Griffin, Gray shine for Georgia Tech’s defense


Griffin, Gray shine for Georgia Tech’s defense

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October 15, 2016 Atlanta - Georgia Southern running back Matt Breida (36) is taken down by Georgia Tech linebacker Chase Alford (left), Georgia Tech defensive end Rod Rook-Chungong (center) and Georgia Tech linebacker Brant Mitchell (51) in the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, October 15, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Georgia Tech safeties Corey Griffin and A.J. Gray set career highs for tackles and tackles for loss in Saturday’s 35-24 win over Georgia Southern at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Griffin finished with 10 tackles, including three for loss. His previous high for tackles was nine, set against Clemson on Sept. 22. It’s at least the third time this season that Griffin has a set a career-high in tackles, starting with the six he had in the opening win against Boston College.

“Corey made some big plays,” Tech (4-3) coach Paul Johnson said. “He made some nice tackles. He had a couple of third-down stops on stunts and blitzes.”

Gray finished with seven tackles, all solo, including three for loss. His previous high for tackles was six, set three times including in last week’s loss at Pittsburgh.

His biggest tackle Saturday may have come on an 11-yard sack of Favian Upshaw on fourth-and-5 at Tech’s 37-yard line on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half when the Yellow Jackets were leading 21-10.

Griffin said that defensive coordinator Ted Roof gave the safeties more freedom this week, partially because they were playing against an option offense in which the defenders can’t sit back and wait. Griffin said Roof called more safety blitzes than in previous games.

“Anytime a safety btliz is called we pin our ears back and get happy,” Griffin said.

Johnson and Roof said in the days before the game that they thought would see more from Gray this season. The sophomore said he was going to try to make more plays, and not assume that others would.

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