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.