ATLANTA — David Sims says Georgia Tech accomplished exactly what it set out to do against Alabama A&M.
“We wanted to make sure that when we come in to watch film on Monday,” he said, “that we’ll like what we see.”
Sims ran for 111 yards, Synjyn Days and Matt Connors each had two rushing touchdowns and Georgia Tech beat Alabama A&M 66-7 on Saturday.
Coach Paul Johnson got the performance he wanted against an FCS opponent before the Yellow Jackets play host to Georgia next week.
Georgia Tech (7-4) used mostly third- and fourth-stringers in the second half as Johnson sought to keep top players healthy.
“I thought early on we played fairly well,” Johnson said. “Then as the game wore on in the second half, really we were just trying to make sure we didn’t lose anybody for next week.”
Jaymason Lee completed 14 of 27 passes for 205 yards and one touchdown for Alabama A&M (4-8).
Zach Laskey, Robert Godhigh, Days and Connors combined for five TDs in the first half.
Sims scored on a 39-yard run, linebacker Quayshawn Nealy returned a fumble 18 yards and Harrison Butker added a 40-yard field goal to make it 52-0 at halftime.
Georgia Tech set a modern-day school record for points in a half and the most since 1950.
Alabama A&M scored late in the fourth quarter when Lee’s 20-yard TD pass to Demario Ross cut the lead to 59-7.
“No one wants to leave the game without scoring,” Lee said. “I told the offense, ‘Let’s try to get on the board no matter how much time we’ve got.’ ”
Quarterback Tim Byerly ran for a 20-yard score in the closing minutes to make it 66-7.
Jackets linebacker Tyler Marcordes, making his first start of the season, had one interception, 1.5 sacks, three tackles and one forced fumble in the first half.
The sophomore’s interception came against Terrance Pride on Alabama A&M’s second play from scrimmage and set up the 6-yard run by Laskey that made it 14-0.
Marcordes replaced Brandon Watts, whose undisclosed injury snapped a string of 19 consecutive starts. Johnson said this week that Watts could return for the Georgia game, but added that he would not play against Alabama A&M.
Nealy’s fumble return for a touchdown was the Jackets’ first since Jerrard Tarrant ran one back against Mississippi State in 2009.
The Jackets, who attempted only six passes in the game, led 38-0 at the 10:52 mark of the second quarter. Sims’ 39-yard touchdown run 4 minutes later gave them a 45-0 lead.
At that point, Georgia Tech had 315 total yards, 302 more than Alabama A&M.
Offensive tackle Ray Beno returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the Oct. 5 loss at Miami. Beno took 12 snaps at Clemson, but Johnson wanted him to play multiple series so he’ll be ready for the Georgia game.
Connors added a 4-yard TD run early in the third to put Georgia Tech ahead 59-0. For a senior like Godhigh, the second half was a good time to cheer for teammates who rarely get to play.
Connors, a redshirt junior, is not listed on the depth chart at B-back in Johnson’s spread option attack.
“It’s definitely fun,” said Godhigh, the Jackets’ season leader in all-purpose yards. “To see everybody get a chance to go out and play in front of all the fans was fun to watch.”
More importantly, Sims believes the Jackets will be in good shape physically and mentally when Georgia visits Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia has won four in a row against the Jackets and leads the series 63-39-5.
“If we can focus on ourselves and make sure that we come out to play,” Sims said. “I think we have a good chance of winning this game.”