King throws 2 TD passes, adds scoring run as Georgia Tech holds off Syracuse 31-22


ATLANTA (AP) — Haynes King threw two touchdown passes and added a 19-yard scoring run late in the fourth quarter as Georgia Tech stopped Syracuse’s comeback to beat the Orange 31-22 on Saturday night and become bowl-eligible for the first time in five years.

Jamal Haynes' 30-yard scoring run to open the second half gave Georgia Tech (6-5, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) a 24-3 lead. Haynes' scoring run came after Darrell Gill Jr. fumbled a kickoff return that was recovered by Georgia Tech's Jacob Cruz.

Syracuse did not have a player listed as a quarterback take a snap in the first half. Despite being limited by at quarterback, the Orange (5-6, 1-6) still closed the deficit to 24-22 on three second-half scoring runs, one by Dan Villari and two by LeQuint Allen Jr. Allen, who ran for 120 yards, and had a 23-yard run to set up his 2-yard scoring run midway through the final quarter.

The Yellow Jackets answered with a long drive capped by King's scoring run. Linebacker Kyle Efford's interception of sophomore Luke MacPhail's first pass of the game clinched the win.

Villari, a tight end, and Allen, a running back, had direct-snap runs as the bulk of the Syracuse offense while taking most of the snaps at quarterback. Villari was 14-for-14 passing for 59 yards while rushing for 89 yards and a touchdown.

King completed 16 of 20 passes for 180 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while rushing fur 82 yards and a touchdown.

Syracuse's run-dominant offense was a surprise in last week's 28-13 win over Pittsburgh when the Orange rushed for 392 yards, the high mark in the ACC this season. Three players, including quarterback Garrett Shrader, ran for more than 100 yards as Syracuse snapped a five-game losing streak.

Shrader was in uniform but was limited by an undisclosed injury. Backup quarterback Carlos Del Rio Wilson, who suffered a lower body injury in a 17-10 loss to Boston College on Nov. 3, was not with the team.

Shrader finally entered the game on a third-down snap from the Georgia Tech 1 late in the third quarter. Schrader lined up behind center before handing off to Allen for a touchdown run. Following a botched extra point, Georgia Tech's lead was trimmed to 24-16.

Shrader was back on the field for a successful fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak to open the fourth quarter.

Georgia Tech's last bowl appearance was a 34-10 loss to Minnesota in the 2018 Quick Lane Bowl.


Syracuse: The Orange might have overcome their limited offensive options if they had taken advantage of two Georgia Tech turnovers. An interception by King led to a missed field goal. A fumble by Haynes recovered by defensive end Caleb Okechukwu midway through the third quarter gave Syracuse the ball at the Georgia Tech 41. The Orange were stopped on a fourth-down run by Allen.

Georgia Tech: With King and Haynes dominating the carries, the Yellow Jackets leaned on their running game for a clock-draining drive in the fourth quarter. Haynes had gains off 11 and 8 yards on back-to-back runs. The Yellow Jackets gained 372 yards with a balance of 192 rushing and 180 passing.


Syracuse closes its regular season with a home game against Wake Forest next Saturday, giving the Orange a final opportunity to qualify for a bowl.

Georgia Tech hosts No. 1 Georgia on Saturday in an attempt to end the Bulldogs' five-game winning streak in the state rivalry, including the last three by a combined margin of 134-21.