Ex-Hillside great Vad Lee drives stake into Devils
After scoring the game’s opening touchdown, Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee pointed to the 70 friends and family members in attendance and held up the Bull City sign with his hands.
Lee, who said he grew up four minutes from Wallace Wade Stadium, made Duke his home on Saturday. The Hillside High School graduate accounted for all five Georgia Tech touchdowns as the Yellow Jackets defeated the Blue Devils 38-14 in the conference opener for both teams.
“I can say it was (my) most emotional game because I know a lot of those guys,” Lee said. “Everywhere I looked I saw people (I knew). I even looked across the field and saw all Hillside stuff.”
Making his first road start, Lee became the first Georgia Tech quarterback to throw for four touchdowns since 2006 — before coach Paul Johnson came to Atlanta and installed a run-heavy triple-option offense.
Lee, who threw for more than 5,000 yards and ran for almost 2,000 at Hillside, said he wasn’t surprised to have that much success throwing the ball out of the option.
“They were saying that’s not the norm. I was saying that’s the norm to me,” Lee said. “You can’t tell me that.”
Lee led Hillside to a 16-0 record and the 2010 state title as a senior and was awarded the AP state player of the year award.
After redshirting in 2011, he spent last season as a backup to Tevin Washington, though he still averaged 5.7 yards a run and had nine rushing touchdowns.
Now the Durham native is running the show on his own. He threw an interception and fumbled the ball out of field goal range, but still led the Yellow Jackets to 28 straight points after Duke took a 7-3 lead.
In a two-minute drill to end the first half, Georgia Tech needed just 62 seconds to drive 74 yards in five plays, with Lee running twice and competing three passes. Then the Yellow Jackets opened up the second half with a methodical 15-play touchdown drive that took up more than half the quarter and effectively put the game out of reach.
“He made some plays,” Johnson said. “There were a lot of plays I’m sure he’d like to have back, but it’s going to be a process. He’s in a different situation — there’s going to be some good and some bad.”
Lee finished 8 of 16 passing for 125 yards and ran 22 times for 76 yards.
Lee was playing in the area for the first time since recording three touchdowns in Georgia Tech’s 68-50 win at North Carolina last season. Next up will be a rematch against the Tar Heels next Saturday in Atlanta.
“I’m definitely looking forward to playing them again,” said Lee, who grew up rooting for UNC. “I know they’re looking forward to playing us again because I know they want to put on a better performance this year.”
|GEORGIA TECH 38, DUKE 14|
GaT_FG Butker 49, 12:03.
Duke_Duncan 1 run (Martin kick), 9:14.
GaT_Lee 4 run (Butker kick), 6:04.
GaT_Smelter 24 pass from Lee (Butker kick), 10:05.
GaT_Smelter 10 pass from Lee (Butker kick), :42.
GaT_Godhigh 13 pass from Lee (Butker kick), 7:22.
Duke_Connette 7 run (Martin kick), 14:56.
GaT_Laskey 19 pass from Lee (Butker kick), 2:10.
|Time of Possession||38:32||21:28|
RUSHING_Georgia Tech, Godhigh 4-79, Lee 22-76, Sims 14-65,
Snoddy 3-29, Bostic 3-27, Laskey 3-24, Andrews 2-15, Days 5-14,
Zenon 2-10, Connors 1-6, Team 1-(minus 1). Duke, Duncan 16-89,
Thompson 6-19, Connette 10-15, Powell 2-9.
PASSING_Georgia Tech, Lee 8-16-1-125. Duke, Connette 15-28-0-122.
RECEIVING_Georgia Tech, Godhigh 4-59, Smelter 3-47, Laskey 1-19.
Duke, Crowder 6-38, Blakeney 4-49, Deaver 2-25, Thompson 2-3,