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September 1, 2007

Notre Dame has no answers for Georgia Tech

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Georgia Tech didn't need a secret weapon. It had Tashard Choice.

Choice rushed for a career-high 196 yards and two touchdowns and the Georgia Tech defense had little trouble with any of Notre Dame's replacements for Brady Quinn, shutting down the running of Demetrius Jones and the passing of Evan Sharpley and Jimmy Clausen in beating Notre Dame 33-3 on Saturday.

Fighting Irish coach Charlie Weis kept his choice of starting quarterback secret until game time, hoping that preparing for three quarterbacks would make it tough on Georgia Tech's defense.

It didn't work. In fact, it almost looked as if Georgia Tech knew what was coming.

The only score for Notre Dame (0-1) came on a 24-yard field goal by Brandon Walker in the third quarter. The Irish were held to minus-8 yards rushing.

Choice, the leading rusher in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season with 1,473 yards, rushed for more than 100 yards for an eighth straight game, breaking the school record set by Eddie Lee Ivery in 1978. He scored on a 22-yard run on a direct snap and set up his other 7-yard TD - also on a direct snap - with a 45-yard run.

The only disappointment for Georgia Tech (1-0) was it was forced to settle for four field goals by Travis Bell, who had another one blocked. Jonathan Dwyer added a 7-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Taylor Bennett played solidly, completing 11-of-23 passes for 121 yards. Georgia Tech had 386 yards total offense and held the Irish to 122 yards as Notre Dame tried to come out and play smash-mouth football - a stark departure from the aerial attack it used the past two seasons behind Quinn.

The Georgia Tech offense repeatedly took advantage of good field position. Two of Tech's field goals were set up by fumbles by Jones. Safety Jamal Lewis knocked the ball out of Jones' hand on the opening drive and linebacker Philip Wheeler recovered at the Notre Dame 32. In the second quarter defensive tackle Vance Walker knocked the ball loose and Djay Jones returned it 16 yards to the Notre Dame 44.

Dwyer's touchdown was set up when Sharpley was sacked by defensive end Michael Johnson, who knocked the ball loose and defensive end Darrell Robertson recovered at the 17.

Georgia Tech's had another field goal set up by a 22-yard punt by Geoff Price, giving the Yellow Jackets the ball on the Notre Dame 48. Georgia Tech started on its 47 on a seven-play drive that ended in Choice's 22-yard TD run. The Irish had the Yellow Jackets stopped, but defensive end Justin Brown was called for a late hit and ejected from the game to keep the drive going.

The only long scoring drive for the Yellow Jackets was a 13-play, 63-yard drive in the third quarter that started on their own 16 and ended in a 39-yard field goal by Bell.

For more coverage of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, check out JacketsOnLine.com; for more on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, visit IrishIllustrated.com.

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