ATLANTA - Future opponents who have sized up Georgia Tech as a smash-mouth, power football team had better be wary. The Yellow Jackets can pass, too.
Redshirt freshman Joe Hamilton completed 18 of 24 passes for 227 yards, complementing the usual stout running of C.J. Williams and Charles Wiley, and Tech compiled 536 yards en route to a a 30-10 drubbing of Wake Forest.
Tech, 2-0 for the first time since its 1990 UPI national championship season, knocked Wake Forest (2-1) back to earth after its 28-27 upset over Northwestern a week earlier. The Jackets also are 2-0 in the ACC heading into next Saturday's clash with No. 12 North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
"I thought we mixed it up well - we didn't get into the run mode until the end of the game, and that was because we were trying to run the clock out," said Tech coach George O'Leary, who called for only 10 passes in the season opener against North Carolina State. "I wanted to see Joe under some pressure, and he did a good job handling the dogs and blitzes. This is the kind of offense I want to run here."
Harvey Middleton, Hamilton's former Macedonia High School teammate in St. Stephens, S.C., caught a career-high nine passes for 98 yards. Wiley had the first 100-yard rushing game of his career, totaling 111 yards on 20 carries. Williams ran for 58 yards, and his backup, sophomore Charlie Rogers, had 99 yards on 15 carries.
"I was very impressed with the way we were able to throw the ball," Wiley said. "Since (flanker) Derrick Steagall is out (for the season with a knee injury), a lot of people were wondering whether we would be able to throw the ball. We proved we can, and it's only going to get better."
Unlike the tight matchup between the teams last year, won by Tech 24-23 in Winston-Salem, N.C., the Jackets were in control throughout against Wake this time. A pair of 1-yard touchdown by Williams, a 22-yard Dave Frakes field goal and a 13-yard scramble for a touchdown by Hamilton on the final play on the first half gave Tech a 24-7 lead. Wake Forest crossed midfield only one time in the first half and three times in the game.
Williams, who has five touchdowns in two games, caught a 26-yard pass on Tech's first play and scored on a 1-yard dive to cap the drive. He also had a 10-yard run on a toss sweep to the, and Hamilton had a 14-yard pass to Harvey Middleton.
Frakes' 22-yard field goal early in the second quarter made it 10-0. Hamilton kept the 34-yard scoring drive alive with a fourth-and-2 completion to Middleton for 11 yards to the Wake 20.
Williams' second touchdown, culminating 59-yard drive, put the Jackets up 17-0 with 4:22 left in the half. Hamilton kept it on the ground this time, getting 17- and 8-yard runs up the middle by Wiley and a 10-yard run by Williams on a sweep.
Wake Forest, which hadn't advanced farther than its 39 to this point, struck on a 75-yard pass from Brian Kuklick to Koi Snead. Kuklick ran to his right under heavy pressure and found Snead wide open about 20 yards downfield. Safety Mike Dee dove and missed Snead near midfield, and the backup split end had an easy touchdown.
The Demon Deacons were back in it at 17-7, but only for the moment. Tech finished the half with an 80-yard scoring drive that included Hamilton passes of 34 yards to Mike Sheridan and 11 and 9 to Middleton. On the final play, with the clock ticking inside 13 seconds, Hamilton rolled right, looked for a receiver, then found an alley and sprinted 12 yards for a touchdown.
"We had a corner route to Harvey called, but I didn't think he was deep enough in the end zone," Hamilton said. "Time was running out, so I decided to run for it and hope for the best. Fortunately, I was able to score, or we wouldn't have gotten any points there."
The teams traded field goals in the third quarter, with Frakes hitting from 26 yards and Bill Hollows from 46. Frakes, who missed from 45 and 34 yards, added a 20-yarder in the final quarter.
NOTES: Only days after being switched from quarterback to receiver, Tech freshman Jon Muyres had an impressive debut at his new position. He had a 16-yard run on a reverse in the third quarter to set up a Frakes field goal. Muyres' brother, Jeffrey, is Wake's starting free safety. ... As many as 20 freshmen and redshirt freshmen got into the game for Tech, including Parade All-American linebacker Chris Edwards. ... Tech had three sacks (one each for Keith Brooking, Jermaine Miles and Ralph Hughes) and six tackles for loss (including two by Brooking). ... Tech had its starting secondary in place for the first time this year. Sophomore Brian Wilkins reclaimed the free safety spot after missing the opener with a bruised kidney. Fifth-year senior Mike Dee, who started at free safety in the season opener, moved to strong safety. ... Tech's victory was its first at home over Wake since 1991 and ended a four-year streak of the visiting team winning. ... Tech's game captains were tight end Grant Baynham of North Augusta, S.C., and outside linebacker Jimmy Clements. ... Weather for the game was nearly perfect - low 70s and clear. ... South Carolina's early 7-0 lead over Georgia was announced three times over the P.A. system.
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