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Maryland is Second Straight Ranked Foe for Tech

Oct. 3, 2004

ATLANTA – Georgia Tech faces its second straight nationally-ranked team as the Yellow Jackets face an Atlantic Coast Conference road test at 23rd-ranked Maryland Saturday. The 3:30 p.m. game at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Md., will be regionally televised on ABC.

Tech enters the game with a record of 2-2 overall, 1-2 in the ACC after Saturday’s 27-3 loss to fourth-ranked Miami.

The Terrapins, who were idle last week, are 3-1 overall, 1-0 in the ACC and ranked 23rd in both polls.

The Tech offense hopes to receive a boost from the return of all-ACC tailback P.J. Daniels, who is probable this week after missing the Miami game due to injury. Daniels is currently second in the ACC with 108.0 yards rushing per game and two touchdowns. Backup Chris Woods has 162 yards on just 29 carries.

Sophomore quarterback Reggie Ball has struggled in losses to Miami and North Carolina. For the season he is averaging 171.0 yards passing and 206.5 yards of total offense per game. He has thrown seven touchdown passes but has eight interceptions. Ball is also Tech’s third-leading rusher with 142 yards on 48 attempts.

Tech’s leading receivers are freshman Calvin Johnson with 14 catches for 227 yards and three touchdowns, and senior Levon Thomas with 13 receptions for 230 yards and two scores.

Anchoring the offensive line are three returning starters in senior tackle Kyle Wallace, senior center Andy Tidwell-Neal and junior guard Brad Honeycutt. However, Tidwell-Neal is questionable for this week’s game and starting guard Brad Brezina is doubtful after sustaining injuries against Miami.

Senior all-America candidate James Butler quarterbacks the Tech defense from his free safety position, where he has recorded 28 tackles, one interception, three pass breakups and one blocked field goal

Tech’s leading tacklers are linebackers Gerris Wilkinson, who is third in the ACC with 40 tackles, along with 4.5 tackles for loss and an interception, and Chris Reis, who adds 33 tackles with four tackles for loss.

All-ACC defensive end Eric Henderson has returned after missing the first three games due to injury.

Maryland features a balanced attack that averages 216.3 yards rushing and an ACC-leading 238.3 yards passing per game. The Terps are second in the conference in both scoring (34.8 points per game) and total offense (454.5 yards per game).

GEORGIA TECH VS. MARYLAND

Georgia Tech has won five of the last seven meetings with Maryland and leads the series, 11-5, including a 7-3 victory in last year’s game in Atlanta. Although Tech joined the ACC in 1979, the two teams did not begin playing until 1988.

The Terrapins won the last meeting at Byrd Stadium, 34-10, in 2002, and the teams have split the eight games at Maryland, although one of those (Tech’s 31-14 win in 1998) was played at Ravens Stadium in Baltimore.

This year’s game marks the first time since 2000 that Tech and Maryland are not playing on a Thursday night. In fact, the Tech-Maryland matchup has been a Thursday night game six times in the last nine years.

LAST MEETING WITH MARYLAND

Reggie Ball’s fourth-quarter scoring pass to Jonathan Smith was the game’s only touchdown as Georgia Tech used a stellar defensive effort to defeat Maryland, 7-3, in a Thursday night game at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. The Jackets’ touchdown was set up when Terrapin quarterback Joel Statham fumbled after a hit by Keyaron Fox, and Tech cornerback Jonathan Cox finally recovered the bouncing ball at the Maryland 35-yard line and returned it 17 yards. Tech free safety James Butler had two interceptions, helping Tech hold the Terps to just 253 yards of offense.

COACHING CONNECTIONS

Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen spent a total of nine years at Georgia Tech as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, serving from 1987-91 under Bobby Ross and then from 1997-2000 under George O’Leary.

The Maryland matchup will be the first of Tech’s three games this season against former assistant coaches. The Jackets host Duke and Ted Roof next week and then face Connecticut and Randy Edsall Nov. 13.

Two Maryland assistant coaches also have Georgia Tech connections. Running backs coach Bill O’Brien worked at Tech from 1995-2002 as a graduate assistant and then assistant coach, including his last two years at the Jackets’ offensive coordinator. Defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo also spent two years (1999-00) in the same capacity at Tech.

Conversely, Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta served as a graduate assistant at Maryland in 1983.

HENDERSON RETURNS

Eric Henderson, Georgia Tech’s all-America candidate at defensive end, made his 2004 debut against Miami after missing the Jackets’ first three games due to injury. He made an immediate impact with five tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss, including a shared sack.

Last season, the first-team all-ACC selection set a Tech season record with 24 tackles for loss. He has 40.5 career tackles for loss to rank fifth in Yellow Jacket annals.

