ATLANTA — Quarterback Jeff Sims threw a go-ahead 19-yard scoring pass to former Dalton High School running back Jahmyr Gibbs midway through the fourth quarter and Georgia Tech rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to beat Louisville 46-27 on Friday night.
Louisville running backs lost three fumbles while Georgia Tech did not commit a turnover.
Javian Hawkins ran for 155 yards for the Cardinals but his fumble in the fourth quarter was costly. Jordan Domineck’s recovery near midfield set up Sims’ scoring pass to Gibbs, who vaulted defensive back Isaiah Hayes at the goal line to give the Yellow Jackets a 32-27 lead.
Georgia Tech (2-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a two-game losing streak. Sims, a freshman, passed for 249 yards with two touchdowns, including a 34-yard scoring pass to Malachi Carter to extend the lead with less than three minutes remaining. Dontae Smith added a 12-yard scoring run in the final minute.
Louisville (1-3, 0-3) suffered its third straight loss despite a strong effort by quarterback Malik Cunningham, who passed for 229 yards with two touchdowns and ran for two scores.
Cunningham did not throw an interception. It was a dramatic return to form for the junior quarterback, who threw a career-high three interceptions and was sacked seven times in a 23-20 loss to Pittsburgh on Sept. 26. Before the loss to Pitt, Cunningham had never thrown more than one interception in a game.
Cunningham completed scoring passes to Marshon Ford and Tutu Atwell. His second touchdown run, an 11-yarder late in the third quarter, gave the Cardinals a 27-26 lead.
Georgia Tech trailed 21-7 before suddenly finding its offense in the final minute of the first half.
Sims completed a pass to Gibbs for 41 yards, starting a string of three consecutive completions that moved the Yellow Jackets to the Louisville 9. Sims then handed to Ahmarean Brown on an apparent reverse before Brown, running right, stopped and passed to Jalen Camp for a touchdown.
Louisville running back Hassan Hall lost two fumbles, including one on a kickoff return that was forced and recovered by Bruce Jordan-Swilling. The play set up Sims’ 22-yard scoring run for a 26-21 lead in the third quarter. Sims ran for 64 yards.
Gibbs’ big game
With 15 touches for 121 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing and one receiving), Gibbs made plenty of plays for the Yellow Jackets.
He scored the team’s first touchdown, taking a handoff and running it in from 12 yards out wth nine minutes left in the first quarter. With his team trailing 27-26 midway through the fourth quarter, Gibbs caught a pass from Sims and hurdled into the end zone for a 19-yard score. The Yellow Jackets would never trail again.
Gibbs had 13 carries for 61 yards, leading the Yellow Jackets in carries and second on the team in rushing yards. He added two catches for 60 yards including the 41-yard screen pass before halftime that helped set up Georgia Tech’s second touchdown.
Georgia Tech: Mistakes, including false starts and the blocked extra point on a low kick by Gavin Stewart, continue to hurt the Yellow Jackets. Even so, Sims continues to show promise as the new leader of an improving team.
Georgia Tech faces a big challenge when No. 1 Clemson visits Bobby Dodd Stadium on Oct. 17.