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Football Team Returns to Host North Carolina

Nov. 9, 2003


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Georgia Tech hosts North Carolina in an Atlantic Coast Conference game Saturday at 12 noon at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. The game will be regionally televised on the Jefferson-Pilot ACC network (Fox Sports Net South in Georgia).

After winning four of their last five games, Tech stands at 5-4 overall, 3-3 in the ACC following Saturday’s disappointing 41-17 loss at Duke.

North Carolina (2-8, 1-5 ACC) enters the game on a high note after defeating Wake Forest, 42-34, for its first ACC win of the season.

The Georgia Tech offense, directed by true freshman quarterback Reggie Ball, features the rushing and receiving combo of sophomore tailback P.J. Daniels and senior wideout Jonathan Smith.

Smith leads the ACC and ranks 14th nationally in receiving yards (96.9 per game). He is fourth in the ACC in receptions with 5.7 per game, while his average of 17.1 yards per catch is second in the league. Smith also returns punts for the Yellow Jackets, and he is second in the ACC with 123.9 all-purpose yards per game.

Daniels leads Tech and ranks third in the ACC in rushing, averaging 88.2 yards per game. With 108 yards against Duke, Daniels became the 30th player in Tech history to reach the 1,000-yard plateau. He now ranks 28th on Tech’s career rushing list with 1,049 yards.

Ball struggled in the loss to Duke, but for the season, he has passed for 1,621 yards and seven touchdowns. He is also Tech’s second-leading rusher with 244 yards and three touchdowns for an average of 207.2 yards of total offense per game.

Defensively, Tech is led by its senior linebacker tandem of Keyaron Fox and Daryl Smith, plus junior free safety James Butler and sophomore defensive end Eric Henderson.

Fox is the leading tackler in the ACC with 111 hits (12.3 per game), while Smith adds 93 tackles with 12 tackles for loss. Butler leads the ACC with five interceptions, while Henderson is atop the league in sacks with nine among his 16 tackles for loss.

Senior placekicker Dan Burnett has hit 12 of 15 field goals and is Tech’s leading scorer with 51 points.

North Carolina is a very potent offensive team, featuring multi-talented quarterback Darian Durant, who has passed for 2,059 yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for 345 yards and four scores. Against Wake Forest, freshman tailback Ronnie McGill emerged with 244 yards rushing and three touchdowns.


Georgia Tech has won five in a row over North Carolina to take a 19-16-3 lead in the series, which began in 1915 with a 23-3 Tech victory. The Jackets won last year’s game, 21-13, at Chapel Hill, N.C., and also captured the last meeting in Atlanta with a 28-21 Thursday night victory. UNC’s last win in the series was in 1997, when the then fifth-ranked Tar Heels won 16-13 in Atlanta.

Tech leads 12-7 in games played at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field, including three of the last four.

Three of the last four meeting have been decided by eight points or fewer, including a 31-24 Tech win in 1999 in the first overtime game in school history.


In 2002 in Chapel Hill, N.C., Georgia Tech used 136 yards rushing by true freshman Ajenavi “Ace” Eziemefe and a standout performance from its defense to defeat North Carolina, 21-13, for the fifth straight year. Eziemefe stepped in for the nation’s leading rusher, Tony Hollings, who sustained a season-ending knee injury the previous week. Tech quarterback A.J. Suggs completed 15 of 27 passes for 166 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown pass to Will Glover, while backup Damarius Bilbo was 4-for-6 for 45 yards with a 10-yard scoring pass to Kerry Watkins. The Rambling Wreck defense held the Tar Heels to just 299 total yards, including only 68 yards rushing, on 52 plays. Tech’s defense came up with several big plays, the biggest of which was by redshirt freshman cornerback Reuben Houston, who stripped the ball from UNC tight end Bobby Blizzard at the one-yard line, preventing a touchdown.


Free safety James Butler is one of 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back. Butler leads the ACC and ranks 13th in the nation with five interceptions. He has also recorded four pass breakups, three forced fumbles, five tackles for loss and a blocked kick while averaging 9.8 tackles per game.

The junior from Climax, Ga., has shown a penchant for making big plays, particularly in Tech’s victory over Maryland. Against the Terps he grabbed two interceptions and made 12 tackles and was named ACC Defensive Back of the Week.

Butler sealed Tech’s win over Vanderbilt with an interception on the Commodores’ first play in overtime. Against Wake Forest, he had caused two fumbles, blocked a field goal and grabbed an interception in the Tech victory.


