Nov. 5, 2005
ATLANTA (AP) – Reggie Ball threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading Georgia Tech past Wake Forest 30-17 Saturday to make the Yellow Jackets eligible for their ninth straight bowl trip.
P.J. Daniels rushed for 109 yards, including a 51-yarder in the third quarter that set up the scoring pass to Calvin Johnson. Travis Bell, who had missed six of seven field goals attempts, showed signs of turning things around by connecting from 41, 44 and 47 yards.
The Yellow Jackets (6-2, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) are one of only eight teams to play in bowls the last eight years.
Wake Forest’s modest two-game winning streak ended, along with its slim bowl hopes. The Demon Deacons (4-6, 3-4) didn’t pick up a first down until nearly six minutes into the second quarter, and they were held to 100 yards on the ground – less than half of their ACC-leading average of 215.6 yards a game.
Chris Barclay, the conference’s top rusher, surpassed 1,000 yards for the season but managed only 24 yards on 15 carries – his worst game of the season.
The Georgia Tech defense came up with a couple of huge plays. Late in the first half, Wake Forest had the ball at the Yellow Jackets 36 with a good chance to reduce a 14-3 deficit.
Instead, Chris Reis stepped in front of a pass by Cory Randolph and returned the interception 39 yards. The Yellow Jackets capitalized on the turnover with Bell’s first field goal, taking a two-touchdown lead into halftime.
Eric Henderson forced Randolph to fumble with a blind-side hit in the third quarter, stopping another Wake Forest possession on Georgia Tech’s side of the field. It was the third time in the last two games that Henderson has caused a fumble with a shot to the quarterback.
The Yellow Jackets stretched the lead to 24-3 early in the third quarter. On their third play from scrimmage, Daniels broke through a gaping hole on the right side, cut back and went all the way to the Wake Forest 4 before he was dragged down by a couple of tacklers.
Two plays later, Ball threw to Calvin Johnson on a fade route, the receiver making the catch easily when cornerback Alphonso Smith fell down trying to cover the towering receiver.
That was typical of Smith’s day. Stuck on Johnson in single coverage, he was burned on plays of 45 and 43 yards that set up Georgia Tech touchdowns.
Johnson had four catches for 98 yards.
Randolph, reclaiming his starting job after missing Wake Forest’s last two games because of an ankle injury, threw for 160 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Receiver Nate Morton had the Demon Deacons’ first TD on a 24-yard run after taking a handoff on the end around.