Oct. 9, 2005
ATLANTA–Georgia Tech travels to Durham, N.C., for a matchup with Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division foe Duke, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Wallace Wade Stadium. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.
Tech enters the game with a record of 3-2 overall, 1-2 in the ACC, while the Blue Devils are 1-5 overall, 0-3 in the ACC after a 52-7 loss at Miami.
The Jackets have dropped two straight games to NC State and Virginia Tech to fall out of the national rankings for the first time in six weeks. Tech has not lost three straight games in the same season since 1996.
Ball, the junior from Stone Mountain, Ga., is averaging 257.8 yards of total offense per game, including 229.0 yards through the air with five touchdown passes.
His favorite target is Johnson, the 6-4 sophomore who leads Tech and the ACC with 28 catches for 508 yards and four touchdowns, an eye-catching 18.1 yards per carry.
A senior from Houston, Texas, Daniels carries the load on the ground, averaging 87.4 yards per game. Sophomore Tashard Choice adds 31.0 yards an outing and has scored two touchdowns.
The Tech defense is anchored by all-ACC middle linebacker Gerris Wilkinson, who leads the Jackets with 41 tackles, including six tackles for loss and one interception, while junior linebacker KaMichael Hall has a team-leading seven tackles for loss.
Sophomore linebacker Philip Wheeler leads the ACC with three interceptions each for a Rambling Wreck unit that leads the nation with 12 picks.
THE SERIES WITH DUKE
Georgia Tech has won nine of the last 10 and 13 of the last 15 meetings with Duke. The Yellow Jackets won last year’s game, 24-7, in Atlanta, but Duke captured the last meeting in Durham, 41-17 in 2003.
Tech holds a 41-30-1 lead in the series. The two teams have met every year since 1933, making it the Jackets’ second-oldest continuous series, behind only the Tech-Georgia rivalry. The only schools that Tech has played more than Duke (72 meetings) are Georgia (99) and Auburn (92).
Tech is 17-18 against Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium. Before the Blue Devils’ victory in 2003, the Jackets had won six straight games in Durham.
LAST MEETING WITH DUKE
On Oct. 16, 2004 in Atlanta, P.J. Daniels rushed for 114 yards and one touchdown and also threw a touchdown pass to back a strong effort by the Georgia Tech defense in the Yellow Jackets’ 24-7 win over Duke. Daniels scored on a seven-yard run and then hit Calvin Johnson on a halfback pass for a 13-yard touchdown. Johnson also caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Reggie Ball, who was 10-for-20 for 134 yards. One week after holding Maryland to 82 yards of total offense, the Tech defense limited the Blue Devils to just 184 yards, including only 84 yards on the ground.
JOHNSON LEADS ACC
All-America candidate Calvin Johnson, one of the nation’s most exciting players, leads the ACC in receptions and receiving yards per game.
The 6-4 sophomore has 28 catches for 508 yards and four touchdowns, averages of 5.6 receptions and 101.6 yards per game. He is coming off a 10-catch, 130-yard performance against NC State.
For his career, Johnson now has 76 catches for 1,345 yards and 11 touchdowns in 17 games. That’s career averages of 17.7 yards per catch, and 79.1 yards per game, a figure that ranks fourth among all active receivers in the nation.
NCAA Active Leaders, Rec Yds/Game G Rec Yards TD YPG
1. Hank Baskett, New Mexico 18 97 1592 8 88.4 2. Todd Watkins, Brigham Young 16 75 1407 11 87.9 3. Greg Jennings, Western Michigan 37 201 3015 34 81.5 4. Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech 17 76 1345 11 79.1
FACING FORMER JACKET Ted Roof
Duke head coach Ted Roof, a 1987 graduate of Georgia Tech, will be coaching against his alma mater for the third time. In 2003, Roof earned his first victory as a head coach against his alma mater, but last year, Tech defeated the Blue Devils, 24-7.
A native of Lawrenceville, Ga., Roof was an all-ACC linebacker at Tech in 1985, when he was a senior leader on the Rambling Wreck’s “Black Watch” defense that keyed a nine-win season and All-American Bowl victory. He returned to Tech as an assistant coach from 1998-2001, including three seasons as defensive coordinator, before moving to Duke in 2002. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
Roof is one of two former Tech defensive coordinators that the Yellow Jackets will face this season. Earlier, the Jackets defeated Randy Edsall’s Connecticut Huskies, 28-13. Since 2001, Tech has played 11 games against former assistants, posting a 7-4 record (Edsall, 3-0; Roof, 1-1; Ralph Friedgen, Maryland, 2-2; Gary Crowton, BYU, 1-1).
Roof is just the third Georgia Tech graduate to coach against his alma mater. The Yellow Jackets are 2-5 when facing a team coached by a Tech graduate, including a 1-3 mark against Jim Carlen’s South Carolina teams from 1974-78 and a loss to Frank Broyles’ Arkansas team in the 1960 Gator Bowl.
MORE COACHING CONNECTIONS
In addition to head coach Ted Roof, the Duke staff also includes former Yellow Jacket player and assistant coach Glenn Spencer, who was Roof’s teammate from 1982-85 and then served at Tech from 2001-03, coaching running backs and then the defensive line. Duke assistants David Kelly and Bill O’Brien also spent time at Tech. Kelly coached Tech’s wide receivers from 2000-01, while O’Brien was at Tech from 1995-2002, starting as a graduate assistant, then serving as running backs coach (1998-2000) and offensive coordinator (2001-02).
