ATLANTA - Everything looked easy for Georgia Tech against Vanderbilt.
Tony Hollings made playing tailback look easy. Chan Gailey made being a head coach look easy. The Yellow Jackets made beating the Commodores look very easy.The Yellow Jackets kicked off the Gailey era in fine fashion whipping the Commodores 45-3 behind Hollings and a dominant defense on Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium in the season opener for both teams.
Hollings, a converted safety starting his first game at tailback, became the first Yellow Jackets rusher to gain 100 yards in his first game. He scored on runs of 2 and 56 yards and had another touchdown called back on a holding penalty. Hollings finished with 153 yards on 17 carries.
Gailey spent much of the game standing 10 yards or so from the rest of his team, studying a play chart and talking through his headset. The former Dallas Cowboys coach, who had spent one of the last 17 seasons (1993 at Samford) in the college game, had little to do on Saturday against the outmanned Commodores. He became the eighth of 12 Yellow Jackets' head coach to win his debut. The 42-point margain of victory is the largest for a Georgia Tech head coach in his opener since William Alexander's 44-0 victory against Wake Forest in 1920.
Despite dominating the first 15 minutes of play, Georgia Tech had nothing to show for it.
That changed on the first play of the second quarter.
Quarterback A.J. Suggs, a transfer from Tennessee in his first game with the Yellow Jackets , connected with senior wide receiver Will Glover for a 3-yard scoring pass. Glover outmuscled Vanderbilt cornerback Dominique Morris for the ball.
The deluge of points began there.
The Yellow Jackets scored on their next five possessions. After Hollings' 2-yard plunge, Suggs hit senior Kerry Watkins for a 37-yard touchdown. Then redshirt freshman quarterback Damarius Bilbo, in his first collegiate action, guided the second-team offense to three points - on a 37-yard Luke Manget field goal. Suggs returned to tack on a final score in the first half with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Glover.
Hollings erased any drama with a 56-yard jaunt behind the massive left side of the offensive line on the Yellow Jackets' first play of the second half. The score gave Tech a 38-0 lead and signaled the end of the night for Suggs and Hollings.
Suggs finished 10-of-13 for 132 yards and three touchdowns.
Bilbo added a rushing touchdown of his own late in the third quarter to push the lead to 45-0.
While the offense cruised, the defense punished the Commodores.
Vanderbilt had 49 first-half yards, 20 rushing, and didn't reach Georgia Tech territory until after Hollings' second touchdown run. The Yellow Jackets defense staved off a couple of Vanderbilt scoring opportunities, but kicker Greg Johnson's 37-yard field goal with 3:26 left in the fourth quarter ended the shutout bid.