Originally created 09/29/03

Tech finds win with running game



ATLANTA -- P.J. Daniels made the Vanderbilt defense respect his running skills and Georgia Tech snapped its two-game losing streak when quarterback Reggie Ball proved the Yellow Jackets boast more than one running threat.

After being held to 45 yards rushing in a 39-3 loss to Clemson last week, Georgia Tech ran for 226 yards in its 24-17 overtime win against the Commodores Saturday night at Vanderbilt Stadium.

With Daniels rushing for 105 yards on 25 carries and Ball adding 103 yards - including two key late runs - Tech had two 100-yard rushers for the first time in four years. In 1999, tailback Sean Gregory and quarterback Joe Hamilton each rushed for 100 yards against Central Florida.

"Obviously Reggie creates a problem defensively for people because he can run the football," Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey said Sunday. "Anytime you have a quarterback who can run the football, it creates problems, but he has to be able to throw the ball well enough."

Ball, a freshman, had modest passing totals against Vanderbilt - 11 of 22 for 108 yards with two interceptions and a touchdown.

"He's making slow progress (as a passer)," Gailey said. "Really it's up and down in that respect. He's learning a lot more about the game. He's proving that he can do some things in the clutch for us, but at the same time he's got to get more consistent throwing the football to be a full-time threat there."

Tech (2-3 overall, 0-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) plays host to North Carolina State (3-2, 1-1) next Saturday at noon.

Ball lifted the Yellow Jackets over Vanderbilt with two big runs.

Georgia Tech trailed Vanderbilt 17-10 with 2:12 to play in regulation when a key 45-yard scramble by Ball was the big play in the late game-tying touchdown drive. Ball's 6-yard touchdown pass to John Paul Foschi with 32 seconds tied the game.

After Georgia Tech defensive end Eric Henderson blocked a potential game-winning, 44-yard field goal by Tolga Ertugrul on the final play of regulation, Ball delivered again on the first play of overtime.

With Vanderbilt's defense focused on Daniels, Ball faked a pitch to Daniels and then ran 25 yards on a bootleg for the go-ahead touchdown.

Ball said: "They flooded our strong side and we had been riding P.J. all night. I made my read and I knew it was going to be wide open."

Ball's touchdown run held up when Tech's James Butler ended the game with an interception.

Vanderbilt (1-4) plays next Saturday at Mississippi State.

NOTES: Damarius Bilbo, who moved from quarterback when Ball was named the starter in the preseason, had his first career reception - a 49-yard pass from ball in the first quarter. ... Gailey said his team did not suffer any significant injuries in the game. ... The win over Vanderbilt was Tech's first overtime victory since 1999 and evened the Yellow Jackets' record in overtime games at 3-3.