November 19, 2016, Athens: Georgia wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie catches a pass just short of the endzone setting up a Nick Chubb touchdown against Louisiana Lafeyette during the third quarter in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Athens. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Tech’s Paul Johnson: McKenzie is UGA’s X-factor

Isaiah McKenzie is the “X-factor” for Georgia in Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech, according to Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson.

“When he gets the ball in his hands…he’s got the ability to take it the distance,” Johnson said.

McKenzie, a junior who is a wide receiver and punt returner, leads the Bulldogs in all-purpose yards (925; 131 rush, 526 receiving and 268 returns), and is also the team’s leaving receiver (38).

He has returned five punts for touchdowns in his career, which is a school record and the third-most in SEC history. His six returns for touchdowns are tied for third-most in conference history.

Tech’s punt coverage team has a net average of 37.1 yards and 9.8 yards per return and has not allowed a touchdown this season. McKenzie averages 11.6 yards per return.

Tech punter Ryan Rodwell is coming off arguably his best game with a career-long 69-yard punt and a 48-yard punt that was downed at the 2-yard line. Rodwell is averaging 42.8 yards per punt this season.

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