Originally created 11/25/03

Gator Bowl goes with Maryland for ACC slot



Georgia Tech's bowl destination could hinge on what the Peach Bowl decides to do with its ACC selection.

The Gator Bowl selected Maryland (8-3, 5-2 in the ACC) on Monday, and the Terrapins, which play Wake Forest on Saturday, accepted a spot in the New Year's Day bowl. They will play a team from the Big East.

The Peach Bowl met Monday evening to decide what it would do. The game is expected to choose either Clemson (8-4, 5-3) or N.C. State (7-5, 4-4). Neither team has another regular-season game left.

If the Peach takes Clemson, then the Wolfpack would probably go to the Tangerine Bowl, Tech (6-5, 4-4) would go to the Tire Bowl and Virginia (6-5, 4-4) would pack its bags for the Humanitarian Bowl.

Tech plays No. 5 Georgia on Saturday, while Virginia hosts Virginia Tech that day.

If the Peach selects N.C. State, then the Tangerine is likely to take Virginia since Clemson played in Orlando last year. Clemson would then go to the Dec. 27 Tire Bowl in Charlotte, N.C., and Tech would be shipped to Boise, Idaho for the Jan. 3 Humanitarian Bowl.

The Peach Bowl is expected to make its decision public today, and the Tangerine Bowl (Dec. 22 in Orlando, Fla.) would quickly make its selection since the game is less than a month away.

The bowls strive to avoid inviting the same team in consecutive years if possible. Thus Clemson seems unlikely to return to the Tangerine Bowl and Virginia is probably not headed back to the Tire Bowl.

ALL-ACC: Five Georgia Tech players earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors on Monday in voting announced by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association, but quarterback Reggie Ball will have to wait a few more days to accept his Rookie of the Year honor.

Tailback P.J. Daniels, center Hugh Reilly, defensive end Eric Henderson, linebacker Keyaron Fox and safety James Butler made their first All-ACC teams, and the Yellow Jackets matched conference champion Florida State with five first-team selections.

The league will announce rookie, coach, offensive, defense and player of the year winners later this week. But Monday afternoon Ball was listed with the All-ACC teams as the Rookie of the Year on the ACC's Web site. His name was later pulled off the site.

School officials refused to comment on Ball's apparent honor.

WHITEHURST HONORED: Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst's nearly flawless direction of the Tigers' offense in a 63-17 win over South Carolina earned him Atlantic Coast Conference offensive Back of the Week on Monday.

Whitehurst completed 18 of 26 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns and also rushed for a career-high 43 yards. Whitehurst's 21 touchdown passes tied his own single-game record and tied the Clemson season record.

Virginia's Heath Miller and Maryland's Randy Starks won the offensive and defensive linemen honors.

Miller, a tight end, had six receptions for 110 yards and a touchdown in the Cavaliers' 29-17 win over Georgia Tech. Starks had eight tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in Maryland's 26-24 win over North Carolina State.

Duke had two players recognized for its 30-22 win over North Carolina. Linebacker Brendan Dewan, honored as top defensive back, made 12 tackles in the win over the Tar Heels. Rookie-winner Mike Schneider threw for 90 yards.

Cavaliers kicker Connor Hughes was the special teams honoree for his five field goals in the victory over the Yellow Jackets.

GIBSON HURTING: Georgia wide receiver Fred Gibsonis hurting again. The injury plagued junior revealed Monday that he broke a finger on his left hand during last Saturday's 30-10 victory over Kentucky.

Gibson expects to play Saturday against Georgia Tech.

"I'm just glad I've got my legs," he said. "I'll be OK."

Already this season, Gibson missed playing time with hamstring and knee injuries. This time, he got hurt while having one of his best games of the season: six catches for 99 yards.

SOCON AWARDS: Georgia Southern's Jermaine Austin and Appalachian State's K.T. Stovall won Southern Conference player of the year honors, the league announced Monday.

Austin, the SoCon's freshman of the year last season, was voted by league coaches as offensive player of the year after leading the conference with 1,461 yards.

Stovall, a defensive end for the Mountaineers, led the Southern Conference with 10 sacks and was second in tackles for loss with 19. He finished with 68 tackles this year.

Wofford, the league champion, swept three season awards.

Coach Mike Ayers won the coach of the year, runner Kevious Johnson earned freshman of the year and guard Eric Deutsch took the Jacobs blocking trophy.