Georgia Tech shooting for first road win when it visits Duke

ATLANTA (AP) — No longer able to shoot for an ACC championship, Georgia Tech has to refocus on more modest goals.This week's target is six wins to become bowl eligible. To reach that goal, Georgia Tech must win away from home for the first time this season."We've got a lot to play for," coach Paul Johnson said Tuesday of Saturday's game at Duke. "We've got a lot on the line. We've got a chance to get win number six, which is huge in a season when you only play 11 games."Georgia Tech's scheduled game at Central Florida on Sept. 16 was canceled by weather. The school was unable to schedule a replacement game on its open date on Oct. 7. It has also considered scheduling a 12th game on Dec. 2, when the ACC championship game will be played."I don't think it's going to happen," Johnson said. "I don't know. We can't find anybody who seems to want to play."The Yellow Jackets (5-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) are 5-0 at home. Including a season-opening loss to Tennessee in a neutral site, Georgia Tech is 0-4 away from Bobby Dodd Stadium.Georgia Tech's average margin of defeat in those four games is only five points. In three of the four losses, the games were decided in the final 90 seconds or in overtime. Three losses — to Tennessee, Miami and Clemson — came against ranked teams.The Yellow Jackets finally won a close game against a ranked team by beating then-No. 17 Virginia Tech 28-22 last week.The win over Virginia Tech was crucial to the Yellow Jackets' efforts to avoid missing a bowl bid for the second time in three years."We've been through it all," quarterback TaQuon said Monday. "We've been through a 3-9 season (in 2015). We've been through a 9-4 season (in 2016) and the guys above me have been through an Orange Bowl season (in 2014). We've all pretty much been here together through the ups and downs so we're pretty close as a group."Marshall threw scoring passes of 80 yards to Ricky Jeune and 60 yards to Brad Stewart for his only two completions Continue Reading

QB Aaron Murray throws four TDs, leads No. 9 Georgia past No. 6 LSU

ATHENS, Ga. — Two out of three ain’t bad. Georgia is certainly not complaining. Aaron Murray threw four touchdown passes, including a 25-yarder to Justin Scott-Wesley with 1:47 remaining, and the No. 9 Bulldogs rallied to beat No. 6 LSU 44-41 in a thrilling game between Southeastern Conference powerhouses Saturday. The Bulldogs (3-1, 2-0 SEC) completed their opening-month run through a gauntlet of top teams with a victory that propelled them back into the thick of the national championship race. “We’ve played some hard teams,” Scott-Wesley said. “It just shows we’re a great team. We can handle anything anybody throws at us.” Georgia was only the fourth team since the BCS began in 1998 to face three top 10 teams in the first four games of a season. The Bulldogs opened with a 38-35 non-conference loss to Clemson, but came back to beat South Carolina 41-30 and now the Tigers. “We’ve grown up a lot this past month,” Murray said. “I think everyone in the nation knows what Georgia football is about now. We’re a tough group of guys. We’re fighters.” About 10 minutes after the game, the team ran back on the field to celebrate with their fans along the famed hedges at Sanford Stadium. Coach Mark Richt gave his wife a big kiss and hug. “I’m just honored to be a part of something like that,” Richt said. Now, the Bulldogs are well-positioned to make a run for their third straight SEC East title and trip to the conference championship game. “We’re definitely happy,” Murray said. “If had to lose one of these games, obviously Clemson was the one, just because they’re in the ACC. Not saying we wanted to lose. Don’t get me wrong. But this is huge.” LSU (4-1, 1-1) got a career-best 372 yards passing from former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger in his return to Athens, and the Tigers went ahead Continue Reading

