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Choice leads Tech past Duke

POSTED: November 14, 2007 5:05 a.m.
DURHAM, N.C. — Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey looks for leadership from running back Tashard Choice, and he got plenty of it on Saturday.

Choice picked up his sixth 100-yard game of the season, running for 170 yards and two touchdowns to lead Georgia Tech to a 41-24 victory over Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"He might be the best leader I’ve been around as far as getting everybody focused. I’m talking about practice, the night before a game, game day," Gailey said.

Choice, who has 16 100-yard games in his career, scored on runs of 1 and 16 yards despite playing with a sore hamstring. It was Choice’s first action since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 23. He suffered the injury in the first half of the Oct. 20th game against Army and missed just one game before his return against the Blue Devils.

On several runs, Choice broke into the open field but had to run out of bounds as his leg appeared to bother him. Yet, his performance put him over the 3,000-yard mark for his three-year career.

"My knee felt perfect today," Choice said. "My hamstring’s a little sore and I have to work on that. I tried to go out there without a wrap on it and it got tight on me. But it was important for me to be on the field today."

Travis Bell kicked field goals of 40 and 33 yards in the first half for Georgia Tech (6-4, 3-4 ACC) to set a school record with 20 field goals.

Just two plays into the game, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas recovered a fumble in the end zone by D.J. Donley, who was hit near the goal line after catching a pass from Taylor Bennett to give Georgia Tech a 7-0 lead.

But Duke tied it as Choice fumbled on a hit by Greg Akinbiyi and cornerback Leon Wright returned it 24 yards for the score.

Duke (1-9, 0-7 ACC) led 10-7 on a 40-yard field goal by Nick Maggio midway through the first quarter, but the Yellow Jackets took the lead for good at 17-10 early in the second quarter on a 1-yard plunge by Bennett.

Bennett later hit wide receiver Correy Earls for a 38-yard score in the fourth quarter.

Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Eron Riley midway through the second quarter. Blue Devils’ running back Re’Quan Boyette scored on an 11-yard run after Duke blocked a punt in the third quarter.

But the Duke offense struggled all afternoon. The Blue Devils gained just 24 rushing yards on 28 attempts, Lewis was sacked eight times, and Duke was 2-of-16 on third down.

"When we’re in the position to make plays, we have to make those plays," Duke coach Ted Roof said. "When somebody pressures you, you have to make them pay. We didn’t do that today and it cost us."


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