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Jackets answer Gailey's call

POSTED: November 16, 2007 5:03 a.m.
ATLANTA — Georgia Tech answered Chan Gailey’s call for a strong start to a game.

Now for the part about a strong finish to a season.

Georgia Tech, which has struggled early in afternoon games this season, scored 27 points in the first half of Saturday’s 41-24 win over Duke.

The victory puts Georgia Tech (6-4 overall, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) in position for its 13th straight season of finishing .500 or better in the league if its beats North Carolina this week. It is the longest active streak of non-losing conference records in the ACC.

The Yellow Jackets are bowl-eligible for the 11th consecutive season, but the streak of finishing at least .500 in ACC games may be more impressive.

Gailey stopped short of saying he was most proud of the 13-year streak.

"I think if you start getting too much into pride you get in trouble," Gailey said Sunday.

Gailey said the streak will be emphasized this week.

"It’s something we will talk about," he said. "We want to make sure we keep that going."

The streak began in 1995, George O’Leary’s first season as head coach. A win over North Carolina would give Georgia Tech its sixth .500 conference finish in the 13-year span.

Gailey said he also will talk to his players about the impact the final two regular-season games against North Carolina and Georgia will have on the Yellow Jackets’ bowl future. Both games will be played at Tech.

If Tech wins its last two games it could be considered for an attractive bowl bid. At 6-6, there would be no bowl guarantees.

"You don’t have any idea," said Gailey of Tech’s bowl outlook. "You hate to say there’s two games left and that’s a lot of football, but really a lot of things can happen in these next two weeks."

One more win would give Tech its 11th straight winning season.

Gailey said several players, including tailback Tashard Choice, will be limited in practice this week by injuries.

Choice returned after missing one game with a knee injury.

The senior ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns despite being slowed by a nagging hamstring injury that was a factor before he hurt his knee.

Choice had to run out of bounds at the end of a 48-yard run in the first quarter when he felt tightness in the hamstring.

"My knee felt perfect today," Choice said Saturday. "My hamstring is a little sore and I have to work on that."

With everyone watching Choice’s knee in his return to practice last week, Gailey said there was no indication the hamstring could still be a concern.

"No, none," Gailey said.

Tech was without receiver Greg Smith due to an injury. Another receiver, Demaryius Thomas, is trying to play through a thumb injury.

"We’ve got several guys we’ll have to limit in practice to give them the best chance to be healthy come game-day," Gailey said.

Gailey said Thomas has been hurt "a week or two." He said he was told by Tech’s medical staff on Sunday that Smith should play against North Carolina.



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