Nov. 23, 2003
Georgia Tech renews its football rivalry with Georgia for the 98th time as the two schools meet in the traditional season-ending game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field. The game will be televised on ABC-TV (WSB Channel 2 in Atlanta).
Tech is coming off a 29-17 loss at Virginia, but the Jackets are eligible for a school-record seventh straight bowl game with a record of 6-5 overall, 4-4 in the ACC. The fifth-ranked Bulldogs defeated Kentucky, 30-10, last Saturday and have a record of 9-2 overall, 6-2 in the SEC.
Daniels is the ACC’s leading rusher, averaging 100.4 yards per game with six touchdowns.
Smith is one of the ACC’s top all-around players. He is Tech’s leading receiver with 66 catches for 1,016 yards and four touchdowns. He also leads the ACC in punt return average at 12.8 yards per return with touchdowns in the last two games, and he is second in the league with 129.0 all-purpose yards per game.
True freshman quarterback Reggie Ball is the leading candidate for the ACC Rookie of the Year award. Completing 52 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns, he has already set Tech freshman records for passing yards (1,900), completions (169) and total offense (2,243).
The contributions of the Tech offensive line, led by senior center Hugh Reilly, cannot be overlooked.
The Tech offense, however, faces its stiffest test against a Georgia defense that ranks second in the nation in points allowed (11.4) and yards allowed (249.3), led by all-America defensive end David Pollack.
“You better pay attention to exactly where he is on every play, or he’ll wreak havoc in your backfield,” said Tech head coach Chan Gailey. “We’ll have to have more than one guy paying attention to where he is at all times.”
Offensively, Georgia is led by junior quarterback David Greene, who is completing 60 percent of his passes for 2,546 yards and eight touchdowns.
Tech’s defense features the ACC leaders tackles in linebacker Keyaron Fox (138), sacks in defensive end Eric Henderson (9) and interceptions in free safety James Butler (5). The Jackets are in the top 30 nationally in rushing defense (22nd, 114.3) and scoring defense (28th, 20.2) while ranking 33rd in total defense (336.7).
Fox averages 12.5 tackles per game, while his running mate at linebacker, Daryl Smith adds 10.5 per game. Henderson has 20 tackles for loss, followed by Smith with 13 and Fox with 12.
ELIGIBLE FOR SCHOOL-RECORD SEVENTH STRAIGHT BOWL
Georgia Tech enters its final regular-season game with six victories, qualifying the Yellow Jackets for a school-record seventh consecutive bowl game. On their current streak, the Jackets have played in the 1997 Carquest Bowl, the 1999 and 2000 Toyota Gator Bowls, the 2000 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, the 2001 Seattle Bowl and the 2002 Silicon Valley Classic. Tech also played in six straight bowl games from 1951-56 under legendary head coach Bobby Dodd.
Georgia Tech is one of just 13 schools in the nation that have played in a bowl game each of the last six years. Florida State is the only other Atlantic Coast Conference school in this elite group. The list also includes Florida, Georgia, Kansas State, Marshall, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Purdue, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Washington. All 13 schools have qualified for bowl games this season.
THE SERIES VERSUS GEORGIA
Georgia Tech and Georgia have met on the gridiron 97 times, including every year since 1925. Georgia has won two in a row, including last year’s 51-7 victory in Athens, following a three-game Tech winning streak from 1998-2000. Georgia leads the all-time series, 54-38-5.
Tech has a 25-28-4 record against the Bulldogs in games played in Atlanta. Georgia won the last meeting here, 31-17 in 2001, while in 1999, the Jackets claimed a 51-48 overtime victory in the highest scoring game in the history of the series.
YABBA DABBA DOO FOR FREDDIE
Senior wideout Jonathan Smith is putting an exclamation point on his Georgia Tech career. One week after becoming the first player in Georgia Tech history to account for touchdowns by passing, receiving and returning in the same game, he returned another punt 80 yards for a score against Virginia for another first. Smith is the only player in school history to have punt returns for touchdowns in back-to-back games. He also went over 1,000 receiving yards for the season, just the third Yellow Jacket to do so.
Nicknamed “Freddie” because of his love for the “The Flintstones” as a child, Smith has 66 catches for 1,016 yards and four touchdowns. That’s twice as many catches and nearly three times as many yards as Tech’s No. 2 receiver, Nate Curry (34-380).
