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Dontae Smith rushes for 3 TDs, carries Georgia Tech past Western Carolina

Sep 5, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets running back Dontae Smith (4) runs against the Clemson Tigers during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Dontae Smith ran for three touchdowns and Georgia Tech took control before halftime on the way to a 35-17 victory against Western Carolina on Saturday night in Atlanta.

Georgia Tech’s defense intercepted three passes to squash an upset bid from Western Carolina (1-1), which is a Football Championship Subdivision team.

The Yellow Jackets (1-1) snapped a seven-game losing streak dating back to last October. It was the team’s first triumph at Bobby Dodd Stadium since Sept. 11, 2021, versus Kennesaw State.

Smith carried the ball 11 times for 102 yards to lead a rushing attack that produced 243 yards.

Georgia Tech quarterback Jeff Sims was just 8 of 17 for 100 yards through the air. He added 48 rushing yards on eight carries.

Western Carolina quarterback Carlos Davis threw for 233 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions on 18-for-27 passing.

Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins is a former Western Carolina player.

The teams traded first-quarter touchdowns with Western Carolina scoring on Davis pass plays of 49 yards to Terrence Horne and 22 yards to Toler Keigley. Georgia Tech’s touchdowns came on Smith runs of 9 and 51 yards.

Nate McCollum’s 40-yard rushing touchdown barely four minutes into the second quarter put the Yellow Jackets ahead for good.

They converted again before halftime after an interception set them up at the Western Carolina 39-yard line. Four plays later, Smith reached the end zone on a 3-yard run.

Dylan McDuffie ran 2 yards to cap a 61-yard drive for Georgia Tech in the third quarter.

Richard McCollum’s 44-yard field goal for Western Carolina cut the gap to 35-17 with 11:21 remaining.

Georgia Tech led 28-14 at halftime even though the Catamounts had outgained the Yellow Jackets 272-267.

This was Georgia Tech’s first 2022 home game on its campus after it opened the season with Monday night’s loss to Clemson at nearby Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

–Field Level Media