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GA Tech Football

Jackets struggle for motivation

Chan Gailey Chan Gailey
Tashard Choice Tashard Choice
Calvin Johnson Calvin Johnson

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - No team like likes to finish the season with a loss. And certainly no one likes to wrap things up with a three-game skid.

That's what Georgia Tech is facing as it heads into Monday's Gator Bowl against West Virginia, coming off devastating losses to Georgia, its most bitter rival, and Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.

Both defeats were by a field goal, costing the Yellow Jackets a truly memorable season. Now, they're just trying to end it on a good note. The Georgia Tech offense is really trying to get focused. The unit struggled in the last two games, managing just one touchdown and four field goals.

The Yellow Jackets managed 188 yards against Georgia and 272 against Wake Forest, the sort of production that won't win many games. Since then, senior quarterback Reggie Ball has been declared academically ineligible, leaving play-calling duties to sophomore Taylor Bennett, who has started only one game in his two years with the team.

Bennett now shoulders the burden of trying to finish the season with a win. History favors the Yellow Jackets. They own the nation's second-best bowl game winning percentage and are one of just six schools to be playing in a bowl game for the 10th consecutive year.

The others are Florida State, Virginia Tech, Florida, Michigan and Georgia. Georgia Tech also has won two previous games with West Virginia, both of which came in bowl games (the 1997 Carquest and '54 Sugar).

Coach Chan Gailey has to make sure his team isn't thinking about two games that are a lot fresher in everyone's minds - especially when this is a return trip to Jacksonville. The ACC title game also was played in the north Florida city.

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