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No. 21 Tech Hosts Miami in Key ACC Game

Oct. 23, 2006

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ATLANTA- Twenty-first ranked Georgia Tech hosts Miami in an Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division showdown, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field, with the winner taking control of the division race. The game will be regionally televised on ABC-TV.

Tech (5-2, 3-1 ACC) had its five-game winning streak with a 31-7 loss at 12th-ranked Clemson. Still, the Jackets have a chance to control their own destiny in the ACC Coastal Division.

Miami is 5-2, 2-1 in the ACC following a 20-15 victory at Duke. Tech and the Hurricanes are the only Coastal Division teams with fewer than two conference losses.

Tech opened the season by playing five of its first six games at home. After hosting Miami this week, the Jackets face three of their last four games on the road.

Calvin Johnson, Tech’s all-America wide receiver, leads the ACC in receptions with 35 (5.0 per game) and receiving yards with 559 (79.9 pg). His eight touchdowns rank seventh in the nation. Sophomore James Johnson stepped up against Clemson with a career-best seven catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. For the season, the “other” Johnson has 22 catches fo r300 yards and two scores.

Senior quarterback Reggie Ball has completed 79 of 154 passes for 1,046 yards and 11 touchdowns with six interceptions. He is also the team’s second-leading rusher with 323 yards and a 4.1-yard average. He is tied for the ACC lead with 11 touchdown passes.

Tailback Tashard Choice leads Tech and stands third in the ACC with 550 yards rushing on 116 attempts and six touchdowns. As a team, Tech is second in the league in rushing (169.6) and fourth in scoring (25.6 ppg).

Linebackers KaMichael Hall and Philip Wheeler lead the Tech defense with 49 and 48 tackles, respectively. Wheeler is third in the league in sacks (5.0) and tackles for loss (9.5). Safety Djay Jones grabbed his team-leading third interception against Clemson.

Miami boasts a defense that ranks in the top ten nationally in rushing defense (3rd, 62.9 ypg), total defense (8th, 257.7 ypg) and scoring defense (T10th, 12.71 ppg).

Offensively, Hurricane quarterback Kyle Wright has completd 118 of 1990 passes (62.1 percent ) for 1,325 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions.

The Hurricanes’ leading rusher is freshman Javarris James with 416 yards (59.4 pg) and four touchdowns, while the leading receiver is Lance Leggett with 28 catches for 412 yards and two scores.

SERIES VS. MIAMI

Georgia Tech leads the series with Miami, 7-4. The schools first played in 1955, when Tech won, 14-6.

Tech and Miami have split their two meetings as ACC rivals, with the Hurricanes winning 27-3 in Atlanta in 2004, and then the Jackets answering with a 14-10 victory at the Orange Bowl last November.

Eight of the 11 meetings between the two schools have been in Atlanta, where the Jackets hold a 6-2 advantage.

LAST YEAR’S GAME VS. MIAMI

Georgia Tech’s defense came up with seven sacks, seven pass breakups and a game-saving interception as the Yellow Jackets knocked off No. 3 Miami at the Orange Bowl. The win, which snapped the Hurricanes’ eight-game winning streak, marks the highest ranked team Tech has defeated since knocking off No. 1 Virginia in 1990. Only twice in its 114-year history has Tech defeated a higher ranked team – 1990 and a 1962 win over top-ranked Alabama.

Tech’s defense held the Hurricanes to 237 total yards, including 30 yards rushing, and forced Miami to go 1-for-14 on third downs.

Reggie Ball passed for 159 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter on a 16-yard run. Calvin Johnson caught six passes for 89 yards, and Tashard Choice rushed for 84 yards, including a two-yard TD run.

The game was originally scheduled for Oct. 22 but was postponed until Nov. 19 by the threat of Hurricane Wilma.

DURANT DURANT

Junior punter Durant Brooks has become a very effective weapon in his first season in a Georgia Tech uniform. The transfer from Georgia Military College is second in the ACC with a 43.9-yard average (11th in the nation). His net of 40.59 leads the ACC and ranks fourth nationally. Eighteen of Brooks’ 39 punts have been pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line.

