Oct. 2, 2017
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech football’s Kenny Cooperand A.J. Gray have been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Lineman and Defensive Back of the Week, respectively, the ACC office announced on Monday. The awards come in recognition of their performances in Georgia Tech’s 33-7 win over North Carolina on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Cooper anchored an offensive line that paved the way for Georgia Tech to rush for 403 yards and score on 6-of-11 offensive possessions in the victory. The sophomore center took 10 defenders to the ground in Georgia Tech’s 76 offensive plays (good for one every 7.6 snaps).
Gray led another stout performance by Georgia Tech’s defense with two interceptions in the win. The junior free safety’s two INTs both came in the third quarter, which helped the Jackets turn a tenuous 10-0 lead into a commanding 24-0 advantage. Prior to the game, he had recorded only one interception in his three-year collegiate career.
In particular, Gray’s first pickoff turned the tide of the game, as it came on the first play after a Georgia Tech fumble gave North Carolina possession in GT territory just minutes into the second half. One play after the INT, Benson scored on a 63-yard touchdown run, turning what could have been a one-possession game into a 17-0 Tech advantage.
In all, the Gray-led defense limited UNC to just 247 total yards, forced seven three-and-outs in 12 defensive series and didn’t surrender any points until the Tar Heels scored with 5:05 to go in the ballgame.
The ACC honors are career-firsts for both Cooper and Gray. Yellow Jackets have been recognized a total of four times this season, including Marshall being named ACC Offensive Back of the Week following his performance in the season opener versus Tennessee and left guard Parker Braun being named Offensive Lineman of the Week just last week for his showing in Tech’s 35-17 win over Pittsburgh.
Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-0 ACC) enjoys a bye this week before traveling to Miami (Fla.) for an ACC Coastal Division showdown on Saturday, Oct. 14. Following the contest at Miami, the Yellow Jackets return home to face Wake Forest for homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 21. Tickets for the homecoming contest against the Demon Deacons are still available and can be purchased online by clicking HERE.