Ga. Tech smothers Syracuse, 31-22

Haynes King threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as host Georgia Tech became bowl-eligible with a 31-22 home victory over Syracuse on Saturday evening in Atlanta.

King finished 16 of 20 for 180 yards and ran for a team-high 82 yards as the Yellow Jackets (6-5, 5-3 ACC) won for the third time in four games. Jamal Haynes contributed two touchdowns — one rushing and one receiving — for Georgia Tech.

Syracuse (5-6, 1-6) essentially played without a quarterback for the second straight game, as typical starter Garrett Shrader (upper body) was severely limited and regular backup Carlos Del Rio-Wilson (lower body) was sidelined.

Tight end Dan Villari took a bulk of the snaps for the Orange and went 14 of 14 for 59 yards while rushing for 64 yards and a score. Running back LeQuint Allen also saw significant action at quarterback and ran for 120 yards on 27 carries.

Georgia Tech took the opening kickoff and lit the scoreboard on King’s 15-yard TD pass to Haynes. Syracuse responded with Brady Denaburg’s 44-yard field goal, but that marked the only first-half points for the Orange.

Denaburg missed a 50-yarder early in the second quarter and the Yellow Jackets quickly made Syracuse pay, as King threw a bomb to Dominick Blaylock for a 53-yard touchdown. The hosts tacked on a 22-yard field goal from Aidan Birr in the waning seconds of the half for a 17-3 lead at intermission.

Things got even worse for Syracuse to begin the second half, as Darrell Gill Jr. fumbled the kickoff and Georgia Tech recovered. Haynes ran for a 30-yard touchdown on the next play to make it 24-3.

The Orange began their comeback with Villari’s 4-yard TD run with about 10 minutes left in the third quarter.

Later in the period, Allen unleashed a 53-yard punt return to set up his own 1-yard TD plunge, but the Orange botched the snap on the extra point. That error came back to bite the Orange, as they had to go for two after Allen’s 2-yard TD run midway through the fourth.

Allen tried to pass on the conversion attempt, but nothing materialized as Syracuse still trailed 24-22.

King’s 19-yard TD run with 2:22 left essentially sealed the outcome.

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