Sept. 8, 2007
ATLANTA (AP) — Chan Gailey urged his Georgia Tech players to set the tempo in the first 10 minutes against Samford.
Tashard Choice went over 100 yards rushing in the first quarter with a career-long 73-yard touchdown and No. 21 Georgia Tech scored its most points in a half since 1916, blowing out Samford 69-14 on Saturday.
It was the Yellow Jackets highest scoring game and largest margin of victory since a 70-7 win at Navy on Sept. 8, 2001. Georgia Tech hadn’t scored that many points in a home game since beating Furman 69-0 in 1921.
“I don’t think anybody expected 69,” Gailey said.
Quarterback Taylor Bennett said, “This is amazing. We’re on a roll right now. … I’ve never seen this much chemistry, this much production, this early. It’s nice.”
Choice, who set a career high with 196 yards rushing in Tech’s 33-3 win over Notre Dame last week, did not play after rushing for 110 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter.
After the 73-yard run, Gailey approached Choice to tell him he was coming out of the game.
“I said ‘I already know, coach,”‘ Choice said. “There’s no sweat.
“It would be better if you got 250 yards, but we had a chance to watch some young guys run.”
Gailey, happy to pull his starters early, played almost every young guy he could find — a total of 73. But Choice left the strongest impression.
“He’s running extremely well right now,” said Gailey, the former Dallas Cowboys coach. “I’ve said it all along, he has great vision. He’s like a point guard.
“Emmit (Smith) was exactly the same way.”
Georgia Tech led 45-0 at halftime, its most points in any half since its record 222-0 win over Cumberland on Oct. 7, 1916.
Tech didn’t match that Cumberland standard of the most lopsided game in college football history, but it set a modern school record with nine rushing touchdowns.
The Yellow Jackets rushed for 380 yards, their high mark since 411 against Maryland in 1993, and set a modern school record with nine rushing TDs.
Georgia Tech went up 28-0 in the first quarter and the reserves only continued to pile on the points against the Bulldogs of the Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA.
“This is not excuses, but we had a bunch of young guys and they came out and were kind of like a deer in headlights,” Samford coach Pat Sullivan said.
“Without question there were some positives, although right now it’s kind of hard to look and find any.”
Davis, a sophomore walk-on, scored from the 5 early in the fourth quarter for the ninth rushing touchdown.
“I told Coach Sullivan after the game I was sorry but I put in everybody I could put in,” Gailey said.
Bennett was 8-of-9 passing for 85 yards.
Tech’s only starter in danger of fatigue on a hot day was Scott Blair, who kicked off eight times in the first half.
Samford (1-1) trailed 62-0 when it finally scored on freshman Alex Barnett’s 4-yard run with 38 seconds left in the third quarter. Samford added a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jefferson Adcock to Jeff Moore in the final quarter.
The Yellow Jackets’ first of only two punts came late in the first half, and even that set up a Tech touchdown. Samford’s Matt Knauss, backpedaling to field Durant Brooks’ 53-yard punt, fumbled the fair-catch attempt near the Bulldogs’ 10, and Tech’s Michael Johnson recovered at the 6.
Samford also lost a fumble on a kickoff return in the second period to set up the first of two field goals by Travis Bell.
“Just like you talk about every week, you can’t make mistakes in the kicking game,” Sullivan said. “We turned it over twice. … We don’t cover anybody on a kick and they had field position all day.”
Evans ran for the touchdown on first down from the 6, even though Georgia Tech had only 10 men on the field. Seven Georgia Tech players were on the line of scrimmage, so the touchdown was allowed.