Nov. 20, 2006
ATLANTA-Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division champion and 15th-ranked Georgia Tech turns its attention to its annual rivalry game against Georgia. The Yellow Jackets and Bulldogs square off Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Sanford Stadium in Athens in a game that will be nationally televised on CBS.
Georgia Tech (9-2, 7-1 ACC) won its fourth straight game with a 49-21 victory over Duke Saturday, while Georgia (6-4, 4-4 SEC) enjoyed an off weekend.
Calvin Johnson, Tech’s all-America wide receiver, leads the ACC in receptions with 57 (5.2 per game) and receiving yards with 886 (80.8 pg). His 13 touchdown receptions, a new Tech season record, rank third in the nation.
Sophomore James Johnson, Calvin’s running mate at wide receiver, has stepped up with 35 catches for 519 yards and six scores. The two Johnsons have accounted for 92 of Tech’s 140 pass completions, 1,405 of 1,878 passing yards and 19 of the team’s 22 TD passes.
Senior quarterback Reggie Ball has completed 120 of 253 passes for 1,649 yards and 20 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He is also the team’s second-leading rusher with 318 yards and two scores. His 20 TD passes lead the ACC.
Tashard Choice is the ACC’s third-leading rusher, averaging 96.2 yards per game. He has 1,058 yards–the eighth-best season total in Georgia Tech history–and nine touchdowns. He is the only back averaging more than 100 yards rushing in ACC games (110.3 ypg), and he has scored seven of his nine touchdowns in ACC play. He has topped 100 yards in four straight games adn six of the last seven.
Linebackers KaMichael Hall and Philip Wheeler lead the Tech defense 71 and 67 tackles, respectively. Wheeler is third in the ACC in sacks (8.0) and fourth in tackles for loss (12.5). Safeties Djay Jones and Jamal Lewis have combined for seven interceptions, including a team-high four by Jones.
The Tech defense ranks 12th in the nation in rushing defense and seventh in pass efficiency defense.
JACKETS WILL PLAY FOR THIRD ACC TITLE
Georgia Tech will have the chance to play for its third ACC title on Dec. 2, against Boston College, Maryland or Wake Forest. The Jackets previously won the ACC in 1990 and claimed a share of the crown in 1998. Tech has won a total of 15 conference championships in its history, including titles in the SEC (1939, 1943, 1944, 1951, 1952), Southern Conference (1922, 1927, 1928) and SIAA (1916, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1921).
Tech is bowl eligible for the 10th straight year as the Jackets will extend their school-record bowl streak. The Jackets are also assured of their 10th straight winning season, the second-longest string in school history and longest since Tech had 18 consecutive winning seasons from 1908-1925.
Tech’s nine victories are its most since the 2000 season. The Jackets have won at least nine games for the third time in the last nine years but just the seventh time in the last 40 years. This year’s Jackets have tied the school record with seven ACC victories.
JOHNSON IS BILETNIKOFF FINALIST
Georgia Tech’s All-Everything wide receiver Calvin Johnson was named last Friday as one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver. He has also been named one of the 10 “Players to Watch” for the 2006 Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year award as well as a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award as Collegiate Player of the Year.
Johnson is THIRD IN THE NATION with 13 touchdown catches on the season, a Tech season record. He has caught 13 of Tech’s 22 TD passes. He leads the ACC in receptions (57, 5.2 pg) and receiving yards (886, 80.5 pg).
Junior punter and Ray Guy Award candidate Durant Brooks LEADS THE NATION in net punting at 40.97 yards per kick. His gross average of 45.2 yards per kick lead the ACC and ranks 6th in the nation. Twenty-nine of his 65 punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line, and he has 21 punts of 50 yards or longer.
THE SERIES WITH GEORGIA
Georgia holds a 57-38-5 lead in this annual rivalry that began in 1893 and has been renewed every year since 1925. Including last year’s 14-7 victory, the Bulldogs have won five in a row, following a three-game winning streak by Georgia Tech from 1998-2000. Georgia’s last two victories have been by a combined 13 points. Tech’s last win in the series was a 27-15 victory in 2000 in Athens.
