NC State (4-4, 3-3) vs. Georgia Tech (4-3, 3-3)
Saturday, November 6, 2004
12:00 pm Carter-Finley Stadium (55,600)
Georgia Tech Links
T.A. McLendon, TB - Shoulder sprain
Lerue Rumph, LB - Concussion
Merci Falaise, OL - Knee surgery
Marcus Stone, QB - Wrist injury, knee sprain
Derek Morris, OL - Ankle sprain
Leroy Harris, OG/C - Shoulder sprain
Jed Paulsen, C - Ankle surgery, 10/12
Richard Washington, WR - Knee sprain
P.J. Daniels, RB -Knee injury
Georgia Tech Scouting Report
|Ball will lead Tech's offensive attack|
1 Reggie Ball, QB – Dual-threat quarterback who was the 2003 ACC Rookie of the Year. Ball has struggled with consistency, but is very dangerous with his arm and legs.
21 Calvin Johnson, FL – Johnson could be the nation's top freshman wide receiver, and he's put up huge numbers for Tech this season. At 6'4 and 225 pounds, the freshman is an imposing figure who is a deep threat. Ask Clemson... Johnson hit the Tigers up for three touchdowns earlier this season.
5 Nate Curry, WR – Small, fast wide receiver who has had a great career at Georgia Tech. Speedy wide receiver is a nice complement to Johnson.
18 Chris Reis, LB – A converted safety, Reis is second in the ACC in sacks (7.0) and has been a playmaker at outside linebacker this season. He'll be used in a variety of ways and his versatility gives defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta plenty of options.
49 Gerris Wilkinson, LB – Wilkinson has been a star this year after moving to middle linebacker from defensive end in the offseason.
22 James Butler, S – A 2003 All-ACC selection, Butler is the leader of the Yellow Jacket defense. He's a potential Jim Thorpe Award winner who makes plays all over the field.
GEORGIA TECH VS. NC STATE
Georgia Tech has won eight of the last nine games against NC State to take a 15-8 lead in the series, which began in 1918 with a 128-0 Rambling Wreck victory. The Wolfpack's only win in the last nine games was a 30-23 overtime victory in Raleigh in 2000. The Jackets have defeated NC State each of the last three years, including a 29-21 victory in Atlanta last season. Reggie Ball passed for 283 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a third score, and P.J. Daniels added 99 yards rushing to lead Tech, which held the Wolfpack to minus-8 yards rushing. The last time the two teams met in Raleigh, Tech rallied for 15 fourthquarter points for a 24-17 victory over the then 8th-ranked and undefeated Wolfpack.
Tech has a 5-6 all-time record in Raleigh, but the Jackets have won three of the last four on NC State's home field.
JOHNSON APPROACHES FRESHMAN MARKS
True freshman Calvin Johnson is Tech's leading receiver with 27 catches for 446 yards and six touchdowns. He leads all ACC freshmen in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns and also ranks among the nation's top freshmen receivers. The Tyrone, Ga., native is on pace to record one of the top receiving seasons ever by a Tech freshman.
Johnson caught his sixth touchdown pass against Virginia Tech to tie the Rambling Wreck record for touchdown catches by a freshman, equalling Kerry Watkins in 1999. The Tech record for touchdowns scored by a freshman is seven by tailback Robert Lavette in 1981.
The Tech defense leads the ACC in first downs allowed (15.1 pg) and third down conversion percentage allowed (28.2 percent). The Jackets have not allowed a fourth-down conversion all season, stopping their opponents on 10 tries.
NO KNOCK ON WOODS With all-ACC tailback P.J. Daniels out with a knee injury, junior backkup Chris Woods will make his second start of the season against NC State.
Woods is Tech's third-leading rusher with 237 yards on 45 attempts, an average of 5.3 yards per carry. Redshirt freshman Rashaun Grant will also play. He has 140 yards on 33 carries. Woods played most of the second half against Virginia Tech, rushing for 57 yards on nine carries. Earlier he started in place of Daniels against Miami and rushed for 74 yards on 12 carries. He also played much of the game against North Carolina and gained 79 yards on 14 carries.
Woods has made two starts in a Tech uniform, and both have come against top five teams - Miami and last year against Georgia.
A junior from Atlanta, Woods enrolled at Tech in 2003 after one season at Morris Brown in Atlanta. He was eligible immediately because the former NCAA I-AA program was disbanded.