The New Orleans, La., native has 16.5 career sacks, including an ACC-leading 11 a year ago. He is tied for seventh on Tech’s career list.

TECH CAREER SACKS    Years   Sack    Yds1.      Greg Gathers 1999-02 31      2102.      Coleman Rudolph 1989-92 28.5    2003.      Marco Coleman   1989-91 27.5    1624.      Pat Swilling    1982-85 23      1945.      Felipe Claybrooks       1997-00 20      1566.      Tom Johnson     1990-93 17.5    1027.      Nick Rogers   1998-01 16.5    131        Eric Henderson     2002-   16.5    110

TECH CAREER TACKLES FOR LOSS Years TFL Yds 1. Greg Gathers 1999-02 57 290 2. Coleman Rudolph 1989-92 52 285 3. Marco Coleman 1989-91 50 215 4. Daryl Smith 2000-03 48 129 5. Eric Henderson 2002- 40.5 125

TECH SEASON TACKLES FOR LOSS Year TFL Yds 1. Eric Henderson 2003 24 91 2. Marco Coleman 1991 21 90 Pat Swilling 1985 21 130

TECH SEASON SACKS Year Sacks Yds 1. Pat Swilling 1985 15 119 2. Greg Gathers 2000 13 89 Coleman Rudolph 1991 13 87 4. Marco Coleman 1990 12.5 59 5. Eric Henderson 2003 11 67

NO KNOCK ON WOODS

With all-ACC tailback P.J. Daniels injured the last two games, backup Chris Woods has been solid. The junior from Atlanta started in place of Daniels against Miami and rushed for 74 yards on 12 carries.

He also played much of the game against North Carolina and gained 79 yards on 14 carries, giving him 153 yards on 26 carries in the last two games. He carried just three times for nine yards in Tech’s first two contests.

Woods has made two starts in a Tech uniform, and both have come against top five teams – Miami and last year against Georgia.

Woods enrolled at Tech in 2003 after one season at Morris Brown in Atlanta. He was eligible immediately because the its NCAA I-AA program was disbanded.

ARNDT IS OK

When transfer Ben Arndt was named Tech’s punter just two days before the season opener, it’s likely that even most Yellow Jacket fans had not heard of the junior walk-on. He is averaging 40.2 yards per punt with a net of 37.5, which is third in the ACC. He has put five punts inside the 20-yard line.

Arndt spent two years at Tusculum College, an NCAA Division II school in Greeneville, Tenn. In 2002, he punted nine times for a 39.7-yard average with a long of 42 yards. He enrolled at Tech in 2003 and then joined the football team as a walk-on last spring.

BALL’S “FEETS”

Although he has struggled throwing the ball, sophomore quarterback Reggie Ball has enjoyed two of the best rushing efforts of his career in Georgia Tech’s last two games.

Ball rushed for 80 yards on 13 carries against North Carolina, then followed with 60 yards on 14 attempts against Miami. One game earlier against Clemson, he gained 73 yards but netted zero because of six sacks.

Ball’s career high for rushing yards is 103 yards in last year’s win over Vanderbilt, when he became just the third quarterback in school history to rush and pass for 100 yards in the same game.

Career Rushing Yards by QB   Years   Yards1. Joe Hamilton      1996-99 1,7582. Danny Myers  1973-75 9213. Shawn Jones  1989-92 8554. Donnie Davis 1992-95 7495. Billy Lothridge      1961-63 7466. John Dewberry        1983-85 6307. Reggie Ball        2003-present    526

GOLD RUSH

With 324 yards rushing in Tech’s first three games, P.J. Daniels is second in the ACC and 19th in nation in rushing, averaging 108.0 yards per game. He did not play against Miami but is probable for this week’s game against Maryland.

The junior from Houston, Texas has raised his career total to 2,026 yards, tied for seventh place on Tech’s career rushing list with William Bell. His next target is sixth place David Sims wih 2,274 yards.

Daniels gained 1,447 yards last fall, the second-best season total in Tech history (Eddie Lee Ivery, 1,562 in 1978) and fourth-best in ACC annals.

Tech's Career Rushing Leaders        Years   Att.    TD      Yards1. Robert Lavette       1981-84 914     45      4,0662. Jerry Mays   1985-89 695     18      3,6993. Eddie Lee Ivery      1975-78 609     22      3,5174. Joe Burns    1998-01 614     31      2,6345. C.J. Williams        1994-96 539     20      2,3656. David Sims   1974-76 379     21      2,2747. William Bell 1989-93 418     14      2,026   P.J. Daniels        2002-   416     14      2,026

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