Conversely, Georgia Tech assistants Joe D’Alessandris and Buddy Geis previously served at Duke. D’Alessandris, Tech’s offensive line coach since 2002, spent five years in the same capacity with the Blue Devils from 1997-01. Geis, Tech’s assistant head coach and wide receivers coach, was Duke’s offensive coordinator in 1993, when Roof was also on the Blue Devil staff. Geis’ son, Adam, lettered in football and baseball at Duke (1994-98).
JACKETS IN THE RANKINGS
Georgia Tech moved into the national rankings for the first time this season the week of Sept. 4 at No. 17 by AP poll and No. 21 by USA Today. Tech climbed as high as No. 15 in both polls, the week of Sept. 18th, before falling out following losses to Virginia Tech and NC State.
Before this season, the last time Tech was ranked was the final poll of the 2001 season, when the Jackets were No. 24 by AP. No. 15 is the highest the Yellow Jackets have been in either poll since Tech achieved a No. 15 ranking in both polls the week of Oct. 7, 2001.
GEORGIA TECH'S WEEK-BY-WEEK RANKINGS
Week Record AP USA Sept. 4 1-0 17 21 Sept. 11 2-0 16 18 Sept. 18 3-0 15 14 Sept. 25 3-1 25 T-24 Oct. 2 3-1 24 23
JACKETS LEAD NATION IN INTERCEPTIONS
Georgia Tech leads the nation in interceptions with 12 (2.4 per game), tied with Louisiana Monroe and TCU. The Yellow Jackets reached last year’s season total of 10 interceptions in the first three games.
The Jackets grabbed three interceptions and recovered a fumble in the win over Connecticut. Tech forced five turnovers in its season-opening win over Auburn with four interceptions and a fumble recovery, all in the second half. The Jackets added three interceptions against North Carolina, again all in the second half, and two more against NC State.
Tech is 10th in the nation in turnover margin at +1.20.
DEFENSE SPREADS THE WEALTH
Georgia Tech’s 12 interceptions have been by eight different players. Linebacker Philip Wheeler leads the team with three picks, which leads the ACC and ranks 10th nationally. Safety Dawan Landry and cornerback Kenny Scott have two each.
BALL INCREASES PRODUCTION
Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball is second in the ACC in total offense, averaging 257.8 yards per game. That includes 229.0 yards passing per game. Over this first two seasons, Ball averaged 165.7 yards passing and 194.4 yards of total offense per game.
Against NC State, Ball recovered from a poor first half, in which he was just 6-for-25, to hit 15-of-28 for 206 and rush for 67 yards in the second half. He finished with a career-best 367 yards of total offense. Ball rushed for 88 yards against the Wolfpack for the second best game of his career, bettered only by a 103-yard effort against Vanderbilt in 2003.
In Tech’s win over North Carolina, Ball had his best passing day, throwing for a career-best 320 yards.
Punter Ben Arndt has developed into a reliable weapon for the Yellow Jackets. The senior from Young Harris, Ga., is averaging 42.8 yards per kick with 11 punts downed inside the 20 and just one touchback. Arndt is third in the ACC and 26th nationally in punting average, while Tech’s net of 38.59 per punt is third in the ACC and 16th in the nation.
PRINCE OF A RUNNER
Senior tailback P.J. Daniels looks like the Daniels of 2003, when he led the ACC with 1,447 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns and earned first-team all-conference honors. Last season, injuries forced him to miss four games and two other halves, and he managed 714 yards and eight touchdowns.
Daniels currently ranks third in the ACC, averaging 87.4 yards per game. He has topped 100-yards three times in 2005, most recently going for 114 yards against Connecticut, following 103 yards against North Carolina and 111 versus Auburn. He actually had four straight 100-yard games, including his 119-yard performance in the Champs Sports Bowl, giving him 13 for his career.
The Houston, Texas, native has moved into fourth place on Tech’s career rushing list with 2,853 yards. A former walk-on who earned a scholarship after the 2002 season, Daniels has averaged 99.9 yards per game since the start of the 2003 season.
Daniels, a two-time Academic All-ACC selection, had two of the top three rushing games in Tech history in the 2003 season with 307 yards against Tulsa in the Humanitarian Bowl and 240 yards versus North Carolina.
Tech's Career Rushing Leaders Years Att. TD Yards
1. Robert Lavette 1981-84 914 45 4,066 2. Jerry Mays 1985-89 695 18 3,699 3. Eddie Lee Ivery 1975-78 609 22 3,517 4. P.J. Daniels 2002- 610 22 2,853
NCAA Active Rushing Leaders G Att. TD Yards 1. DeAngelo Williams, Memphis 38 782 45 4,947 2. DonTrell Moore, New Mexico 43 884 43 4,300 3. Brad Smith, Missouri (qb) 41 667 35 3,568 4. Chris Barclay, Wake Forest 41 721 36 3,491 5. Laurence Maroney, Minnesota 31 544 29 3,344 6. Patrick Cobbs, North Texas 41 659 31 3,189 7. P.J. Daniels, Georgia Tech 38 610 22 2,853