ATLANTA - Sophomore A-Back Jonathan Dwyer etched his name into Georgia Tech's record books with his 88-yard run touchdown run in the third quarter of the Yellow Jackets' 38-7 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday.
The run was the longest run from scrimmage by a Tech running back in school history, breaking the old mark of 87 yards set by Bob McCoy in a 1948 game against The Citadel.
"I didn't know anything about that until after the game," said Dwyer, who finished with 141 yards on just nine carries. "I'm very honored. It's a great deal for Georgia Tech and for me, but I'm just glad we got the win."
Dwyer's run was part of a huge day that was also one for the books for Tech's option-based spread offense, which steamrolled its way to 433 yards on the ground.
It was just the 10th time the Jackets have ever run for that many yards, the the fifth-most in school history and the first time they ran for more than 400 yards since a 38-0 win over Maryland in 1993. Eight different individuals put up double-digit yard totals, and four ran for a touchdown, including Dwyer, Greg Smith (3-62), Jaybo Shaw (9-61) and Embry Peeples (6-56).
Big day for MJ
After having what was considered by some to be only a so-so first three games, Tech preseason All-American defensive lineman Michael Johnson showed the form that put him on the watch lists for the Ted Hendricks and Chuck Bednarik Awards on Saturday.
In addition to recovering a fumble and blocking a field goal, the 6-foot-7, 260-pound senior terrorized Mississippi State quarterbacks Wesley Carroll and Tyson Lee all day.
Though he only got to the quarterback once officially - a 5-yard sack of Lee in the fourth quarter - he was in the backfield numerous times on the afternoon applying pressure, and even broke up two passes and batted down another.
"Coach Johnson gave us three things (to focus on) before the game - focus, intensity and (being) physical," Michael Johnson said. "I just tried to take that onto the field. ... It started this week in practice. We all came out and practiced hard, and we're going to continue to do that."
Tech coach Paul Johnson has never disguised his affinity for going for it on fourth downs.
In Saturday's game against Mississippi State, both Johnson and Bulldogs coach Sylvester Croom rolled the dice in the first half. The former came up with a successful pass, while the latter rolled snake eyes, and both led to a big shift of momentum towards Tech in the second quarter.
Mississippi State's Anthony Dixon was thrown for a 7-yard loss on fourth and 1 from the Tech 38 with 12:21 left in the half, allowing the Jackets to keep momentum with its 14-0 lead.
Tech was then able to cash in on its next possession, with freshman quarterback Jaybo Shaw converting on fourth and 3 with a 25-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 21-0 with 7:55 left.
"I missed the (same) play, I think it was two plays before - I should've pitched it," Shaw said. "That next one, I came off the left (side) and that guy took the pitch man, and I was fortunate to find an alley and score on that one."
For the year, Tech has gone for it five times on fourth down, converting three of those opportunities.
"I'm only willing to go for it on fourth down when I think we can make it," Paul Johnson said. "I saw the play on third down (Saturday) and I felt like if we ran the same play, we had a good chance to make it on fourth down. But no matter what you call, you have to give the players the credit. They executed the play, and it wound up being a big play."
Former (Blue) Devil gets his due
Tech's lopsided victory allowed third-string quarterback and former Norcross standout Bryce Dykes to get his first playing time as a Jacket in relief of Jaybo Shaw in the fourth quarter.
The redshirt freshman walk-on got to run most of Tech's final offensive series and ran for 16 yards on seven carries.
Four of the six quarterbacks listed on Tech's roster saw action on the day, with redshirt senior Calvin Booker running the show for four plays, completing 1 of 2 passes for 19 yards and running for 7 yards.