Oct. 14, 2003
Just beyond the midway point of the 2003 season, the Georgia Tech football team is riding a three-game winning streak. The Yellow Jackets (4-3, 2-1 ACC) are this week before hosting Maryland in a nationally-televised contest next Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7:45 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field.
Noting the Yellow Jackets . . .
FREDDIE IS THE BEDROCK OF TECH OFFENSE
Developing into one of the ACC’s top offensive threats, wide receiver Jonathan Smith has turned in two remarkable games in Georgia Tech’s victories over Wake Forest and NC State to earn back-to-back ACC Offensive Back of the Week awards.
Against NC State, Smith had nine catches for 155 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown catch. In the first half alone, he caught eight balls for 143 yards to stake Tech to a 22-10 lead. Four of his catches resulted in third down converstions.
The senior from Argyle, Ga., followed against Wake Forest with seven receptions for a career-best 194 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown catch and a 55-yard reception down to the 11-yard line to set up another score.
Nicknamed “Freddie,” Smith leads Tech with 40 catches for 725 yards and two touchdowns. He has 17 more catches than number two receiver Nate Curry.
Smith leads the ACC and ranks ninth in the nation in receiving yards (103.6 per game), while his average of 18.1 yards per catch also leads the league. He is third in the ACC in receptions with 5.7 per game. Smith also returns punts for the Yellow Jackets, and he averages 128.0 all-purpose yards per game (second in the ACC).
DANIELS WALKS INTO OPPORTUNITY
Sophomore tailback P.J. Daniels ranks second in the ACC in rushing, averaging 89.0 yards per game, just behind Virginia’s Wali Lundy (89.7).
Daniels rushed for a career-best 175 yards on 33 carries in Tech’s win over Wake Forest, the best rushing effort by an ACC back this season.
That was the third 100-yard game of the season for Daniels, who has averaged 126.3 yards per game in Tech’s current three-game winning streak. He also topped 100 yards against Florida State (113) and Vanderbilt (105) and just missed the century mark against NC State (99).
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.
NO ROOM TO RUN
Georgia Tech leads the ACC and ranks 17th nationally in rushing defense, allowing 94.6 yards per game on the ground.
Tech has held four of its seven opponents this season to fewer than 100 yards rushing. In nine of 20 games under defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta the last two years, the Jackets have allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing
In Tech’s win over NC State, the Yellow Jackets turned in the fifth best performance in school history against the run as the Wolfpack netted minus-8 yards on 19 attempts. Tech held Auburn to just 40 yards rushing, BYU to 86 yards and Florida State to 91.
BALL EARNS FOURTH ROOKIE AWARD
True freshman quarterback Reggie Ball has been named Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Week four times already this season, including each of the last three weeks as he has led the Yellow Jackets to three straight victories.
Most recently, Ball led Tech to a win at Wake Forest as he completed 12 of 24 passes for 225 yards while rushing for 22 yards. He threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Smith and a 10-yard scoring pass to John Paul Foschi.
Against NC State, Ball passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another score, completing 24 of 37 passes for a career-high 283 yards with no interceptions. He threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Smith, and then threw a perfect fade pass to a diving Nate Curry in the end zone for a five yard touchdown pass with just 15 seconds left in the first half. His four-yard touchdown run with 12 minutes left sealed the win.
Over the last two games, Ball has completed 36 of 61 passes (59 percent) for 508 yards with four touchdowns passing, one touchdown rushing and NO interceptions.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
The anchor of the Georgia Tech offense is senior center Hugh Reilly, who was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week after leading Tech to a 24-7 win at Wake Forest.
Reilly paved the way for a season-high 441 yards of total offense by the Yellow Jackets, including 175 yards rushing by P.J. Daniels.
A preseason nominee for the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center, Reilly has played every snap in Tech’s first seven games (457 offensive plays). He has started every game the last three seasons (33 straight games), starting at right guard in 2001 before moving to center in 2002.
THE BUTLER DID IT
Free safety James Butler led a strong defensive effort in Georgia Tech’s win over Wake Forest that held the Demon Deacons to a season-low seven points. In the first half alone, Butler had an interception and two forced fumbles, and then on the final play of the half, he blocked a 25-yard field goal attempt to preserve Tech’s 7-0 halftime lead. The junior from Climax, Ga., finished the game with nine tackles. For the season, he is Tech’s third leading tackler with 65, and he is second in the ACC with 0.4 interceptions per game.
SMITH CLIMBS RECEIVING LISTS
Senior wide receiver Jonathan Smith ranks fourth on the Yellow Jackets’ career receiving list with 136 catches, and with 194 yards receiving against Wake Forest, he vaulted from 10th place to fifth place in career receiving yards. Smith now has 1,825 career receiving yards, just eight yards behind fourth place Dez White.
TECH CAREER RECEPTIONS1. Kelly Campbell, 1998-01 1952. Kerry Watkins, 1999-02 1713. Harvey Middleton, 1994-97 1654. Jonathan Smith, 2000- 136