Georgia Tech vs Pitt: Halftime Updates – Sports Illustrated

  • October 2, 2022

It was the first game for Georgia Tech under interim head coach Brent Key and for his first game as the interim head coach, he had to take on the 24th-ranked Pitt Panthers on the road.
Jeff Sims nearly throws a pick-six on the first play on what was a late read. After an overthrow, it was third and ten, and Sims found a way to scramble for a first down. Sims was using his legs early and picked up another first down just a couple of plays later. 
Sims made a terrific throw to E.J. Jenkins later on in the drive and Jenkins made a fantastic catch to get Georgia Tech into Pitt territory. The drive would stall out and Georgia Tech would have to settle for a field goal, which is obviously no sure thing with this team. Gavin Stewart made the attempt and after the first drive, Georgia Tech had an early lead on Pitt 3-0. 
Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims had a rough first half throwing the football against Pitt
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Georgia Tech defense held up on the first drive and forced a three and out. D'Quan Douse got a big pressure on first down and the Tech forced two more incompletions to make the Panthers punt. I was surprised that Pitt did not come out and try to run the ball on the first drive, considering the way that Israel Abanikanda has been playing. 
The second drive for the Georgia Tech offense was not a good one. A pair of runs went nowhere resulting in a third and long and then Sims nearly threw another interception. Tech would punt the ball back after a three and out and give the ball back to the Panthers. 
Georgia Tech's defense would continue to have a good start and LaMiles Brooks made a great hit on the drive to force an incompletion and get the ball back for the offense. 
It was a dreadful third series for the offense. A bad exchange on the handoff and a stuffed run led to a scramble by Sims on third and 23 and then a punt. 
After punting the ball back to Pitt, the Panthers had a false start before the first play of the drive that made it 1st and 15. After a couple of failed plays, Sylvain Yondjouen sacked Slovis and Georgia Tech's defense forced another three and out. 
On the fourth drive for the Yellow Jackets offense, Sims nearly threw another interception. He was really careless with the ball in the first quarter and nearly cost his team several times. An offensive pass interference call pushed the Yellow Jackets' offense back and it forced the Georgia Tech offense into another three and out. It looked like Pitt was going to get the ball back, but a roughing the kicker call on the punt gave the ball back to the Yellow Jackets. 
After a nice run on second down by Hassan Hall that gave the Tech offense a first down, Calijah Kancey got a big sack for Pitt that put Georgia Tech into a bad down and distance situation. Sims would have a designed run for little gain and that is how the first quarter ended. 
Georgia Tech outgained Pittsburgh 56-5 in the first quarter and dominated the time of possession. 
The 2nd quarter would open up with another Pitt sack on third down and Georgia Tech would have to punt the ball away. 
Georgia Tech would give up their first first down on defense courtesy of a run by Vincent Davis and he had a good drive for Pitt early in the second quarter. 
A false start by Pitt's right guard and then a timeout by Pat Narduzzi put Georgia Tech's defense back in a good position to get a stop. After the defensive line, led by Keion White, got pressure on third down, Georgia Tech would get the ball back. 
The Yellow Jackets could not do anything with the ball however and after Pitt got their third sack of the half, Georgia Tech would have to punt the ball back again. 
Pitt would begin to move the ball on the ground on their next drive and would even pick up a fourth down and five. Abanikanda was really starting to get going and the Tech defense was starting to show signs of cracking, but Jaylon King got a big stop on a third down. It looked like Pitt would try for a 51-yard field goal, but opted to go for it instead. The Yellow Jackets' defense got the stop and the offense would take over. 
Georgia Tech's defense had a great first half vs Pitt
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Yellow Jackets would open up with a big run by Sims that would get them into Pitt territory. Hall would then have a nine-yard carry, but Sims was stuffed on second and one, setting up a big third and short. Dontae Smith would be stuffed and Stewart would be brought on to try and extend the lead with a field goal. Stewart's kick was good and Tech extended the lead to 6-0. 
Pitt would get the ball back looking to score before the half. The Panthers would drive down the field and Slovis would find his tight end, Gavin Bartholomew, for a touchdown that gave the Panthers a 7-6 lead. 
Georgia Tech would get the ball back with over a minute left and three timeouts, but could not move the ball and had to punt the ball back with 45 seconds remaining in the half. 
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Jackson Caudell covers Georgia Tech Athletics at FanNation, a part of the Sports Illustrated Media Network and has been a lifelong Atlanta sports fan.