Sept. 27, 2004
ATLANTA--Georgia Tech hosts fourth-ranked Miami in a regionally-televised (ABC), sold-out game Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field as the Hurricanes make their first visit to Atlanta as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Tech enters the game with a record of 2-1 overall, 1-1 in the ACC and has had an extra week to prepare following an open date last Saturday.
The Hurricanes are 3-0 overall, 1-0 in the ACC after defeating Houston, 38-13, last Thursday.
Ranked fourth in both polls, Miami will be the Jackets' highest ranked opponent since Clemson in 2000, which was ranked fourth in the coaches' poll when Tech defeated the Tigers, 31-28, on the road. The last time a higher ranked team visited Bobby Dodd Stadium was Sept. 9, 2000, when the Jackets fell to No. 2 Florida State, 26-21.
"We've usually played good against good teams," said Tech head coach Chan Gailey. "I think our guys love the challenge."
The centerpiece of Tech's offensive attack is all-ACC tailback P.J. Daniels, who leads the league with 108.0 yards rushing per game and two touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Reggie Ball has completed 54 percent of his passes (46-for-86) for 616 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. He is second in the ACC in total offense with 232.7 yards per game.
Senior all-America candidate James Butler quarterbacks the Tech defense from his free safety position, where he has recorded 17 tackles, one interception and three pass breakups.
The Jackets also hope to have all-ACC defensive end Eric Henderson back this week after missing the first three games due to injury.
Miami features one of the country's top defenses, ranking third in the nation in total defense (211.0 yards per game) and pass efficiency defense (78.9 rating), fourth in scoring defense (7.7 ppg) and 12th in rushing defense (80.3 yards per game).
"Their number one trademark is speed," said Gailey. "They have great speed, especially on defense. And on offense, they can run the football."
GEORGIA TECH VS. MIAMI
Georgia Tech and Miami are meeting for the first time since the 2000 Gator Bowl, in which the Hurricanes defeated Tech, 28-13. The last regular season meeting was Oct. 14, 1978, a 24-19 Tech win in Atlanta when both schools were independent.
The Yellow Jackets lead the series, 6-3, including a 6-1 mark on their home field. Miami's last win in Atlanta was a 10-7 victory in 1968.
LAST MEETING WITH MIAMI
Miami freshman tailback Clinton Portis rushed for 117 yards on just 12 carries, including a 73-yard touchdown, and James Jackson added 107 yards rushing to lead the Hurricanes to a 28-13 victory over 16th-ranked Georgia Tech in the 2000 Toyota Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. In his final game in a Tech uniform, all-America quarterback Joe Hamilton passed for 245 yards but was intercepted twice and held without a touchdown pass for the first time in 14 games.
In the last regular-season meeting, Tech defeated the Hurricanes, 24-19, in Atlanta, behind 166 yards rushing by all-America Eddie Lee Ivery. Ivery set the Tech single-season record that year with 1,562 yards and went on to a 10-year career with the Green Bay Packers. He is now on the Tech strength and conditioning staff, and his son, Eddie, is a sophomore wide receiver for the Yellow Jackets.
Although he doesn't get to play in his hometown, senior wide receiver Nate Curry gets a chance to play against the school from his hometown. The Miami native attended Monsignor Pace High School, where his teammate was Hurricanes' offensive lineman Joel Rodriguez.
Tech has a total of 21 players from the state of Florida, more than any state except Georgia.
Eric Henderson, Georgia Tech's all-America candidate at defensive end, is expected to make his 2004 debut against Miami after missing the Jackets' first three games due to injury.
Last season, the first-team all-ACC selection set a Tech season record with 24 tackles for loss. He has 39 career tackles for loss to rank fifth in Yellow Jacket annals.
The New Orleans, La., native has 16 career sacks, including an ACC-leading 11 a year ago. He ranks eighth on Tech's career list.