College Football Countdown | No. 125: Georgia State

The third loss to a Football Championship Subdivision program in five weeks made it official: Georgia State was not quite ready for the leap to college football's highest level.Not to suggest that GSU was even ready for the FCS. The Panthers went 1-10 in 2012, the program's third season of overall existence and second year on the FCS ranks, losing nine games by 21 or more points and setting a low bar for its permanent move to the Sun Belt Conference. Dating back to the start of 2012, GSU has gone 1-12 against the FCS and 0-10 against the FBS.And this comes as no surprise. Unlike other newly minted Football Bowl Subdivision programs – like South Alabama, Texas State, UTSA and Western Kentucky – GSU seemed built on the ricketiest of foundations, without the sort of steady development and careful recruiting needed to quickly transform from nothingness to FCS to competitiveness on the tallest stage. SPRING FOOTBALL: Sun BeltHence the school's decision to hire ex-Indiana State coach Trent Miles, a program-builder of the strongest order. Think GSU had it rough? Miles took over an Indiana State program mired in a 1-31 stretch – one that played in the rowdiest league in the FCS – and after two down years had the Sycamores on the road to three winning seasons in a row.GSU was bad; ISU was worse. So it's with patience and understanding that Georgia State hired Miles, knowing it would get worse before it got better, knowing that a program without any history could happily deal with the price tag of a humbling FBS debut. Additional patience will be needed in 2014.LAST YEAR'S PREDICTION: Well, it's not going to be easy. What should you expect? Losses, many of 'em, and a last-place finish in the nation's weakest league. You should also expect improvement as the year wears on and plenty of signals that Georgia State hired the right man to get this program moving forward.2013 RECAP:In a nutshell: Positives – and negatives, of course – can be Continue Reading

Georgia bride dies hours after wedding in car crash with newlywed husband – who could be charged

A Georgia groom could face charges for causing the car crash that killed his newlywed bride as the couple drove from their wedding reception on Sunday, officials said. Ryan Quinton, 27, had just exchanged vows with 25-year-old Kali Dobson hours before he lost control of his Pontiac Firebird, which launched off a highway and overturned in the town of Ball Ground, the Marietta Daily Journal reported. Dobson, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the car — which landed on her after it flipped down an embankment. She died before emergency workers could be called to the scene. Quinton, who later told police he spun out of control when he swerved to avoid a dog in the road, staggered away from the scene and flagged down a bystander for help. “His shirt was all torn up and he was bleeding,” the witness, Chris Thomas, told WSBTV. “He had blood all over his face and blood was coming out of his hands and stuff and just looked bad. And it scared me to death.” Thomas said he called 911 while trying to comfort the wailing groom, who desperately wanted to save his wife. “There was nothing that could be done,” Thomas recalled. “The car was on top of her. You couldn’t even see her.” Quinton was taken to Northside Hospital-Cherokee in Canton, where he was still recovering from his injuries Tuesday. Franka Young, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Public Safety, told the Marietta Daily Journal that investigators took blood from Quinton to check if alcohol was a contributing factor. "The crash is still under investigation," Young said. "Charges are pending." The couple reportedly married earlier in the day at the Wheeler House on Gilmer Ferry Road. The venue also hosted their reception. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dobson and Quinton families,” the Continue Reading

Georgia boy saves mom’s life following car crash

A Georgia mother does not remember nearly losing her life, but her young son will never forget saving it. Lisa Polk's 11-year-old offspring Charlie acted with the composure of someone twice his age following their car accident last month in Cumming, Ga. Charlie's mother was driving him to his brother's soccer game when their jeep veered off a winding road and skidded down a 30-foot embankment. They vehicle ended up in a creek, upside-down. Young Charlie knew he must escape the vehicle to find help for his badly injured mother, who was in danger of drowning. “I tried to look for a hole and I crawled out,” Charlie told WXIA in Georgia on Tuesday. “When I looked down I saw my legs had a bunch of blood all over them and I crawled and got help.” After climbing up the embankment, Charlie was able to find help. A passerby worked to keep Lisa Polk's head above water until more assistance arrived. A medical helicopter soon took her to the hospital. Lisa Polk suffered multiple broken bones, but does not remember the accident. "I don't remember going off the road, I don't remember being in a helicopter, nothing," she said. She does know one thing - her son is quite special. “For him to do that and just be 11 years old,” she told WXIA. “He is awesome.” [email protected] USING MOBILE? CLICK FOR VIDEO Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Paul Johnson continues campaign for Georgia Tech, ACC, and to troll the SEC

