Aug. 31, 2009
Georgia Tech Begins 117th Season Saturday vs. Jacksonville State
Georgia Tech enters season No. 2 in the Paul Johnson era and embarks on its 117th season of football Saturday when the Yellow Jackets host Jacksonville State at Bobby Dodd Stadium (1:00 p.m./ESPN360.com).
The 15th-ranked Yellow Jackets return 17 starters from a team that finished the 2008 season with a 9-4 overall record, shared the ACC Coastal Division title and played in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Tech will open the season against the Gamecocks for the second straight year. The Yellow Jackets won last year’s lid-lifter, 41-14.
Jacksonville State, ranked 19th in the FCS preseason poll, finished 8-3 last season and 6-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Gamecocks return 16 starters, including nine on defense.
While Georgia Tech returns a great deal of experience, it remains one of college football’s youngest teams. There are just six scholarship seniors on the roster. And while the Jackets lost just five starters, they must replace three starters on the defensive line.
Saturday’s game is the first of three games in a 12-day span for the Yellow Jackets. Tech will host Clemson next Thursday (Sept. 10) and travel to Miami the following Thursday (Sept. 17).
Both Teams Missing Key Players
Georgia Tech will be without a number of key players when it hosts Jacksonville State on Saturday.
Sophomore wide receiver Tyler Melton, a starter last season, is out two to five weeks with a left knee injury (MCL). Sophomore back-up quarterback Jaybo Shaw broke his collarbone. Sophomore linebacker Kyle Jackson has been sidelined all preseason with a foot injury.
Sophomore A-back Roddy Jones is questionable for the opener with a dislocated wrist. Jacksonville State will be without senior starting quarterback Ryan Perrilloux, who was suspended for the Georgia Tech game.
Georgia Tech In Season Openers
Georgia Tech is 78-32-3 all-time in season openers, including a 63-12-3 record when playing at home.
Georgia Tech In Home Openers
Georgia Tech is 85-25-4 all-time in home openers. A complete list of home openers can be found later in this release.
Georgia Tech-Jacksonville State Series History
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series, 1-0.
–The Yellow Jackets won the only previous meeting, 41-14, last season (Aug. 28, 2008) in the season opener for both teams.
–Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson is 3-0 all-time against the Gamecocks. His Georgia Southern teams beat Jacksonville State in 1998 and 1999.
–Jacksonville State is the only member of the Ohio Valley Conference that has ever played Georgia Tech in football.
–Tech is 72-75-7 all-time against teams from the state of Alabama (see list at right).
Smith, who played in 33 games and started seven times as a wide receiver and A-back, transferred to JSU in May for his final year of college. Smith’s best season at Tech came as a sophomore in 2007 when he caught 37 passes for 588 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, as an A-back, he rushed 13 times for 98 yards and two touchdowns, and caught two passes for 37 yards.
Both of Smith’s receptions last season came, ironically, against Jacksonville State in the season opener. He also rushed three times for 14 yards against the Gamecocks.