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Playoff dark horse Georgia Tech routs Alcorn State with run and pass

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Georgia Tech uses run game to sting Alcorn State

The No. 16 Yellow Jackets rush for 476 yards and nine touchdowns in a 69-6 win over the Braves in the season opener.

One of the preseason ACC favorites and a playoff candidate, No. 16 Georgia Tech was dominant Thursday night in its season-opening 69-6 win over FCS opponent Alcorn State. With a three-touchdown lead after 10 minutes, the Yellow Jackets were even afforded the luxury of working on their passing attack.

What the win means for Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets won’t give the playoff selection committee any reason to put this win under the microscope like the group might have been forced to do last season. While the 2014 season ended with 11 wins, many were reluctant to buy into the Jackets early because of three mediocre showings against cupcakes to start the season. With the rolling of Alcorn State on Thursday, though, the Jackets reinforce the belief they are a legitimate playoff contender this season. A slow start had to be avoided this season, too, with a road trip to Notre Dame in two weeks.

Top play: Quarterback Justin Thomas began his Heisman bid in the first quarter on a play that broke down. The redshirt junior rolled right, looking for a receiver, when a lane the width of Interstate 85 opened to his left. Thomas crossed the field and beat a defender to the pylon for the touchdown.

Uh, what?: Georgia Tech ran the ball 790 times last season, second most nationally. Leading 20-0 against Alcorn State, though, coach Paul Johnson called three consecutive pass plays. Thomas connected on all three, the last of which was a touchdown. Every play on the scoring drive was a pass. Georgia Tech still scored nine rushing touchdowns, just to appease the option enthusiasts.

Player of the game: Broderick Snoddy. He suffered a gruesome leg injury last Nov. 15 in a win against Clemson that cost him the rest of his junior season. Snoddy missed all of spring practice, too, but Johnson gave Snoddy the first touch of the game on a toss. It was a nice gesture for a senior who worked hard to make his way back onto the field. Snoddy rushed for 51 yards on three carries, but unfortunately a replay review overturned a touchdown. Helmet stickers are also awarded to rookie Marcus Marshall and Patrick Skov, who combined for 256 yards and five touchdowns on 20 carries in their Georgia Tech debuts.