Nov. 5, 2001
Atlanta– – Georgia Tech running back Joe Burns was named Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Back of the Week and punt returner Kelley Rhino was honored as ACC Specialist of the Week following the Yellow Jackets’ 28-21 victory over North Carolina last Thursday.
Seventeenth-ranked Tech (6-2, 3-2 ACC) plays at Virginia this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in a non-televised game at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va.
Burns rushed for a career-high 198 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries. His performance was the best by a Yellow Jacket since 1994 and the ninth-best ever. It also marked the highest total for a back against UNC’s defense since 1982.
The junior from Thomasville, Ga., gained 82 yards in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a 51-yard touchdown run on which he broke several tackles down the sideline to give Tech a 28-14 lead. After UNC answered with a touchdown to pull within seven, Burns helped consume the final 5:29 with another 29 yards on the ground.
Burns, who moved into fifth place on Tech’s career rushing list, helped the Jackets control the clock for nearly 37 minutes, including 21 minutes of the second half.
Rhino, a junior from Smyrna, Ga., returned four punts for 111 yards against the Tar Heels, including three returns to set up scores.
In the first quarter, Rhino’s 21-yard return to the UNC 31 set up Tech’s first touchdown.
Late in the first half, he fielded a pooch punt at the Tech 12-yard line and returned it 50 yards to the North Carolina 38-yard line, leading to a field goal just before halftime. The 50-yard return was a career-best for Rhino and the longest punt return for Tech since 1998.
In the fourth quarter with the Jackets leading 21-14, Rhino’s 34-yard return to the UNC 49 led to Joe Burns’ 51-yard touchdown run that proved to be the difference in the game.
Rhino, who is averaging 12.4 yards per return, raised his season total to 446 punt return yards, breaking the Tech season record set by his father, all-America Randy Rhino. In fact, Kelley is the fourth Rhino to return punts for the Jackets, joining his father, his uncle Danny and his grandfather Chappell.
Tech’s smallest player who is listed at 5-7 and 179 yards, Rhino also plays on kickoff coverage and made one tackle.