From Michael Cunningham
Once Vad Lee got his chance to play it didn’t take long for him to show why he was a prized quarterback recruit for Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson.
Lee led the barrage of big plays against Presbyterian College Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium. The sophomore tossed an 82-yard touchdown pass and also ran for 101 yards with a touchdown in Tech’s 59-3 victory.
Lee’s big night came against an outmatched foe. Then again, Lee hadn’t played in an official game since leading Hillside High School to a 16-0 record and earning the AP North Carolina player of the year in 2010.
“I am just happy to have the opportunity to be here and make big plays and showcase my abilities,” Lee said.
Lee was a redshirt in 2011 and didn’t play during Tech’s season-opening defeat at Virginia Tech. His debut got off to a shaky start in the first quarter but it wasn’t Lee’s fault.
Jeremy Moore dropped Lee’s first collegiate pass and Orwin Smith bobbled the second during a three-and-out series. Lee scored on a one-year touchdown run in the third quarter but didn’t figure to get many chances to pass when he came back in with Tech leading 38-0 and starting inside its 20.
But on third down Lee dropped back and floated a soft spiral to Jeff Greene, who fought through contact from two defenders and corralled Lee’s pass near the 50-yard line.
“I seen Jeff collide with the corner and I knew Jeff would get off of him,” Lee said. “I just wanted to throw it up and lead him a little bit and give him time to go get it and make a play.”
The 82-yard TD pass was the sixth-longest pass play in Tech history. Lee wasn’t done setting records, though his second mark wasn’t what he had in mind.
On Tech’s next possession he bobbled a high shotgun snap but recovered and took off running on a QB draw. He drew clear and looked to be headed for his second rushing touchdown but was tripped up two yards short of the end zone by Presbyterian’s Brandon Leston.
Lee said his teammates ribbed him for getting caught from behind. After the game, both Tech coach Paul Johnson and athletic director Dan Radakovich told Lee his 79-yard run was the longest non-scoring run in school history.
“I did not want that record,” Lee said. “That was tough. We’ve got film on Monday and hopefully we will watch it and then it will be washed out of everyone’s mind.”
The more lasting memories will be Lee’s big plays in his first game for the Yellow Jackets.