Taylor Bennett threw a 42-yard touchdown pass on the first down of his first start for Georgia Tech. That was last season, and he has barely played since.
The sophomore will get his second start on a bigger stage when the Yellow Jackets play No. 13 West Virginia in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla., on Monday.
He's replacing four-year starter Reggie Ball, who was ruled academically ineligible. The bowl would've been the senior's 50th start, tying a school record.
"I'm just taking this like another game, where you prepare like I did during the season," Bennett said. "You've always got to be ready."
Bennett is 16-of-29 relieving Ball this season, with two TDs and one interception.
"You can see his arm strength, that's easy to see when you walk out on the practice field. You can see his understanding of the game, the way he handles himself," coach Chan Gailey said of Bennett. "But the intangibles, the way he studies the game, the way he handles himself with the team, with the offense. Those are things we know about, but we don't know about. That's going to be interesting to see."
Bennett's greatest asset is his primary receiver.
All-American Calvin Johnson won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver after catching 67 passes for 1,016 yards and 13 touchdowns. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Johnson towers over most defensive backs. And with a 40-inch vertical leap, he can jump over the rest.
"He's so tall. He's so physical. And he has that speed, too, to go with it," said Mountaineers cornerback Vaughn Rivers, who is the shortest member of the secondary at 5-9. "Calvin Johnson is a different receiver. He's going to present his own problems.
"He has the potential to get a 100-yard game against anybody he plays at this level. He's going to be our biggest matchup so far this season."
Pass defense has been the Mountaineers (10-2) biggest problem, allowing 236 passing yards per game to rank 100th in Division I-A.
Tashard Choice, the ACC's leading rusher, provides an option on the ground for the Yellow Jackets (9-4), who lost to rival Georgia and to Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game to end the regular season.
West Virginia's spread-option offense will be tough to keep up with.