November 11, 2009

Dwyer moving up the record book

On Saturday, Georgia Tech had another season high performance on the ground, this time going for 412 yards against Wake Forest. They have rushed for 400 yards as a team in back to back games and three out of the last five games. Tech has been sparked by the stellar play of pre-season ACC player of the year, Jonathan Dwyer. He has rushed for career highs in yards in back to back games and has totaled 375 yards on 45 carries to go along with four touchdowns during this span.

Tech found themselves losing at halftime for only the third time this season and in need of a big offensive play to start the second half. Dwyer delivered just that, with a 59-yard touchdown run on their first offensive play of the second half. Cord Howard made a good seal block for Dwyer, who squirted through the line and into the open field. At that point, Dwyer bounced it outside and used his speed to outrun the safety to the pylon.

He described the run by saying, "Coach told us that someone needed to make a play in the second half and the first play was called to go to me. I took advantage of the opportunity and made a play. It was a momentum changer in the second half and everybody built off the play. I saw that Tyler [Melton] had his man pinned in on the inside, which is what they are taught to do, so that I can outrun the defense down the sideline. That's what he did and he gave me an opportunity to make a big play."

Dwyer is also creeping up the Georgia Tech career rushing leader charts. He now has 2,924 yards on 451 carries and 30 touchdowns for his career. These totals rank sixth, tenth, and third respectively in the record book and he is still not finished with his junior season. His career yards per attempt average of 6.5 yards per carry would also demolish the previous record of 6.0 yards per carry set by former Tech great, David Sims.

Dwyer is an explosive player with a rare combination of power, speed, vision, and moves. He has scored 10 touchdowns in his career on plays of 58 yards or longer. He commented, "I like hitting people. I want to be the hammer and not the nail and deliver the blow on someone else before they deliver it to me. I want to run over somebody and get the crowd and team into the game. I usually have a chance to score off of that type of play as well."

The team also has some depth at B-back this year, which has given him a chance to rest after absorbing and delivering those big hits. Last weekend his primary back up, Preston Lyons, scored his first career touchdown on a 31 yard run in the first quarter.

Dwyer had this to say about his teammate, "Preston stepped up big last week. He came in and got his first collegiate touchdown. I was real happy and excited for him. You could tell once he scored that he did not know what to do and he was so excited that jumped up and gave somebody a chest bump. He's done well this season playing through injuries and being tough."

As a leader on the team, Dwyer has taken it upon himself to be more vocal this year in the huddle and at pivotal moments in the game. He gathered the offense before the overtime period and told them, "Our season is on the line right now and this is what we have been fighting for. Going through two-a-days, waking up at 5:30 in the morning, spending all summer here working out. We have no choice but to put in as much effort as we can in overtime. I challenge everybody to give it all that you have."

With that kind of leadership and determination, it is hard to see the team losing sight of their ultimate goal, to win the ACC Championship.

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