ATLANTA — It was quintessential Paul Johnson to note after his team just handled Kentucky in the TaxSlayer Bowl last New Year’s Eve that Georgia Tech had finished the season 3-0 against the SEC East. Just like Johnson couldn’t pass up an opportunity, in the euphoria of his team dismantling Mississippi State a couple years earlier in the Orange Bowl, to say, “And for at least a week or two we don’t have to hear about the SEC.”Johnson, who just completed his 10th spring at Georgia Tech, has good reason to relish those moments. Surrounded by SEC worshipers, in a sports market where Georgia Tech football struggles to pull attention away from three pro teams, he can’t help himself from tweaking those who have judged his program harshly against a rival in Athens that has a bigger fan base, more financial resources and richer tradition.“We’ve gotten tweaked so much since I’ve been here the other way,” Johnson told USA TODAY Sports. “When you get your chance, you better take advantage of it.”Whether Georgia Tech can continue to take advantage is, once again, among the interesting questions of the college football offseason. Perhaps more than any other program in the country, the Yellow Jackets have exceeded expectations when they’ve been written off and flopped when they were supposed to contend.Its hard to tell what that portends for 2017 in a jumbled ACC Coastal, as Georgia Tech brings back a lot of key pieces at running back, offensive line and in the secondary from a team that won six of its last seven games with impressive road victories at Virginia Tech and Georgia. On the other hand, the Yellow Jackets will be breaking in a new quarterback following Justin Thomas, who was arguably the most talented player to ever run his offense. Replacing him might not be simple.“When you lose a three-year starter, you lose a ton of experience and he wasn’t going to get rattled,” Continue Reading

Rough road ahead: Residents cope with U.S. 34 construction

Businesses that cling to the sides of the Big Thompson Canyon and line the streets of touristy Estes Park are bracing for the impacts of the eight-month closure of U.S. Highway 34, a long-term solution that might do as much financial damage as the physical damage unleashed by the 2013 flood.At least business owners this time knew it was coming.The flood was devastating in its own right. But Kristi Lehnert, owner of the lower canyon business Colorado Cherry Co. in the can't-miss-bright-red-roof store, said she’s been bracing for months for the road construction that started Oct. 17 and will hopefully be completed before Memorial Day in late May.When the 2013 torrent took nine lives, swept away other canyon businesses and dealt more than $2 billion in damage, the company remained standing.“This stinking store was an island,” Lehnert said. “We were just sitting here. There wasn’t a drop of water in the store.”Despite the pain of road construction, she knows she’s one of the lucky ones. Other businesses were wiped off the map.RELATED:  How U.S. 34 rebuild will change the Big ThompsonBut heading into a holiday season in which she’d normally sell the bulk of her homemade pies, jams and ciders, she’s facing the possibility that few will bother finding the little store tucked among the canyon walls off U.S. 34.The closure and subsequent phases of construction will cost $250 million in state and federal funds and bring permanent repairs to the embattled road that funnels most of the more than 4 million annual visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park.It  might feel like a minor inconvenience for Fort Collins residents bound for the shops of Estes Park and views of Rocky Mountain National Park. But the pain is much more real and persistent for the people who live and work in and beyond the canyon.Although the road is open past the Colorado Cherry Co. — only a 3-mile section is closed Continue Reading

Alabama pulls stunner between hedges, 41-30 over Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. - Forget the blackout. This was an early knockout.John Parker Wilson's accurate passing, No. 8 Alabama raced to a stunning 31-point lead by halftime against self-destructing Georgia and held on to beat the third-ranked Bulldogs 41-30 Saturday night, establishing Nick Saban's team as a national championship contender in his second season. Georgia (4-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) became the third team in the top four to fall on a devastating week for ranked teams, joining No. 1 USC and No. 4 Florida in the loss column. Alabama (5-0, 2-0) is poised to move up at least three or four spots when the new poll comes out Sunday, and the Tide certainly looked as impressive as anyone all year in winning decisively on the road against a team that started the season at the top of the heap. Wilson went 13-of-16 passing for 205 yards and a touchdown, while Glenn Coffee ran for two scores in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the final score. Georgia scored two touchdowns in the waning minutes. Not even the most optimistic Alabama fan could have expected Saban, who won a national championship at LSU, to turn the Tide so quickly. This again looks like a program more in keeping with the tradition of Bear Bryant, not Saban predecessor Mike Shula. Looking for a motivational edge, Georgia came out wearing black jerseys, and most of its fans at 92,000-seat Sanford Stadium also took part in the "blackout." But the biggest cheers came from the white-clad Alabamians sprinkled throughout the massive stands. Georgia showed some disturbing tendencies even while winning its first four games, and those sure came back to bite the Bulldogs. They were flagged twice in the opening half for roughing the passer, crucial but familiar mistakes for a team that already was the most penalized in the SEC. Also, an offensive line featuring two freshman and two sophomores was no match for Alabama's massive front led by 365-pound Terrence Cody. Knowshon Moreno got only nine Continue Reading

