Dec. 14, 2007
Tech Ready For 11th Straight Bowl; Faces Fresno In Boise
Georgia Tech will play in its 11th consecutive bowl game Dec. 31 at the 2007 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho.
The Yellow Jackets, 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the ACC, face Fresno State (8-4) of the Western Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs finished 6-2 in WAC play.
Georgia Tech is one of just six teams to play in a bowl game each of the last 11 seasons, joining Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan and Virginia Tech. The Yellow Jackets, playing in their 36th bowl game all-time, are 22-13 (.629) in bowls.
Tech is attempting to break a two-game bowl losing streak. Last season the Jackets lost to 13th-ranked West Virginia (38-35) in the Toyota Gator Bowl. The previous season, Tech fell to Utah (38-10) at the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.
Fresno State enters the Humanitarian Bowl with a two-game win streak. The Bulldogs closed the season with wins over Kansas State (45-29) and on the road against New Mexico State (30-23).
Fresno State won the only previous meeting between the two teams. The Bulldogs beat the Yellow Jackets (30-21) on Dec. 31, 2002 in the Silicon Valley Classic.
Paul Johnson Named Coach; Tenuta Coaching In Bowl
Paul Johnson, who enjoyed great success at Navy for six seasons, was named Georgia Tech’s 12th head coach on Dec. 7th, replacing Chan Gailey.
Johnson was 45-29 in six seasons with the Midshipmen. The former Georgia Southern head coach is 107-39 in 11 seasons overall.
Johnson, however, is not coaching the Yellow Jackets during bowl season.
Jon Tenuta, Tech’s defensive coordinator for six seasons, is serving as head coach through the Humanitarian Bowl. Tenuta has 27 years experience in the coaching business.
Highlights Of Tech’s 2007 Regular Season
– Georgia Tech overcame numerous injuries to post a 7-5 record — its 11th consecutive winning season.
– The Yellow Jackets earned their 11th straight postseason bowl berth.
– After going 4-4 in ACC play, Tech has now finished .500 or better in league play for a conference-leading 13th consecutive season.
– Georgia Tech opened the season with a 30-point win at Notre Dame, beat 13th-ranked Clemson (13-3) and won in its final appearance in Orange Bowl Stadium with a win vs. Miami (17-14).
– Yellow Jacket senior punter Durant Brooks, who holds the highest career average in ACC history, won the Ray Guy Award.
– Georgia Tech had eight players named first- or second-team All-ACC — more than any other ACC school. Brooks, senior kicker Travis Bell, senior running back Tashard Choice, junior guard Andrew Gardner and junior defensive tackle Vance Walker all earned first-team honors.
– Choice, who has rushed for 1,310 yards in 2007, will defend his title as the ACC rushing champion. Choice is the first player to lead the league in rushing in consecutive years since Virginia’s Thomas Jones in 1998-99.
– Brooks was named first-team All-American by Rivals.com and SI.com. Walker was a third-team selection by Rivals.com.
– Bell broke four school kicking records and extended his streak of made PATs to 134.
Fresno Won Only Previous Meeting, In Silicon Valley
It was exactly five years ago — Dec. 31, 2002 at the Silicon Valley Classic — when Fresno State beat Georgia Tech, 31-20, in the only previous meeting between the two teams.
The game was memorable, for both positive and negative reasons.
On the positive side for Tech, freshman quarterback Damarius Bilbo came off the bench to lead a second-half comeback that saw the Yellow Jackets briefly take the lead.
On the negative side, Bilbo tossed four interceptions and Georgia Tech committed seven turnovers as a team.
The game was a muddy mess from the outset and Georgia Tech wore all-white uniforms for the first time since 1994. They were, of course, completely brown by the second half.
Tenuta Has Gone Up Against Fresno, Pat Hill Before
Three members of the current Georgia Tech coaching staff were on the sidelines in 2002 — Chan Gailey’s first season at Tech — when the Yellow Jackets played Pat Hill’s Fresno State team: defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris and running backs coach Curtis Modkins.
Fresno State has the respect of Tenuta, Tech’s leader through the bowl season.
“Pat Hill does a great job year in and year out,” Tenuta said. “His teams are always well-prepared and explosive. We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing against an offense like that.”
Yellow Jacket-Bulldog Connections
– Georgia Tech has no players from California on its roster and Fresno State has zero Georgians on its roster.
– Tech defensive coordinator and bowl head coach Jon Tenuta has coached against Fresno State twice. He was on the sidelines at the Silicon Valley Classic in 2002 when Tech lost to the Bulldogs, 30-21. As defensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2000, the Buckeyes beat Fresno, 43-10, in Columbus.
– Former Georgia Tech standouts Keith Brooking and George Cooper and former Fresno State receiver Adam Jennings all play for the struggling Atlanta Falcons.
– Former Yellow Jacket Nat Dorsey and former Bulldog defender Louis Leonard are teammates on the Cleveland Browns.
– Former Tech standout Andrew Economos and former Fresno State players Chris Denman and Michael Pittman all play for the Tampa Bay Bucs.
– Former Jacket defensive end Tony Hargrove and former Bulldog Dwayne Wright are teammates with the Buffalo Bills.
– Eric Henderson, a former Tech linebacker, now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals along with former Fresno standout Bryan Robinson.
– Former Yellow Jacket Travares Tillman and former Bulldog Cameron Worrell are teammates with the Miami Dolphins.
Veteran Yellow Jackets Have Fond Memories Of Blue Turf
Georgia Tech is in a Boise bowl game for the second time. Following the 2003 season — on Jan. 4, 2004 — the Yellow Jackets crushed Tulsa, 52-10, in the Humanitarian Bowl.
Tech’s 42-point win was as lopsided as the score would indicate. Jon Tenuta’s defense held the Golden Hurricane to a school record minus-56 yards rushing and recovered six Tulsa fumbles.
Bowl game MVP P.J. Daniels rushed for 307 yards and four touchdowns. Tech scored 42 points in the second half.
Gaston The Only Current Jacket To Play In Boise
Senior defensive back Joe Gaston is the only player on the Georgia Tech roster with experience playing on the blue turf at Bronco Stadium.
Gaston was a true freshman who saw action as a reserve in Tech’s 52-10 win over Tulsa in the Humanitarian Bowl on Jan. 4, 2004. Gaston used his redshirt year in 2006 while recovering from injury.
Several current Yellow Jackets made the trip to Boise, but were redshirting as true freshmen: Rashaun Grant, Avery Roberson, Adamm Oliver, Kevin Tuminello, Matt Rhodes and Marcus Harris.
Taylor Bennett Making Fourth Trip To Boise
Junior quarterback Taylor Bennett may know the city of Boise better than anyone from Georgia Tech. He will be making his fourth trip to the city.
Bennett was in attendance at Tech’s appearance in the Humanitarian Bowl on Jan. 4, 2004. After graduating from high school in December of 2003, Bennett enrolled at Tech and was on the sidelines for the Yellow Jackets’ 52-10 win vs. Tulsa.
Bennett also made an official recruiting visit to Boise State in high school. He strongly considered the Broncos before enrolling at Georgia Tech.
Bennett’s high school teammate and good friend, David Shields, plays for Boise State.