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Jackets' running game overcomes mistakes

ATLANTA - Coach Paul Johnson was hardly pleased to watch as Georgia Tech fumbled five times, dropped several passes and failed to come up with more interceptions.

'We have a little problem with killer instinct and our intensity levels and playing hard,' Johnson said. 'That is something we have to work on.'

The Yellow Jackets' powerful running game was working just fine in their easy season opener.

Jonathan Dwyer ran for two touchdowns, and No. 15 Georgia Tech had 335 yards rushing in a 37-17 victory against Jacksonville State on Saturday.

The Yellow Jackets rested many of their starters in the second half with Clemson visiting Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday.

Dwyer, the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, scored on the first play from scrimmage, taking an option pitch for a 74-yard touchdown.

'That play is designed to get the ball to the edge, and they made good blocks, and (quarterback) Josh (Nesbitt) made a big read,' Dwyer said. 'Just give me the ball and let me make a play. That is what the offense is about, making the big plays.'

Dwyer finished with 95 yards rushing on seven carries, including a 5-yard touchdown later in the first quarter. Johnson kept Dwyer on the sideline for the entire second half.

'In hindsight, scoring on the first play of the game might not have been as good as you would think,' Johnson said. 'The good thing is that we won the game. We have to learn from this, but we will have to be 100 times better on Thursday night or we will get run out of our own stadium.'

Jacksonville State trailed 31-7 at halftime, scoring on Brooks Robinson's 20-yard flea-flicker TD catch.

'We just had to respond,' Gamecocks quarterback Marques Ivory said. 'We had to stay with it, no matter what the score was.'

After Dwyer's first score, Jacksonville State fumbled away the ensuing kickoff when Anthony Barnes knocked the ball loose from Jamal Young, and Jemea Thomas recovered at the Gamecocks 23.

Scott Blair's 20-yard field goal ended that drive. The Yellow Jackets went up 17-0 on Dwyer's second TD run later in the first quarter.

Georgia Tech's Demaryius Thomas caught four passes for 101 yards. His 56-yard reception put the Yellow Jackets on the Jacksonville State 17 midway through the second quarter.