Sept. 4, 2004
ATLANTA (AP) – P.J. Daniels rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns and Reggie Ball passed for two touchdowns as Georgia Tech overwhelmed Division I-AA Samford 28-7 Saturday.
Daniels, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s rushing leader last season, scored on runs of 47 and 1 yards and also caught a 25-yard scoring pass from Ball.
Samford (1-1) tried to counter Tech’s balanced attack with short, quick passes from its four- and five-receiver formations. Ray Nelson completed 29 of 44 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown, but the Bulldogs rushed for only 42 yards.
Rashaun Grant added 75 yards rushing as Tech gained 268 yards on the ground and added 201 yards passing.
Georgia Tech immediately established its running game, giving the ball to Daniels on six of the first seven plays after taking the opening kickoff.
With Samford’s defense geared up to stop Daniels, Ball completed passes of 16 yards to freshman Calvin Johnson and 19 yards to fullback Jimmy Dixon. Those completions set up a 14-yard touchdown pass to Nate Curry, who was open in the middle of the end zone on a slant pattern for a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter.
The Yellow Jackets moved 99 yards on a touchdown drive that began late in the first quarter and was capped by Ball’s touchdown pass to Daniels, who high-stepped over Samford free safety Cortland Finnegan at the goal line as Tech took a 14-0 lead.
Tech used back-to-back big plays to push the lead to 21-0 midway through the second quarter. After Ball’s play-action pass to Johnson gained 28 yards to the Samford 47, Daniels broke free down the right sideline for a 47-yard touchdown run, carrying Finnegan over the goal line.
After Nelson threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Efrem Hill to make it 21-7 in the third, Samford had a chance to pull within one score. But Drew Guess was stopped on a fourth-and-1 run at the Bulldogs’ 39 with 12:56 left.
Daniels then scored three minutes later from a yard out to seal the win for the Yellow Jackets.