ATLANTA - Georgia Tech's Calvin Booker endured nearly five full seasons before making his first career start at quarterback.
Was the long wait worth the end result for the former Auburn transfer?
'I'd give it a D across the board,' Booker said. 'The only reason it's not an F is because we won, thanks to the defense.'
Derrick Morgan tipped a 43-yard field goal attempt by Gardner-Webb's Ryan Gates with three seconds left, helping Georgia Tech squeak out an unexpectedly difficult 10-7 victory on Saturday over an FCS opponent.
'I was able to get a piece of it,' Morgan said. 'I didn't know what happened, but I heard the crowd cheering so I knew it was something good.'
Despite boasting a ground game that ranked fifth in the nation, the Yellow Jackets (5-1) rushed for just 79 yards, nearly 210 under their average as third-string quarterback Booker struggled with his timing and suffered from terrible protections in coach Paul Johnson's triple-option attack.
Starter Josh Nesbitt was in uniform, but took no snaps for the second straight game because of a strained hamstring. Second-string quarterback Jaybo Shaw, who passed for 230 yards in Georgia Tech's 27-0 win over Duke last week, did not dress after suffering a concussion against the Blue Devils.
At 6-foot-4, 234 pounds, Booker was hardly a good fit in the Jackets' first year of Johnson's triple-option.
'There were a lot of times Calvin didn't have a chance,' the coach said. 'It was a comedy of errors, really. It looked like a poorly prepared, poorly coached football team out there.'
Booker, a lumbering quarterback ran a team-high 19 times for just 35 yards, and his difficulty pitching on the perimeter seemed to affect the timing of Jonathan Dwyer, who had only 27 yards on 16 carries despite leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 109.6 average.
And Booker was unable to make up for his problems in the running game by passing. He went 3-for-11 for 120 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Early in the second quarter, Dwyer caught a ball in the left flats that he ran untouched for a 79-yard TD.