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Rush to victory
Dwyer, Jackets gain 438 yards on the ground en route to win

ATLANTA - Georgia Tech ruled the red zone in its best effort under new coach Paul Johnson.

Jonathan Dwyer set a school record with an 88-yard touchdown run, Georgia Tech's defense shut out Mississippi State for three quarters and the Yellow Jackets beat the Bulldogs 38-7 on Saturday.

Mississippi State scored on only one of five red-zone chances. Georgia Tech was successful in three of four chances inside the Bulldogs' 20.

Johnson, usually difficult to please, was left with little to criticize in his postgame review of his spread option offense.

'They executed well,' Johnson said. 'I thought we played much, much better on the offensive line. We didn't allow penetrations that we allowed in the first three games.

'We really got the option going a little bit. Maybe we're getting better at it. I hope we are.'

Led by Dwyer's 141 yards rushing on nine carries, Georgia Tech (3-1) ran for 438 yards, its most since 1978 and the fifth-highest total in school history.

Georgia Tech's top four rushing totals all came between 1974-78 in coach Pepper Rodgers' wishbone attack.

Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom was a center when he played for Bear Bryant in Alabama's wishbone, making him well-qualified to prepare a team for a triple-option attack.

'They didn't do anything different,' said Croom of the Yellow Jackets. 'They didn't do anything we hadn't worked against. Absolutely nothing.'

The Bulldogs (1-3) may have known what to expect, but they couldn't stop Georgia Tech, even after the Yellow Jackets lost starting quarterback Josh Nesbitt to a hamstring injury on their opening drive.

Georgia Tech was favored, but the margin of victory was notable one week after the Bulldogs' 3-2 loss to Auburn.

The Yellow Jackets, coming off a 20-17 loss at Virginia Tech, said they wanted to make a statement for the Atlantic Coast Conference against the Southeastern Conference team.

'Everybody says the SEC is the best conference,' Dwyer said. 'We wanted to represent for the ACC and for Georgia Tech. That's what we did today.'

Mississippi State committed four turnovers as its streak without offensive points was extended to eight quarters before a fourth-quarter touchdown against Georgia Tech's backups.

Mississippi State managed 24 first downs - one more than Georgia Tech - and 407 yards, but it continued to bog down inside the 20-yard line.

'Moving the ball wasn't a problem,' Bulldogs quarterback Wesley Carroll said. 'Not being able to complete drives has been a problem the last couple of games.'

Dwyer, Greg Smith, Embry Peeples and backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw ran for touchdowns.

Shaw, a freshman who also threw a touchdown pass, took over after Nesbitt suffered a hamstring injury on a 21-yard run on Georgia Tech's first drive.

'The way Coach Johnson has it set up, anybody who goes out, we shouldn't miss a beat,' Dwyer said.

Cornerback Jahi Word-Daniels had a touchdown-saving play, a fourth-down stop and an interception. Defensive end Michael Johnson blocked a field goal, deflected two passes, recovered a fumble and had a fourth-down sack.

Mississippi State appeared to be on the verge of ending its scoring drought in the second quarter when Anthony Dixon took off from the Bulldogs' 20 on a 71-yard run. Word-Daniels made a diving grab for Dixon's foot, slowing the running back so Morgan Burnett could make the tackle at the Georgia Tech 9.

Four plays later, Johnson blocked Adam Carlson's 18-yard field-goal attempt.

'It was depressing to go off the field with no points,' Dixon said.

Burnett intercepted a pass by Wesley Carroll at the Georgia Tech 2 to end a 15-play drive by the Bulldogs at the end of the first half.

Mississippi State had another scoring chance end when backup quarterback Tyson Lee was sacked by Johnson on a fourth-down play from the Georgia Tech 7 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Georgia Tech had backups on the field when the Bulldogs finally scored on a 6-yard run by Robert Elliott midway through the final quarter.

Georgia Tech opened with an 11-play drive - all running plays - which ended with a 7-yard scoring run by Peeples.

Shaw had a 20-yard scoring pass to Demaryius Thomas later in the first quarter and a 25-yard touchdown run in the second period.

Georgia Tech began its first possession of the second half at its 12. Dwyer broke free and, aided by running back Lucas Cox's downfield block on safety Derek Pegues, ran 88 yards for the touchdown.

Before Dwyer's run, the longest run from scrimmage in Georgia Tech history was an 87-yarder by Bob McCoy against The Citadel in 1948.

Mississippi State's final possession ended with one final red-zone breakdown, its fourth turnover on a fumble by Lee inside the Georgia Tech 10 with 5 seconds left.

Brandon McRae had 10 catches for 102 yards and Dixon rushed for 94 yards for Mississippi State in the first meeting between the teams since 1929.