Oct. 11, 2003
By TIM WHITMIRE
Associated Press Writer
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Jonathan Smith caught seven passes for 194 yards, scoring one touchdown and setting up another, as Georgia Tech beat Wake Forest 24-7 on Saturday.
It was the third straight win for Tech (4-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), which three weeks ago appeared headed for a failed season. Now, the Jackets head into an off week in position to make a run at a bowl bid.
Wake Forest (3-3, 1-2) continued its slide from a 2-0 start that had the Demon Deacons ranked 20th in early September.
Smith’s 65-yard catch-and-run with 2:16 left in the third quarter broke the game open. The senior wideout leaped to catch a pass from Reggie Ball between two defenders, then dashed 40 yards for a touchdown that put Tech up 17-7.
Ball’s 55-yard rainbow to a wide-open Smith set up the Yellow Jackets’ first touchdown, on Tech’s opening drive of the game.
Ball completed 12 of 24 attempts for 225 yards and two touchdowns, while P.J. Daniels carried 33 times for 175 yards and Tech’s final touchdown.
In addition to his catches, Smith rushed twice for 14 yards.
Kicker Dan Burnett added a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter for Georgia Tech.
Wake Forest was led by Chris Barclay, who ran for 124 yards and the Demon Deacons’ only score. Cory Randolph completed 14 of 28 pass attempts for 132 yards, throwing two interceptions.
Tech is off until Oct. 23, when the Yellow Jackets play a Thursday night home game against Maryland. After another week off, Georgia Tech plays at punchless Duke and home against North Carolina, which is winless in the conference.
In their second season under Chan Gailey, the Jackets were predicted by many to finish last in the ACC. They had lost a number of players to academic problems and were faced with starting Ball, a true freshman, at quarterback.
On Sept. 20, they were 1-3 following a humbling 39-3 home loss to Clemson that seemed to undo all the positives that had come out of an upset of Auburn and a one-point loss to ACC leader Florida State.
Tech was mediocre in an overtime win at Vanderbilt, but has looked strong in wins over North Carolina State and Saturday’s domination of Wake Forest.
The Deacons managed just 277 yards of offense and didn’t score until 3:49 remained in the third quarter, on a 4-yard run by Barclay.
Wake’s only sustained drive of the first half, late in the second quarter, ended in a field goal attempt that was blocked by Tech’s James Butler.
Butler also intercepted Randolph’s pass and forced a fumble in the first half.
Tech completed the scoring with Daniels’ 1-yard plunge with 1:40 left in the game.