TECH CAREER SACKS Years Sack Yds
1. Greg Gathers 1999-02 31 210 2. Coleman Rudolph 1989-92 28.5 200 3. Marco Coleman 1989-91 27.5 162 4. Pat Swilling 1982-85 23 194 5. Felipe Claybrooks 1997-00 20 156 6. Tom Johnson 1990-93 17.5 102 7. Nick Rogers 1998-01 16.5 131 8. Eric Henderson 2002- 16 107
TECH CAREER TACKLES FOR LOSS Years TFL Yds 1. Greg Gathers 1999-02 57 290 2. Coleman Rudolph 1989-92 52 285 3. Marco Coleman 1989-91 50 215 4. Daryl Smith 2000-03 48 129 5. Keyaron Fox 2000-03 40 137 6. Eric Henderson 2002- 39 120
TECH SEASON TACKLES FOR LOSS Year TFL Yds 1. Eric Henderson 2003 24 91 2. Marco Coleman 1991 21 90 Pat Swilling 1985 21 130
DAVIS OUT FOR SEASON
Senior cornerback Dennis Davis, one of Tech's fastest players, is out for the season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder. A co-starter in the secondary, Davis made six tackles in Tech's first three games. Last season, he had 23 tackles and two interceptions. Davis has not previously been redshirted, and Tech plans to apply for a medical hardship in hopes of gaining eligibility for him next season.
True freshman wide receiver Calvin Johnson is establishing himself as one of the nation's top rookies. Johnson, who was named ACC Rookie of the Week after his spectacular performance against Clemson, is Tech's leading receiver with 12 catches for 217 yards (18.1-yard average) and three touchdowns. He ranks second in the ACC in both receptions per game and receiving yards per game. The 6-4, 225-pounder from Tyrone, Ga., leads all Division I-A freshman with three touchdown catches and 72.3 receiving yards per game.
NO DOUBT THAT THOMAS STEPS UP
In Tech's first two games of 2004, Thomas eclipsed his totals for all of last season, when he caught 10 passes for 101 yards. The College Park, Ga., native now has 12 catches for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He is tied for second in the ACC in catches per game and is third in receiving yards per game.
Thomas had career highs with eight catches for 100 yards in Tech's win over Clemson. His 19-yard touchdown catch with 4:36 remaining was the first of Tech's three touchdowns in the final five minutes. He added a 59-yard touchdown catch against North Carolina.
Thomas also returns kickoffs for the Yellow Jackets, including a 32-yard return against Clemson that helped set up one of Tech's late touchdowns.
With 324 yards rushing in Tech's first three games, P.J. Daniels leads the ACC and ranks 17th in nation in rushing, averaging 108.0 yards per game.
The junior from Houston, Texas has raised his career total to 2,026 yards, tied for seventh place on Tech's career rushing list with William Bell. His next target is sixth place David Sims wih 2,274 yards.
Daniels gained 1,447 yards last fall, the second-best season total in Tech history (Eddie Lee Ivery, 1,562 in 1978) and fourth-best in ACC annals.
Tech's Career Rushing Leaders Years Att. TD Yards 1. Robert Lavette 1981-84 914 45 4,066 2. Jerry Mays 1985-89 695 18 3,699 3. Eddie Lee Ivery 1975-78 609 22 3,517 4. Joe Burns 1998-01 614 31 2,634 5. C.J. Williams 1994-96 539 20 2,365 6. David Sims 1974-76 379 21 2,274 7. William Bell 1989-93 418 14 2,026 P.J. Daniels 2002- 416 14 2,026
LOGAN IS MARK OF ALL TRADES
Mark Logan is perhaps Georgia Tech's most versatile, and most unselfish, player. The fifth-year senior has bounced between quarterback and wide receiver during his career, settling this season as a backup quarterback. He also plays on some special teams units, and now he takes over as Tech punt returner.
The Greenwood, S.C., native has yet to take a snap at quarterback in his Tech career, but he has 10 career receptions for 110 yards and one touchdown. He also had two special teams tackles last season.
Logan's biggest moment in a Tech uniform was in last year's win over 17th-ranked Auburn, when he caught a 26-yard touchdown pass on a diving catch in the Jackets' 17-3 victory.
Coach Gailey visits with students camping out for Miami tickets early Monday morning.