Football

Tech to Play Utah in Emerald Bowl

GoJackets
GoJackets

GoJackets

Dec. 4, 2005

ATLANTA--Earning its ninth consecutive bowl berth, Georgia Tech will play in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco, Calif., where the Yellow Jackets will face Utah. The fourth annual Emerald Bowl is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 29 at 4:30 p.m. ET at SBC Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.

Tech is 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which tied for third in the 12-team league. The Utes, one year removed from their undefeated season in 2004, are 6-5 overall, including a 4-4 record in the Mountain West Conference.

The Yellow Jackets feature one of the nation's top defenses, led by a trio of all-ACC honorees in defensive end Eric Henderson, linebacker Gerris Wilkinson and safety Dawan Landry. Tech ranks 10th in the nation in total defense, allowing 296.4 yards per game. The Jackets are 11th in rushing defense (98.0), 14th in pass efficiency defense (105.3), 16th in scoring defense (18.45), seventh in interceptions (19) and 17th in turnover margin (+0.82).

Offensively, Tech boasts one of the nation's most talented players in all-America wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who leads the Jackets with 52 catches for 869 yards and six touchdowns. Tech tailback P.J. Daniels owns the NCAA record for rushing yards in a bowl game, which he set two years ago with 307 yards against Tulsa in the Humanitarian Bowl. Daniels is the ACC's second-leading rusher with 82.1 yards per game, while quarterback Reggie Ball averages 228.6 yards of total offense per game, with 10 touchdowns passing and four touchdowns rushing.

The Emerald Bowl will be a homecoming for Wilkinson, Tech's leadind tackler who hails from Oakland, Calif., and Skyline High School.

Tech and Utah have never met in football. The Jackets are 6-1 against the current members of the Mountain West Conference, including 3-0 versus Air Force, 1-1 versus Brigham Young and 2-0 vs. TCU, although only the home-and-home series with BYU in 2002-03 occured since the MWC was formed.

The two teams have one common opponent this season in North Carolina. Tech defeated the Tar Heels, 27-21, while Utah fell, 31-17.

Tech is one of just six schools in the nation to play in a bowl game each of the last nine years, along with Florida State, Virginia Tech, Florida, Georgia and Michigan. On their current streak, the Yellow Jackets have played in the 1997 Carquest Bowl, 1999 and 2000 Toyota Gator Bowls, 2001 Seattle Bowl, 2002 Silicon Valley Classic, 2004 Humanitarian Bowl and 2004 Champs Sports Bowl, posting a 5-3 record. Tech's longest previous streak was six straight bowl games from 1951-56 under legendary head coach Bobby Dodd.

The Yellow Jackets enter the game with the nation's best winning percentage in bowl games among teams with 20 or more bowl appearances. Tech is 22-11 (.667) in bowl games, ahead of Southern California, (28-15, .652) and Penn State (23-12-2, .649). The Jackets' 22 bowl victories rank sixth all-time.

Georgia Tech will be makings its second post-season trip to the Bay Area in the last four years. The Jackets fell to Fresno State, 30-21, in the 2002 Silicon Valley Classic. Tech has played a total of six games in the state of California and posted a 2-4 record, including an 8-7 victory over California in the 1929 Rose Bowl.

Tickets for the Emerald Bowl are on sale now and can be purchased on-line at www.ramblinwreck.com or by calling 1.888.TECH.TIX. Ticket prices are $75 for club level, $50 for field level and $40 for view level.

A QUICK LOOK AT GEORGIA TECH:

* Georgia Tech is 7-4 overall and ranked 24th

* Georgia Tech went 5-3 in the ACC and finished tied for third overall in 12-team league

* Georgia Tech and Southern Cal are the only two teams in the nation that have two wins over teams currently ranked in the Top 10.

* Georgia Tech is one of six ACC schools currently ranked in the Top 25, along with Virginia Tech, Miami, Florida State, Boston College and Clemson

* Georgia Tech played seven games against teams that earned a bowl bid this season, including four games against teams that won nine or more games

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