Smith is second in the Atlantic Coast Conference in receptions (6.0 pg), receiving yards (92.4 pg) and all-purpose yards (129.0), and he is the league’s top punt returner with a 12.8-yard average and two touchdowns.
MILLENIUM MARK, TIMES TWO
For the first time in school history, Georgia Tech has both a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver on the same team. Senior Jonathan Smith became just the third receiver in Tech history to go over 1,000 yards; he now has 1,016 yards. Sophomore tailback P.J. Daniels, with 1,110 yards, recorded the seventh 1,000-yard rushing season in Yellow Jacket annals.
BALL SETS TECH FRESHMAN MARKS
True freshman quarterback Reggie Ball has established Georgia Tech freshman records for passing yards (1,900), pass completions (169) and total offense (2,243). Shawn Jones, who started every game of the 1989 season as a redshirt freshman and led Tech to a 7-4 record, held the previous freshman standards. Jones still holds the freshman record for touchdown passes (12) and touchdowns responsible for (15), ahead of Ball, with 10 TD passes and 13 TDR.
TECH’S ONE-TWO PUNCH
With his receiving and rushing yards, Smith has accounted for 30.3 percent Tech’s offense (1,016 of 3,507 yards), by far the highest percentage for any receiver in the league.
Daniels has accounted for 34.0 percent of Tech’s offensive yards to lead all ACC running backs.
THROWN FOR A LOSS
With 45 tackles for loss, Smith stands fourth in Tech history, trailing only Greg Gathers, Coleman Rudolph and Marco Coleman.
Henderson, just a sophomore, is already seventh with 35 TFL, while Fox is eighth with 33 TFL. Henderson is also climbing Tech’s season lists with 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks this fall.
TECH CAREER TACKLES FOR LOSS Years TFL Yds1. Greg Gathers 1999-02 57 2902. Coleman Rudolph 1989-92 52 2853. Marco Coleman 1989-91 50 2154. Daryl Smith 2000- 45 1175. Pat Swilling 1982-85 37 224 Felipe Claybrooks 1997-00 37 2017. Eric Henderson 2002- 35 1068. Keyaron Fox 2000- 34 94
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. Marco Coleman 1991 10 62 Felipe Claybrooks 1998 10 67 Greg Gathers 2001 10 68 Eric Henderson 2003 10 60
SMITH EYES SEASON MARKS
Jonathan Smith is putting together one of the best seasons ever recorded by a Georgia Tech wide receiver.
With his current averages, Smith is on pace to finish the regular season with school-record totals of 72 catches and 1,108 yards. Smith has five 100-yard receiving games this season; only Harvey Middleton had more with six in 1997.
TECH SEASON RECEPTIONS Year Rec1. Kerry Watkins 2002 712. Kelly Campbell 1999 693. Jonathan Smith 2003 66
TECH SEASON 100-YARD GAMES Years Games 1. Harvey Middleton 1997 6 2. John Sias 1968 5 Jonathan Smith 2003 5
DANIELS WALKS INTO OPPORTUNITY
Sophomore tailback P.J. Daniels leads the ACC in rushing, averaging 100.9 yards per game. He is on his way to one of the top rushing seasons in Georgia Tech history as he has recorded just the seventh 1,000-yard season in Tech annals.
He has been ever better of late, averaging 123.7 yards over the last seven games.
Daniels has five 100-yard games on the season, topped by 240 yards against North Carolina and 175 yards versus Wake Forest. He also had 100-yard efforts against Florida State (113), Duke (108) and Vanderbilt (105) and just missed the century mark against NC State (99).
With 1,365 career yards, Daniels ranks 20th on Tech’s all-time rushing list.
Daniels, whose given name is Prince, is a former walk-on who was Tech’s seventh-string tailback early last season. He was placed on scholarship in January, 2003.
TECH'S TOP RUSHING SEASONS Year Rec1. Eddie Lee Ivery 1978 1,5622. Jerry Mays 1989 1,3493. Robert Lavette 1982 1,2084. Robert Lavette 1984 1,1895. Joe Burns 2001 1,1656. C.J. Williams 1995 1,1387. P.J. Daniels 2003 1,110