‘Cloudy’ execution drugs delays Georgia execution of Kelly Gissendaner, who plotted to kill husband

The only woman on Georgia's death row got another reprieve Monday night as state prison officials said there was a problem with "cloudy" injection drugs. Kelly Gissendaner, 46, was supposed to be put to death by lethal injection last week for the 1997 murder of her husband. But bad weather forced the execution to be delayed. The latest postponement came thanks to legal wrangling by her attorney as the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed last-minute arguments seeking a stay coupled with a problem with the lethal execution cocktail. The killer wife orchestrated a brutal slaying, enlisting her boyfriend at the time to kidnap, bludgeon and stab Douglas Gissendaner while she went out dancing with her girlfriends. She and ex-lover Gregory Owen torched her husband’s car when it was over, leaving the dead man’s corpse in the woods to be eaten by animals. Gissendaner chose murder over divorce, because she hoped to collect insurance money in her husband’s death. A jury convicted Gissendaner of murder in 1998. Owen cut a deal in exchange for testifying against his former girlfriend. He’s serving a 25-year sentence. Gissendaner exhausted all her appeals and lost a bid for clemency a week before her death when the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles turned down her request. She had been scheduled to die on Feb. 25, but a rare southern snowstorm bought her five more days. Her lawyers had mounted an 11th-hour effort to save her life, enlisting a prison chaplain to attest to her life as a changed woman who helped other inmates and prison staff. “The spiritual transformation and depth of faith that Ms. Gissendaner demonstrates and practices is a deep and sincere expression of a personal relationship with God,” prison chaplain Susan Bishop wrote. “It is not a superficial religious experience.” Two of her three kids also begged the court to show mercy. “The impact of Continue Reading

A long road to hope: Hard upbringing molded Jets draft pick Lorenzo Mauldin into a man

Minutes after being drafted by the Jets, Lorenzo Mauldin was on the phone, crying. He was talking to reporters after being picked in the third round, and while it’s not unusual for players to be overjoyed when the culmination of their work results in a draft selection, his reaction was different. It was overwhelming, raw emotion. And knowing the journey the outside linebacker from Louisville has gone through, it’s easy to see why. Making it to the NFL is a long shot for any young football player, but few draft picks faced as harsh odds as Mauldin. “I’m still speechless,” Mauldin said, days later. RELATED: JETS DRAFT PICKS CAN PROVE THEY'RE PART OF GANG GREEN Mauldin is originally from Sacramento, Calif., but spent much of his time growing up in Georgia. With both his parents in and out of prison, Mauldin bounced from foster home to foster home to foster home. So many homes that he doesn’t quite remember the exact number, though he thinks it was 12 or 13. “It was pretty rough,” he said. “What he has shared with me is that is that he had good and bad experiences,” said Bart Hester, a mentor of Mauldin’s. “There were times where he felt like some of the foster parents took him in because the state pays them a stipend and were in it, for a lack of a better word, for the money.” Mauldin eventually found his way to Monique Gooden’s home and lived with Gooden twice, the first time when he was 13. Mauldin still maintains a strong relationship with Gooden. “He came from a family of violence. Fighting ... that’s all they knew,” Gooden recalled. “When he and his brother got to me all they did was fight. He had a very short fuse. If anybody said anything to him, he would go off. His temper is what made him bounce around from home to home.” But Gooden said she saw past Mauldin’s temper and knew that he wanted to break out of his Continue Reading