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Georgia Tech pulls away in second half, beats Wofford 38-19

Justin Thomas, DeAndre Smelter lead Jackets

Georgia Tech running back Tony Zenon (9), a former Deerfield-Windsor standout, and Wofford’s Brody Hingst (49) watch an overthrown ball intended for Zenon during the second quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday. (Reuters)

Georgia Tech running back Tony Zenon (9), a former Deerfield-Windsor standout, and Wofford’s Brody Hingst (49) watch an overthrown ball intended for Zenon during the second quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday. (Reuters)

ATLANTA — Justin Thomas passed for 282 yards and found DeAndre Smelter for two touchdowns as Georgia Tech pulled away in the final minutes for a 38-19 victory over Wofford on Saturday.

Thomas completed 11-of-15 passes and Smelter finished with five receptions for 132 yards, the two hooking up for third-quarter scores of 19 and 71 yards after Georgia Tech (1-0) held a 10-9 lead at halftime. Zach Laskey rushed for 70 yards and two touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets, and Thomas added 71 yards on the ground.

Ray Smith rushed for 108 yards - 92 coming on a touchdown run with 51 seconds left in the first half - for Wofford (0-1), which drew within 24-19 early in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Evan Jacks added 89 yards rushing on 13 carries.

Harrison Butker’s 30-yard field goal on the final play of the first half gave Georgia Tech a 10-9 advantage, and Thomas hit Smelter on a 19-yard touchdown to cap an 11-play, 72-yard drive to open the second half. After Wofford’s David Marvin kicked a 51-yard field goal with 4:27 left in the quarter, Smelter hauled in Thomas’ pass on the opening play of the ensuing possession at the Wofford 35, slipping a tackle and weaving his way into the end zone for a 71-yard touchdown and a 24-12 Georgia Tech lead.

Wofford answered with a 16-play, 75-yard march, pulling within 24-19 with 9:49 remaining on Octavius Harden’s 4-yard run. Laskey’s second touchdown of the day with 8:34 to play capped a quick 80-yard Georgia Tech drive and re-established a 12-point lead, and Synjyn Days scored from 4 yards out with 1:34 left to round out the scoring.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Georgia Tech won its eighth consecutive home opener and recorded its 24th straight victory against a FCS school. … Marvin’s 51-yard field goal is the second-longest in Wofford history and Smith’s 92-yard touchdown is the fifth-longest in program history. … Laskey scored on a 4-yard run in the first quarter.