ORLANDO, Fla. -- Maybe Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey will ease up on Reggie Ball now.
Ball threw two touchdown passes, ran for another score, and led the Yellow Jackets to a 51-14 victory over Syracuse in the Champs Sports Bowl last night.
Gailey has been critical of his sophomore quarterback all season, and he reiterated this week that Ball will have to win back the starting job next spring.
Ball certainly stated his case against the Orange, finishing 12 of 19 for 207 yards with an interception, and had 38 yards rushing.
He also got plenty of help. P.J. Daniels ran 17 times for 119 yards and two scores, Calvin Johnson set a school record for touchdowns by a freshman with his seventh, and the defense set the tone by returning an interception for a touchdown on the second play of the game. The unit added a safety with 1:42 to play.
Even special teams played a role, blocking a punt in the first quarter that the Yellow Jackets (7-5) converted into a touchdown.
The loss was the worst in a bowl game for Syracuse (6-6) since the 1953 Orange Bowl, a 61-6 drubbing by Alabama.
The rout no doubt will bring more questions about the future of embattled coach Paul Pasqualoni. Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor gave Pasqualoni a vote of confidence earlier this month, saying he would be retained for a 15th season. But the school also named longtime Southern California administrator Daryl Gross as athletic director last week.
Gross, who replaces Pasqualoni supporter Jake Crouthamel, said he will evaluate the athletic department after he completes his move in late January.