Sports

After blowing 25-point lead, Georgia Tech rallies to beat Georgia Southern 42-38 with late TD

  • Georgia Tech running back Zach Laskey (37) heads to the end zone against Georgia Southern linebacker Antwione Williams (37) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Atlanta. Laskey scored a touchdown on the play. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

    Georgia Tech running back Zach Laskey (37) heads to the end zone against Georgia Southern linebacker Antwione Williams (37) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Atlanta. Laskey scored a touchdown on the play. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)  (The Associated Press)

  • Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson speaks to Tony Zenon (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Georgia Southern, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

    Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson speaks to Tony Zenon (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Georgia Southern, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)  (The Associated Press)

  • Georgia Tech wide receiver DeAndre Smelter (15) makes a catch during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Georgia Southern, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Atlanta. Smelter scored on the play.  (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

    Georgia Tech wide receiver DeAndre Smelter (15) makes a catch during the first half of an NCAA college football game against the Georgia Southern, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Atlanta. Smelter scored on the play. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)  (The Associated Press)

Justin Thomas threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Deon Hill with 23 seconds remaining, and Georgia Tech avoided a huge upset after blowing a 25-point lead, beating Georgia Southern 42-38 on Saturday.

Thomas' fourth TD pass of the game — by a team known for its triple-option running attack — kept the Yellow Jackets (3-0) from a hugely embarrassing loss to a state school they were playing for the first time.

Georgia Southern (1-2) scored 28 straight points after trailing 35-10 at halftime, putting the Eagles in position to beat a major-conference team for the second year in a row. They upset Florida last season.

But Georgia Tech's Jamal Golden forced a fumble that gave his team the ball with 4:12 remaining. The Yellow Jackets drove for the winning score.

On third-and-7 at the 13, Thomas avoided a blitz and got off the scoring pass to Hill.