 2 3 4 Total
Yellow Jackets 7 7 0 14 28
Bulldogs 7 7 13 0 27

Trailing UGA 14–27 with only 9:30 left in the game, the Yellow Jackets embarked on a 7 play, 94-yard touchdown drive that ended in a 5-yard touchdown run by Dedrick Mills to make it a 21–27 game with 6:28 remaining on the clock. On the ensuing Bulldogs drive, georgia was able to run over 2 minutes off the clock. That drive ended, however, when Georgia Tech defensive back Lance Austin intercepted Jacob Eason with 3:39 left in the game. Starting from georgia's 46-yard line, the Yellow Jackets drove down to u[sic]ga's red zone. On a 3rd and goal situation with 36 seconds left in the game, Georgia Tech called a toss pitch to Qua Searcy, who would then pass the ball to Justin Thomas on a trick play. When the Yellow Jackets ran the play, however, Thomas was covered. Instead of passing the ball, Searcy ran the ball in for a 6-yard touchdown to tie the game 27–27. The ensuing extra point gave Georgia Tech a 28–27 lead. On the last play of the game, Eason was once again intercepted, securing a victory for the Yellow Jackets.[5][6]

With the victory, Justin Thomas became the first Georgia Tech quarterback to beat georgia twice in his career since Joe Hamilton in 1998–99.[5]


1 2 3 4 Total
Yellow Jackets 10 10 3 10 33
Wildcats 0 3 0 15 18

Georgia Tech took an early lead on a strip-six fumble return forced by DT Pat Gamble, and finished by LB PJ Davis. Eventually, Georgia Tech won 33–18.

Overall Record Previous Meeting Previous Winner


  1. ^ "Georgia Tech Football: 2014 Football Information Guide". Georgia Tech Athletic Association. 2014. p. 20. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  2. ^ "2014 Georgia Tech Football Roster". Georgia Tech Athletic Association. Archived from the original on February 17, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Georgia Tech rallies for stunning 28–27 win over Georgia. ESPN. 26 November 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  6. ^ Georgia Tech vs. Georgia Play-By-Play. ESPN. 26 November 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.