PROTECTING THE END ZONE
When the Duke offense scored a second-quarter touchdown in last Saturday’s 49-21 Georgia Tech victory, it snapped a string of nine straight quarters in which the Tech defense did not allow a touchdown. That streak included a 7-0 shutout of North Carolina and a 31-23 victory over NC State in which the Wolfpack offense managed only three field goals.
In Tech’s last four victories before Duke, wins over Maryland, Miami, NC State and North Carolina, the Rambling Wreck defense had allowed just two offensive touchdowns, one of which came after a Tech fumble at its own eight-yard line.
On the season, the Tech defense has allowed 18 touchdowns in 11 games. The Jackets have held six opponents (Samford, Virginia, Maryland, Miami, NC State and North Carolina) to one offensive touchdown or less.
The Tech defense has been stout in the red zone. Yellow Jacket opponents have had 27 red zone possessions but have managed just 10 touchdowns.
HAVIN’ A BALL
In Georgia Tech’s victory over Duke, quarterback Reggie Ball made his 47th career start, the school record for starts by a quarterback.
Ball also won his 29th game as Tech’s starting quarterback, tying Joe Hamilton for second place in Yellow Jacket annals. Shawn Jones, quarterback of Tech’s 1990 national championship team, is the winningest signal caller in school history with 31 victories.
GEORGIA TECH CAREER LEADERSWins by Starting QB Wins Years
PUNTER IS SEMIFINALIST FOR RAY GUY AWARD
Junior punter Durant Brooks, who leads the nation in net punting (40.97) is a strong candidate for all-America honors and one of 10 semifinalists for the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter.
Guy is a native of Thomson, Ga., and a mentor for Brooks, who attended the former NFL star’s kicking camps. A transfer from Georgia Military College, Brooks has become a very effective weapon in his first season in a Georgia Tech uniform.
Brooks played a key role in the Jackets’ win over Miami, when he averaged 50.8 yards with a net of 45.2 on six punts. He boomed a 63-yard punt when Tech was backed up at its own one-yard line. Then, with Tech holding a seven-point lead and trying to run out the clock, he nailed a 53-yard kick to the 16-yard line, which Miami fumbled to end the game. He was named ACC Specialist of the Week.
Brooks punted seven times for a 48.1-yard average against second-ranked Notre Dame. He had three kicks of over 50 yards against the Irish, including a 57-yarder, and he had four punts inside the 20-yard line.
In the Jackets’ win at 10th-ranked Virginia Tech, Brooks averaged 45.8 yards on five punts, including kicks that were downed at the three- and four yard lines.
With a 7-1 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Georgia Tech will finish with an ACC record of .500 or better for the 12th straight year, the longest active streak in the league. Florida State’s 3-5 record this season snaps a streak of 14 straight years at .500 or better in the ACC. Clemson has the next longest streak at eight straight years of .500 or better, including 2006.
Tech is one of just four schools in NCAA Division I-A to post a conference record of .500 or better every year since 1995. The others are Florida, Michigan and Southern Mississippi.
Since 1995, Tech has won more ACC games (60) than any school except Florida State (80).
Tashard Choice has topped the 100-yard mark in four straight games and six of the last seven, including a career-best 164 yards to lead Tech to a 31-23 win at NC State. The workhorse has averaged 127 yards and 27.5 carries a game on Tech’s current four-game winning streak to seize the ACC Coastal Division title.
Despite playing only the first half, Choice had 118 yards on just 18 carries in last Saturday’s win over Duke. In Tech’s win at North Carolina, Choice accounted for 151 of the Jackets’ 221 yards (119 yards rushing and 32 yards receiving) and scored the game’s only points on a three-yard touchdown run.
