ATLANTA — After Georgia Tech's first possession ended with an interception, Paul Johnson decided to keep calling run plays as long as they worked.
Syracuse never came close to making Johnson change his plan.
Zach Laskey had three of Georgia Tech's seven rushing touchdowns as the Yellow Jackets rolled to a surprising 56-0 rout of Syracuse on Saturday.
There was little need to throw when the spread-option offense was producing 5.9 yards per carry. The Yellow Jackets had only eight third-down plays, none in the first quarter.
"As long as you're churning out 7, 8 yards a pop, you get behind schedule throwing it," Johnson said, adding that by keeping the ball on the ground "you kind of run them into oblivion."
Georgia Tech ended a three-game losing streak by compiling 482 total yards, 394 rushing. The Yellow Jackets had 67 rushing attempts and threw only five passes, including Vad Lee's 46-yard touchdown to Darren Waller early in the second half. Lee also ran for two touchdowns.
The victory easily surpassed a 49-10 win over Duke on Nov. 14, 2009, as the Yellow Jackets' biggest margin of victory in an ACC game.
"It was really a confidence-builder for the whole team just because we have big expectations and we still want to do great things this year," Lee said. "We wanted to get on the right foot this week, and that's what we needed."
Following the interception, thrown by receiver DeAndre Smelter on a trick play, the Yellow Jackets had few mistakes. Georgia Tech had no penalties.
Even the hard-to-please Johnson called it "a complete victory."
Syracuse also brought a .500 record into what was expected to be a competitive game. Instead, it resembled Georgia Tech's 70-0 win over Elon, a Division I-AA team, to open the season.
The Yellow Jackets took advantage of a blocked punt and three Syracuse turnovers for the runaway win.
"Sometimes you get your rumps kicked," said Syracuse coach Scott Shafer. "We got our rumps kicked today, and it was a great job by Georgia Tech."
The three straight losses forced the Yellow Jackets to take a must-win approach to Syracuse's first visit to Bobby Dodd Stadium.
"We're approaching every game like it's a playoff game," Laskey said.
Linebacker Quayshawn Nealy had an interception and fumble recovery to lead Georgia Tech's defense.
DUKE 35, VIRGINIA 22: Anthony Boone threw two touchdowns and Brandon Connette ran for one and threw for another the visiting Blue Devils rebounded from a 22-0 deficit. Duke converted four fourth-down plays in the second half to come all the way back, and its defense held the Cavaliers to five straight three and outs. Virginia lost its fourth in a row.
WAKE 34, MARYLAND 10: Quarterback Tanner Price had touchdowns rushing, receiving and passing for the host Demon Deacons. Price was 26-of-36 for 231 yards, scored on a 4-yard run and caught a 4-yard TD pass from receiver Michael Campanaro, the trick-play master's fourth career touchdown throw.
PITT 35, ODU 24: Isaac Bennett ran for a career-high 240 yards and three touchdowns for the host Panthers, who overcame an early 10-point deficit. Making his first start of the season, Bennett scored three times in a 12-minute span in the second quarter.