Junior linebacker Chris Reis has made a smooth transition to linebacker, moving there this season after two years at safety.
The 6-1, 218-pounder leads the ACC in sacks with seven (1.0 per game) and is second with 10 tackles for loss (1.7 per game). He also has 49 tackles (second on team), five pass breakups and a forced fumble.
In the last four games, Reis has collected all seven of his sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, five pass deflections and a caused fumble, including strong performances in Tech's outstanding defensive efforts against Maryland and Duke. Against Maryland, Reis had three tackles for minus-32 yards, including 2.5 sacks. Then against Duke, Reis had three tackles for loss, including two sacks, two pass breakups and a forced fumble.
POSITION CHANGES DON'T PHASE WILKINSON
Playing his third position in three seasons is no problem for Georgia Tech's leading tackler, Gerris Wilkinson. The junior linebacker from Oakland, Calif., is second in the ACC with 10.6 tackles per game. He also has 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, one interception and a forced fumble.
After playing as a backup outside linebacker as a redshirt freshman in 2002, Wilkinson moved to defensive end just before the start of the 2003 campaign. He started every game at end and collected 47 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and four sacks. He was named to the 2003 ACC All-Academic team.
Last spring he returned to linebacker but had to learn the middle linebacker position, where he replaced Daryl Smith, now a starter for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.
TECH LOSES LEGEND KIM KING
Kim King, an icon of Georgia Tech football for 40 years as a legendary player, a long-time supporter and benefactor of athletics and a beloved radio announcer, died Oct. 12 at the age of 59 after battling leukemia.
King began his long association with Georgia Tech as a freshman football player in 1963. He started three years (1965- 67) at quarterback for head coach Bobby Dodd and finished his career as Tech's all-time leading passer.
After earning his degree in Industrial Management in 1968, he went on to become one of Atlanta's most successful real estate developers. He had served as the color analyst on Tech's radio broadcasts since 1974. The Yellow Jackets are wearing a helmet decal with King's No. 18.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE YELLOW JACKETS HAVE THE BALL
Georgia Tech, as they do in most games, will look to establish the running game against the Wolfpack. With All-ACC tailback P.J. Daniels out with a knee injury, the Yellow Jackets may struggle against a defensive front that has been stout facing the run all season.
Quarterback Reggie Ball will try to get the offense moving through the air and on the ground if the tailbacks struggle. Ball excels on play-action, and he's dangerous running draws and bootlegs with defenses dropping back into coverage. Look for Ball to try and make plays with his feet, but NC State should expect this and could "spy" him with a linebacker or make sure their defensive ends stay up the field to contain him in the pocket.
Ball has a strong group of receivers, led by Nate Curry and Calvin Johnson. They love testing defenses deep, and expect 3-4 deep passes to Johnson... alone. NC State's corners better be ready.
However, the most important factor will be if Georgia Tech's offensive line can give Ball time to throw the football. Wolfpack coordinator Reggie Herring will send pressure... alot, and with the linebackers, Mario Williams, John McCargo and company coming all day, Tech's line best be ready.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN THE WOLFPACK HAS THE BALL
Based on the latest injury report, running back T.A. McLendon is listed as 'Full,' meaning he'll play against Georgia Tech. A sidenote, you know a player has injury concerns when he's listed on the report even after he's fully cleared to play. Priority #1 for the Wolfpack should be to establish the running game behind McLendon, Bobby Washington, Darrell Blackman, and Reggie Davis.
Quarterback Jay Davis will need to get comfortable early, and that means the offensive front will have to give him time to throw against Georgia Tech. Yellow Jacket defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta is a master at disguising coverages and where his blitzes are coming from. Davis MUST be on top of his game for the Wolfpack this weekend.
Finally, NC State's got to get the ball into the hands of their playmakers. T.J. Williams, Tramain Hall, Richard Washington, and the other athletes for the Wolfpack give them an advantage at wide receiver and tight end versus Tech's defense, so they will have to make plays. No drops, no fumbles, and no missed blocks will be crucial for NC State to sustain drives against the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech's offensive line vs. NC State's defensive line: This game will be won in the trenches. If NC State's defensive line can make Georgia Tech one-dimensional by taking away the running game, the Yellow Jackets will be in trouble. However, if Tech's able to establish something on the ground, that just makes quarterback Reggie Ball even more dangerous.
#22 James Butler
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Thanks to NC State and Georgia Tech Athletics for much of the information in this preview.