The junior from Riverdale, Ga., began his hot streak with 105 yards and two touchdowns in the Jackets’ win at Virginia Tech. Then he rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns to lead Tech to a 27-23 victory over Maryland. His 15-yard TD run in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winning score.
He added 107 yards in the Jackets’ win over Miami, again scoring the winning points on a 24-yard, fourth-quarter TD run. He gained 64 of his yards in the fourth quarter as he became the only back this season to gain 100 yards on the Hurricanes. Choice’s 24-yard touchdown run against Miami was nominated for the Pontiac Game-Changing Performance of the Week.
The junior from Riverdale, Ga., has recorded the eighth 1,000-yard rushing season in Yellow Jacket annals with 1,058 yards, raising his Tech rushing total to 1,571 yards (17th in school history). Choice also had 100 yards as a freshman at Oklahoma for a career total of 1,671 yards.
Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech’s sensational wide receiver, is one of the nation’s top players. The two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection earned first-team all-America honors last fall. He is the preseason choice as the ACC Player of the Year as well as a preseason all-America.
With two touchdown catches against Duke, Johnson raised his career total to 26, adding to his Georgia Tech career record and moving into seventh place in ACC history. Johnson ranks third in Tech history in receiving yards and fifth in receptions.
GEORGIA TECH CAREER LEADERSReceiving Yards Years Yds ACC
Receptions Years Rec ACC 1. Kelly Campbell 1998-01 195 5th 2. Jonathan Smith 2000-03 174 13th 3. Kerry Watkins 1999-02 171 T-14th 4. Harvey Middleton 1994-97 165 T-19th 5. Calvin Johnson 2004- 159 26th
ON THE BALL
Senior quarterback Reggie Ball is playing the best football of his career in leading Georgia Tech to nine victories and the ACC Coastal Division title.
Ball leads the ACC with 20 touchdown passes, six more than any other ACC quarterback. He has thrown 15 TD passes in ACC games, again six more than any other ACC signal caller. He also has two rushing touchdowns.
BALL IN RARE AIR
Quarterback Reggie Ball is in “rare air” on Georgia Tech’s career passing and total offense charts.
Against Duke, Ball passed Shawn Jones for second place in Tech history in career total offense. Ball now has 9,372 yards of total offense, trailing only Heisman Trophy runner-up Joe Hamilton (10,640). Hamilton and Jones finished their respective careers as the ACC all-time leader in total offense.
In career passing yards, Ball ranks third behind Hamilton and Jones. With an ACC-leading 20 touchdown passes this season, Ball has moved into second place in Tech history with 57 in his career.
In ACC annals, Ball currently stands seventh in total offense, seventh in TD passes and 13th in passing yards.
GEORGIA TECH CAREER LEADERSPassing Yards Years Cmp-Att TD Yards ACC
TD Passes Years TD ACC 1. Joe Hamilton 1996-99 65 2nd 2.Reggie Ball 2003- 57 T-7th
NCAA ACTIVE LEADERS Total Offense G Plays Yards TDR 1. Kevin Kolb, Houston 48 1955 13,019 100 2. Brady Quinn, Notre Dame 47 1762 11,442 96 3. Jordan Palmer, UTEP 52 1603 10,748 94 4. Chris Leak, Florida 48 1647 10,622 96 5. John Beck, BYU 42 1585 10,268 81 6. Reggie Ball 47 1781 9,372 68
ACC CAREER LEADERS Career Total Offense Years Rush Pass TDR Total 1. Philip Rivers, NCS 2000-03 98 13,484 112 13,583 2. Joe Hamilton, GT 1996-99 1,758 8,882 83 10,640 3. Charlie Whitehurst, Clem 2002-05 94 9,665 59 9,759 4. Jamie Barnette, NCS 1996-99 177 9,461 74 9,638 5. Darian Durant, UNC 2001-04 875 8,755 79 9,630 6. Chris Weinke, FSU 1997-00 -366 9,839 83 9,473 7. Reggie Ball 2003- 1,415 7,957 68 9,372