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Look at these numbers and wonder how the hell Georgia Tech lost to Tennessee

The Jackets were unstoppable ... except when they fumbled or had to attempt a field goal.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Georgia Tech Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA — Georgia Tech lost to Tennessee, 42-41, in double overtime on Monday night, a thrilling final game of college football’s opening weekend. Although the Yellow Jackets lost, the performance Paul Johnson’s offense turned in was nothing short of impressive, and a little ironic.

When looking at all of Tech’s final stats together, it’s pretty astonishing that the Yellow Jackets ended up losing.

GT quarterback TaQuon Marshall, who made his first career start, had a historic night.

The former three-star recruit, listed by 247Sports as an all-purpose back from the class of 2015, had a lights-out performance, featuring:

  • 369 total yards of offense.
  • 249 rushing yards, the most by a GT quarterback since Eddie Prokop in the 1944 Sugar Bowl vs. Tulsa.
  • five rushing touchdowns, the most by a single player in school history.

The Jackets grounded and pounded the Vols, but they threw successfully, too.

On the night, the Yellow Jackets had a whopping 535 yards on the ground, compared to Tennessee’s 148. Tech running back KirVonte Benson added another 124 yards and a touchdown to the effort.

But when Marshall had to throw, he was able to hit deep, averaging 24 yards per completion. Of his five completions, three went more than 15 yards, including one for 44 yards and another for 42.

Oh, and Georgia Tech’s time of possession is mind boggling.

GT finished with 41:27, compared to 18:33 to Tennessee. Comparing each team’s offensive totals is something to look at.

Even on the final play of the game, Tech had a numbers advantage: as in, the number of bodies it had near the ball.

So how’d Tennessee win? Turnovers and special teams.

The Vols recovered two of GT’s three fumbles and had no giveaways of their own.

They also blocked a Tech field goal, saw another GT kick miss, had 51-yard and 35-yard kick returns, booted a 70-yard punt, snuffed both of Tech’s kickoff returns, and pinned GT inside its own 20 five times. Poor Yellow Jacket special teams meant long fields for the offense, which meant drives could last forever and still produce no points.

The turnovers thing was aided by the power of Tennessee’s magical sideline turnover trash can, probably.

Add all that together, and it’s still really hard to believe Tennessee won.

Not to mention this was the highest rushing total ever surrendered by the Vols.

Monday night broke the previous mark of 457 set in a 56-28 loss to Alabama on Oct. 18, 1986. Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is happy to be done with the Jackets.

Reporter: You gave up over 500 rushing yards and you talk about improving your defense. What specifically are you thinking of improving before Saturday?

Jones: Well, the good thing is we don't have to play a triple option football team.

And Johnson summed up the feeling perfectly:

“I don't think I've ever been in a game where you run 96 plays and have 655 yards and lose,” Johnson said postgame. “Yeah.”