Jackets offense keeps rolling
Tech racks up 69 points in home rout of Samford

ATLANTA - Tashard Choice's day ended before the first quarter did.

Quarterback Taylor Bennett joined his Georgia Tech teammate on the bench less than five minutes into the second period.

Philip Wheeler and the starting defense? They retired the same time as Bennett.

The Yellow Jackets denied Samford, a Football Championship Subdivision program, an Appalachian State-like upset Saturday, and they did it quickly. Georgia Tech scored touchdowns on its first five possessions, and the starting defense allowed just one first down in a 69-14 rout before a crowd of 43,288 at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

"I challenged our team to go out and set the tempo in the first 10 minutes of the ballgame," head coach Chan Gailey said, "and I thought they did that."

Georgia Tech's fast start produced its second blowout in two games. The Yellow Jackets are 2-0 heading into next Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Boston College.

The Eagles won't be the easy mark Notre Dame and Samford were: Their 2-0 mark includes wins against ACC foes Wake Forest and North Carolina State.

"As soon as I came out of the game, my thoughts turned to Boston College," said Choice, who rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns. "I'm keyed up for that one already."

Georgia Tech will still enjoy Saturday's victory. The offense proved more efficient against Samford than it did in the opener versus Notre Dame.

The Yellow Jacket regulars scored touchdowns on all three of their chances inside the red zone, the area between the opponent's goal line and the 20-yard line.

A week ago, Georgia Tech's starters settled for two touchdowns, two field goals and had a third field goal blocked in five red-zone chances. The Yellow Jackets still struggled somewhat in the red zone Saturday, scoring two touchdowns on fourth-down plays and converting another fourth down on one of those drives. The starters were 1-for-4 on third downs.

"I thought we got better in the red zone, but I think everybody realizes that we were stronger than this team," Gailey said. "We can take a lot of good things from this game, but we've got to get better to play a tough Boston College team."

Choice led the offense again despite what could be considered a cameo appearance. The 100-yard game is the ninth straight for Choice dating back to last season.

Combined with the 181 yards he ran for in the first three quarters of last week's game - he added 15 more in the first four plays of the fourth quarter - Choice has rushed for 291 yards in less than four quarters this season.

"This is a amazing," Bennett said. "We are on a roll right now. The running game speaks for itself, but it's really the whole flow. I'm not sure I've seen this much chemistry and production from this team before."

Bennett exorcised his 11-for-23 showing against Notre Dame by completing 8 of 9 throws for 85 yards versus Samford. Bennett also scored on a quarterback sneak and threw a swing pass ruled a lateral to Greg Smith for another score. Georgia Tech's defense once again made any offensive fireworks moot. Samford netted 16 offensive yards against the starters, and that's after the regulars held Notre Dame to 101 net yards and just three points a week ago. Defensive tackle Vance Walker and linebacker Shane Bowen recorded a sack each.

"Things have really gone well for us these first two games," safety Jamal Lewis said. "We're just playing off our keys and making plays."

Samford's special teams made a few misplays to help Georgia Tech, too. The Bulldogs fumbled away a kickoff and a punt that the Yellow Jackets turned into 10 points, and the Jackets' Correy Earls returned the second-half kickoff to the Samford 28-yard line, setting up another score.

True freshman Jonathan Dwyer scored the touchdown on the opening drive of the second half, putting Georgia Tech ahead 52-0.

Dwyer finished with 138 and three touchdowns. The second most-heralded prep running back in Georgia a year ago - behind Georgia Bulldog Caleb King, a GAC grad - Dwyer has scored a touchdown in his first two college games. He scored on a seven-yard run against Notre Dame and finished that game with 27 yards on five carries.