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December 2, 2009Georgia Tech is on pace to become the most prolific rushing offense in ACC history as they have already broken records for total rushing yards and touchdowns and are also on pace to break a 38 year old record for rushing yards per game. One of the biggest success stories, however, has been the play of wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. He currently leads the ACC with 89.8 receiving yards per game and if he finishes on top it could be only the fifth time in 40 years that both a team led the league in rushing and an individual on that team topped the league in receiving yards per game.
Thomas is also averaging 24.5 yards per reception, which would easily eclipse the ACC record of 22.0 yards per game set by Virginia's Herman Moore in 1990. With his 127 yard performance against the rival Bulldogs, Thomas became only the fifth player in Georgia Tech history to surpass the 1,000 yard threshold in one season. Even more incredibly, he is only 126 yards away from breaking Calvin Johnson's record for receiving yards in a single season with two games still remaining on the schedule.
He has achieved all of this while playing in one of the greatest rushing offenses in ACC history. Thomas expressed his feelings by saying, "I didn't think that I would ever be this close to getting the record. I just come out ever day and try to have my best game. I'm just trying to get better and better."
Thomas has worked hard to improve his game overall as he prepares himself for the next level. One of the few knocks on his game by NFL scouts is his speed, but Thomas put that to bed on a 76 yard touchdown run to open the second half scoring against Georgia. On the play, he took a quick flat pass against single coverage and beat the cornerback to the sidelines with a stiff arm. The he was off to the races untouched as he simply outran the safety to the end zone.
The receiver talked about what he has done to improve his skill set by remarking, "We worked on my speed a lot during the summer time. It was mostly my weight because I was a little heavy. I have cut a few pounds down to 229 so I am a little faster than last year."
Tech will look to rebound from a tough loss against Georgia, where they played poorly on defense for the majority of the game. Despite this, Tech still had a chance to win the game on their last drive but they were unable to convert. Thomas took the loss particularly hard after he dropped a potential first down on the last play of the game.
He commented, "I was trying to peek at the sidelines to see where I was and just didn't look the ball all the way in. I can't look back on that now because that was then. I just need to come out and try to play my best against Clemson."
Winning the ACC Championship has been the number one goal for the Jackets all season long. They will attempt to win the championship game for the first time since the league expanded to 12 teams in 2005. They appeared in the game once in 2006, but lost to Wake Forest by a score of 9-6 in a rainy, sloppy game. Their last ACC championship overall came in 1998 when they shared the title with Florida State and they haven't won the title outright since 1990.
They will be facing division rival Clemson for the second time this season. The Tigers will also come in hungry after losing to their in state rival, South Carolina. Clemson boasts one of the most talented defenses in the ACC and one of the best secondaries in the nation. They are anchored by strong safety DeAndre McDaniel, who leads the ACC and is second in the nation with eight interceptions.
Thomas looks forward to the challenge that lies ahead. "We have never won the ACC championship game and we will come out with a lot of energy," he said. "Clemson has one of the best defenses that we have faced this year. I like to play against the best because I want to see how good we are as a team and how good I am as a receiver."