Durham, NC - Playing less than five miles from his old high school, Vad Lee felt right at home Saturday. The Georgia Tech quarterback accounted for five touchdowns in leading the Yellow Jackets to a 38-14 over Duke in the ACC opener.
Lee, who played at Hillside High School, just down the street from Duke’s Wallace Wade Stadium, threw four touchdown passes and added a rushing score in helping Tech win for the 10th consecutive time in the series.
Tech (2-0, 1-0), which picked up 344 rushing yards (average of 5.7 yards per carry), also won its conference opener for the sixth consecutive season, thanks to 28 unanswered points after Duke (2-1, 0-1) had taken a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.
After Jela Duncan’s go-ahead one-yard touchdown run, Lee took over. His four-yard touchdown run midway through the first gave the Yellow Jackets the lead for good and the redshirt-sophomore added a pair of passing touchdowns before halftime.
On third-and-12 midway through the second quarter, Lee made a beautiful throw in between two defenders and found Smelter for a 24-yard scoring strike. After the Yellow Jackets forced Duke to punt on its next three possessions, Tech put together an excellent two-minute drill. The Yellow Jackets gained an average of over 11 yards per play and the help of a personal foul penalty from Duke, and Lee and Smelter connected again for a 10-yard touchdown that sent Tech into the locker room up 24-7.
It was the first career touchdown catches for Smelter, who is in his first season with the football team after playing baseball for the past three seasons.
Lee tossed the final two of his four touchdown passes, which equalled his total from a year ago, in the second half. A 15-play drive that shaved off half the third quarter clock allowed the Yellow Jackets to go up 31-14 when Lee found Robert Godhigh for a 13-yard score.
With just over two minutes left in the game, Lee and Zach Laskey got together on a 19-yard touchdown that made it a 38-14 game.
Brandon Connette, making just his second career start and first since 2010 after an injury to starter Anthony Boone, had a seven-yard touchdown run on the opening play of the fourth quarter to get Duke to within 31-14 with 14:56 to play.