Tech’s punt coverage also deserves credit; only 15 of his punts have been returned, for an average of just 3.3 yards.

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.

JOHNSON, WHEELER NAMED MID-SEASON ALL-AMERICAS

Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson and linebacker Philip Wheeler were tabbed to the “Mid-Season All-America” first-team by SI.com. Tech and top-ranked Ohio State are the only schools with two players on the first team.

Johnson was also the No. 1 player on the “Mid-Season Hot List” by ESPN.com columnist Bruce Feldman, who tabbed Wheeler No. 18. Of Johnson, Feldman said, “The most gifted player in college football, Johnson is like the superman player you create on video football games when you want to toss reality aside.”

HOMECOMING

Georgia Tech’s game against Miami marks the Institute’s annual Homecoming celebration. Tech is 42-13-1 in Homecoming games (since 1949). The Yellow Jackets have won 10 straight Homecoming games and 15 of their last 17, including last year’s 10-9 victory over Clemson. Tech’s last Homecoming loss was also against Clemson, 24-3 in 1995.

JOHNSON, WHEELER NAMED MID-SEASON ALL-AMERICAS

Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson and linebacker Philip Wheeler were tabbed to the “Mid-Season All-America” first-team by SI.com. Tech and top-ranked Ohio State are the only schools with two players on the first team.

Johnson was also the No. 1 player on the “Mid-Season Hot List” by ESPN.com columnist Bruce Feldman, who tabbed Wheeler No. 18. Of Johnson, Feldman said, “The most gifted player in college football, Johnson is like the superman player you create on video football games when you want to toss reality aside.”

CHOICE CUTS

Tashard Choice ranks third in the ACC in rushing, averaging 78.6 yards pe game. He has 550 yards and six touchdowns in seven games.

Choice has two 100-yard efforts on the season, including a career-best 138 yards and two touchdowns lead Georgia Tech to a 27-23 victory over Maryland. His 15-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winning score.

The junior from Riverdale, Ga., has raised his Georgia Tech career rushing total to 1,063 as he became the 32nd 1,000-yard rusher in school history. Choice also had 100 yards rushing as a freshman at Oklahoma for a career total of 1,163 yards.

LINEBACKER TANDEM

The key to Georgia Tech’s defense is the linebacker tandem of senior KaMichael Hall and junior Philip Wheeler, who have combined for 97 tckles, 15 tackles for loss, including eight sacks, four pass breakups, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

Hall and Wheeler are one-two on the team in tackles. Hall leads the team with 49 hits, while Wheeler is right behind with 48. Wheeler leads in sacks (5.0) and tackles for loss (9.5) – third in the ACC in both categories – and Hall is next with 4.5 TFL and three sacks.

In Tech’s win at 10th-ranked Virginia Tech, Wheeler and Hall combined for 19 tackles, four sacks, two caused fumbles and two pass breakups. Wheeler was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week and Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week.

One game later against Maryland, they teamed for 17 tackles, two sacks, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery. Hall was honored this team as ACC Defensive Back of the Week.

CALVINISM

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.

Johnson already ranks among Tech’s all-time leaders with career totals of 137 receptions, 2,284 yards and 21 touchdowns after just 31 games. He has tied the school record with 10 100-yard games.

GEORGIA TECH CAREER LEADERS

Receiving Yards Years Yds ACC 1. Kelly Campbell 1998-01 2,907 9th 2. Kerry Watkins 1999-02 2,680 11th 3. Harvey Middleton 1994-97 2,291 27th 4. Calvin Johnson 2004- 2,284 28th

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- 137

TD Receptions Years TD ACC 1. Kelly Campbell 1998-01 24 T-8th 2. Kerry Watkins 1999-02 22 3. Calvin Johnson 2004- 21

100-yd games Years G ACC 1. Harvey Middleton 1994-97 10 T-10th Kelly Campbell 1998-01 10 T-10th Calvin Johnson 2004- 10 T-10th

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