Sept. 9, 2006
ATLANTA (AP) -Calvin Johnson caught two more touchdown passes Saturday and Georgia Tech returned two interceptions for scores for the first time in 30 years, bouncing back from an emotional loss to Notre Dame with a 38-6 rout of Samford.
Johnson, who scored his team’s only TD in a 14-10 loss to fourth-ranked Notre Dame the previous week, hauled in scoring catches of 5 and 11 yards as the Yellow Jackets blew it open in the second quarter.
Georgia Tech (1-1) led 35-6 at the half, getting plenty of scoring help from its defense.
Djay Jones picked off a tipped pass on Samford’s first possession and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown, giving the Yellow Jackets a quick 7-0 lead.
Jamal Lewis came up with an even bigger defensive play late in the half. Dante Williams, one of three quarterbacks used by Division I-AA Samford (1-1), hurled an ill-advised pass over the middle on third-and-goal at the Yellow Jackets 19.
Lewis stepped in front of intended receiver Freddy Young to make the interception at the 3, cut down the sideline and picked up a key block from teammate Gary Guyton on the way to a 97-yard interception return – the fourth-longest in Georgia Tech history.
It was the first time since a 1966 victory over Tulane that the Yellow Jackets have turned two interceptions into touchdowns.
Travis Bell connected on a 41-yard field for the lone points of the second half. Georgia Tech cleared its bench, giving its backups some much-needed playing time after the starters went most of the way in the opener.
Johnson, who had seven catches for 111 yards against Notre Dame, managed four catches for 26 yards in limited playing time. But he made the most of it, pulling down a couple of scoring passes from Reggie Ball.
The first TD was a 5-yarder into the left corner of the end zone, with Johnson taking advantage of his imposing 6-foot-5, 235-pound frame. Samford tried to cope by sending in receiver Jeff Moore to cover Johnson instead of 5-7 cornerback T.C. Myers.
It wasn’t nearly enough. Moore was still 5 inches shorter than Johnson, who easily reached over his converted defender to pull down the ball.
Johnson got loose across the middle for his second touchdown on Georgia Tech’s next possession.
Ball finished 10 of 16 for 83 yards, his performance marred by an ugly interception – his first turnover of the season – when he threw into double-coverage in the first quarter. Second-teamer Taylor Bennett played the second half, completing 7 of 13 for 47 yards.
Samford only managed two field goals by Shannon Fleming, not surprising against a defense that held Notre Dame to its fewest points of the Charlie Weis era. The Bulldogs, who were coming off a 37-7 victory over Division II Miles, managed only 11 yards rushing and 163 overall.
Starting quarterback Jefferson Adcock completed 10 of 24 for 66 yards. Williams wasn’t much better, putting up 82 yards on 9-of-19 passing. Of course, the quarterbacks didn’t get much help from the running game; Justin Ray was the top gainer with 11 yards on eight carries.