Sept. 7, 2009
Yellow Jackets Jump Into ACC Play With ESPN Game vs. Clemson
Georgia Tech, just five days after its 37-17 season-opening victory against Jacksonville State, kicks off Atlantic Coast Conference play against rival Clemson Thursday night in a nationally-televised game (7:30 p.m./ESPN).
The Yellow Jackets (1-0), ranked 15th last week in the Associated Press poll and 15th in the USA Today poll, jumped out to a 31-7 halftime lead on Saturday, then cruised to a win over the Gamecocks. Tech rolled up 497 yards of total offense, including 335 yards rushing.
Junior Heisman Trophy candidate Jonathan Dwyer ran 74 yards for a touchdown on the first play of the game. Dwyer, who played just one series in the second half, finished with 95 yards rushing and two touchdowns on seven carries. Junior quarterback Josh Nesbitt threw for 141 yards and a touchdown and ran for 93 yards and a TD.
Clemson, 1-0, is coming off a 37-14 season-opening home victory over Middle Tennessee State. C.J. Spiller opened the game with a 96-yard kickoff return and quarterback Kyle Parker threw for 155 yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers held MTSU to 92 yards rushing.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 47-24-2 and has won four of the last five meetings. More series information on page four.
Tech, ESPN Renew Thursday Night Tradition For 17th Straight Year
Georgia Tech appearing in an ESPN Thursday Night game has become a college football tradition:
– Georgia Tech made its first ESPN Thursday Night appearance back in 1991, and the Yellow Jackets have appeared at least once very year since 1993 — 17 consecutive seasons.
– Tech will be a part of ESPN’s Thursday Night package twice this season — on consecutive weeks against Clemson (Sept. 10) and at Miami (Sept. 17). Georgia Tech is 10-11 all-time when playing on ESPN Thursday Night (9-7 at home, 1-4 on the road).
– The Yellow Jackets have played Clemson in an ESPN Thursday Night game once previously. Tech beat the Tigers, 24-21, on the road in 1998.
– All but five of Tech’s appearances have come in Bobby Dodd Stadium. When the Jackets play at Miami next week, it will mark their first ESPN Thursday Night road game since playing at BYU in 2003.
Georgia Tech In ACC Openers
Georgia Tech is 12-14 all-time in Atlantic Coast Conference openers.
– The Yellow Jackets won last year’s ACC opener — 19-16 at Boston College — in Paul Johnson’s first-ever ACC game.
– Tech has won four of its last five ACC lid-lifters. Only Matt Ryan and Boston College, in 2007, interrupted the streak.
– The Jackets will open league play against Clemson for the sixth time. Tech is 2-3 against the Tigers in those games.
– The last time Georgia Tech opened ACC play against Clemson came in 2004 — a 28-24 Jacket victory at Clemson.
Dwyer’s 2009 Season Could Not Have Started Much Better
The first time Jonathan Dwyer touched the football this season, he ran 74 yards for a touchdown.
Dwyer carried just seven times for 95 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s season-opening win over Jacksonville State. Despite sitting out almost all of the second half, the junior ACC preseason Player of the Year made his mark:
Dwyer has scored at least two touchdowns in a game seven times in his career.
He has scored 23 career rushing touchdowns, tying for the fourth-most in Tech history.
He now has 24 career touchdowns overall, tying for ninth in Tech history.
Dwyer has scored 146 career points, which ranks 17th in Tech history
Dwyer’s 74-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage was the 12th-longest rushing play in Georgia Tech history and gives him three of the 12 longest running plays in school history.
Dwyer eclipsed 1,900 career rushing yards (1,926) on Saturday and needs just 74 yards to become the 10th player in Tech history to reach 2,000 yards.
Nesbitt Does It By Ground And Air
Junior Josh Nesbitt showed in the season opener why he is considered one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the South.
Nesbitt completed 6-of-11 passes for 141 yards (23.5 yards per completion) and a touchdown against Jacksonville State, and he rushed 14 times for 93 yards and a TD. Nesbitt eclipsed 1,100 career rushing yards — the third-most by a Tech quarterback.
100 Yards Receiving For Thomas
Junior wide receiver Demaryius Thomas recorded the third 100-yard receiving game of his career Saturday with 101 yards on four receptions.
Thomas, who is 14 yards shy of 2,000 career receiving yards, has recorded one 100-yard game in each of his three seasons.
With Tarrant, Tech Suddenly Sound In The Return Game
Sophomore Jerrard Tarrant, playing in his first collegiate game on Saturday, returned three punts for 87 yards, including a 68-yard return for a touchdown. Tarrant’s 68-yard punt return was Tech’s first punt return for a touchdown since Nov. 22, 2003 when Jonathan Smith returned one 80 yards against Virginia. Tarrant’s return was also Tech’s longest punt return since Smith’s return on Nov. 22, 2003. His 87 punt return yards were the most by a Yellow Jacket in a game since Kelley Rhino had 110 yards on five punt returns against Vanderbilt on Aug. 31, 2002.
True freshman Orwin Smith had a solid day as a kick returner as well. He had three kick returns for 85 yards including a long of 38 yards.
Last season Tech ranked 95th nationally in kickoff returns and 88th in punt returns.
Derrick Morgan Gets Off To Good Start At Defensive End
Junior defensive end Derrick Morgan, a preseason candidate for the Rotary Lombardi Award, overcame double- and triple-team blocking to get off to a good start in 2009. Morgan had 2.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and a pass break-up in Saturday’s 37-17 win over Jacksonville State.
The Power Of One: Morgan Burnett Gets 11th Career Interception
Junior safety Morgan Burnett, a Jim Thorpe Award and Bronko Nagurski Award candidate, recorded his first interception of the season and the 11th interception of his career Saturday against Jacksonville State.
Burnett, who wears jersey No. 1, also had five tackles and a tackle for loss. Burnett’s 11 career interceptions are the most among all active ACC players and rank tied for 11th in Georgia Tech history.
Burnett, whose seven interceptions last season tied for first nationally, is attempting to lead the Yellow Jackets in INTs for the third straight season.