Six former Yellow Jackets, including football standouts Shawn Jones, Scott Sisson and David Lutz, will be inducted into the Georgia Tech Hall of Fame in ceremonies Friday evening and then will be honored at halftime of Saturday’s game. The class also includes four-time all-America golfer David Duval, Olympic gold medal-winning hurdler Derrick Adkins and women’s track all-America Nelrae Pasha Ali.

Jones and Sisson were two of the stars of Tech’s 1990 national championship squad. A two-time all-ACC quarterback, Jones completed his career as the ACC’s all-time leader in total offense, while Sisson, the all-America placekicker, finished as Tech’s all-time leading scorer.


Senior wideout Jonathan Smith leads Georgia Tech with 51 catches for 872 yards and three touchdowns. Nicknamed “Freddie,” he has 21 more catches than number two receiver Nate Curry.

With his receiving and rushing yards, Smith has accounted for ONE THIRD of Tech’s offense (919 of 2,788 yards), by far the highest percentage for any receiver in the ACC.

Player, School       Rush    Rec.    Total   Team    Pct.Jonathan Smith, GaT (wr)   47      872     919     2788    33.0%Chris Douglas, Duke (rb)        957     189     1146    3517    32.6%P.J. Daniels, GaT (rb) 794     73      867     2788    31.1%Chris Barclay, WF (rb)  908     11      919     3549    25.9%Alvin Pearman, UVa (rb) 484     370     854     3453    24.7%Wali Lundy, UVa (rb)    598     154     752     3132    24.0%Jerricho Cotchery, NCS (wr)     20      961     981     4350    22.6%Craphonso Thorpe, FSU (wr)      6       918     924     4186    22.1%Derrick Hamilton, Clem (wr)     91      753     844     4039    20.9%Jawarski Pollock, UNC (wr)      35      685     679     3997    18.0%


Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, now in his second year in Atlanta, spent the 2001 season in the same capacity at North Carolina. His Tar Heel unit led the ACC in total defense and pass defense while ranking third in rushing defense and scoring defense.

Conversely, UNC defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable spent six years on the Tech staff, serving as linebackers coach from 1992-95 and then adding the title of defensive coordinator for the 1996-97 seasons.


Entering the North Carolina game, quarterback Reggie Ball needs 128 yards passing and 213 yards of total offense to establish Georgia Tech freshman records. Shawn Jones, who started every game of the 1989 season as a redshirt freshman and led Tech to a 7-4 record, holds the current freshman standards.

PASSING YARDS1.      Shawn Jones, 1989       1,7482.      Reggie Ball, 2003     1,6213.      Mike Kelley, 1978       1,4794.      Joe Hamilton, 1996      1,342

TOTAL OFFENSE 1. Shawn Jones, 1989 2,078 2. Reggie Ball, 2003 1,865 3. Joe Hamilton, 1996 1,590 4. Mike Kelley, 1978 1,491

TD PASSES 1. Shawn Jones, 1989 12 2. Mike Kelley, 1978 7 Joe Hamilton, 1996 7 Reggie Ball, 2003 7

TD RESPONSIBILITY 1. Shawn Jones, 1989 15 2. Joe Hamilton, 1996 10 Reggie Ball, 2003 10 4. Mike Kelley, 1978 7


Linebackers Daryl Smith and Keyaron Fox and defensive end Eric Henderson are climbing Georgia Tech’s career list for tackles for loss.

With 44 tackles for loss, Smith stands fourth in Tech history, trailing only Greg Gathers, Coleman Rudolph and Marco Coleman.

Fox is tied for eighth with 32 TFL, while Henderson, just a sophomore, is already tied for 10th with 30 TFL.

TECH CAREER TACKLES FOR LOSS Years   TFL     Yds1.      Greg Gathers 1999-02 57      2902.      Coleman Rudolph 1989-92 52      2853.      Marco Coleman   1989-91 50      2154.      Daryl Smith   2000-   44      1155.      Pat Swilling    1982-85 37      224        Felipe Claybrooks       1997-00 37      2017.      Marlon Williams 1990-93 33.5    1828.      Recardo Wimbush   1990-92 32      90        Keyaron Fox   2000-   32      9410.     Nick Rogers   1998-01 31      160        Eric Henderson     2002-   31      98

TECH SEASON TACKLES FOR LOSS Year TFL Yds 1. Marco Coleman 1991 21 90 Pat Swilling 1985 21 130 3. Greg Gathers 2000 20 105 Coleman Rudolph 1991 20 110 5. Coleman Rudolph 1992 19.5 106 6. Marco Coleman 1991 18.5 76 7. Greg Gathers 1999 18 90 8. Greg Gathers 2001 18 95 9. Eric Henderson 2002 16 60


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