Georgia Tech knew exactly what it had to do, and the Yellow Jackets did it.
"We knew we had to get in Todd Ellis' face," outside linebacker Willis Crockett said Saturday after Georgia Tech's defense pressured Ellis into 5 turnovers as the Yellow Jackets stunned eighth-ranked South Carolina, 34-0, at Atlanta.
Andre Thomas returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown and set up another score with a 10-yard interception return as Georgia Tech snapped a 15-game losing streak against Division I-A opposition.
"We took it as a challenge this week," Thomas said of the battle with Ellis, one of the nation's top passers.
Tech, which entered the game ranked first nationally in pass defense at 95.8 yards per game, held the Gamecocks to 151 yards in the air.
"We played almost a perfect football game," Georgia Tech Coach Bobby Ross said. "Our game plan on offense, defense and the special teams was perfect. We just executed."
It was the first time the Gamecocks have been shut out in 71 games, dating to a 24-0 loss to Georgia in 1981.
South Carolina fell to 6-1, and Georgia Tech lifted its mark to 2-4, winning for the first time since a season-opening victory over Division I-AA Tennessee Chattanooga.
"Georgia Tech took us to the woodshed today," South Carolina Coach Joe Morrison said. "They just outplayed us. I don't think we took them lightly."
The Yellow Jackets, who took a 31-0 halftime lead, had not beaten a major-college opponent since defeating Duke, 34-6, in 1986.
Quarterback Todd Rampley engineered touchdown drives of 79 and 88 yards on Georgia Tech's first two possessions.
The Yellow Jackets intercepted 4 passes by Ellis, who was intercepted 5 times last week in a narrow victory over Virginia Tech.
Ellis also lost a fumble on a sack by Sean Smith that set up a 29-yard field by Thomas Palmer in the second quarter. Palmer added a 35-yard field goal with 58 seconds left after an interception.
Rampley hit Steve Davenport with a 12-yard touchdown pass on Georgia Tech's first possession and then connected with Greg Lester for 48 yards to the Gamecock 30 to set up the first of two 1-yard scoring plunges by Stefen Scotton.
Scotton's second touchdown came on his third carry in the second quarter, after Thomas returned an interception 10 yards to the South Carolina 4-yard line.
"It was one of those days when everything went our way," Ross said. "I think we were due for that for a long time.
"I'm very proud of this football team. You don't know the things this team has been through--the turmoil, the death of a player, a lot of different things. We just kept hanging in there. I think it was a case of momentum.