McIntyre, Bulldogs sting Yellow Jackets
True freshmen aren’t supposed to start bowl games. But that was no excuse for ESPN2 announcers to give Garrett McIntyre the respect usually afforded first-year college football players on Tuesday in San Jose.
Starting for the first time in the Silicon Valley Classic, the former South Tahoe High linebacker made two tackles and played a role in two of Fresno State’s six interceptions as the Bulldogs upset Georgia Tech 30-21.
With McIntyre drawing attention to himself with some nice plays, ESPN2’s broadcast team made the mistake of repeatedly referring to him as “Guy,” the onetime offensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers.
“I heard about it. My family called me,” McIntyre said. “They’ll mess it up somehow. I guess they didn’t have my name or something.”
On Georgia Tech’s first offensive series, McIntyre and teammate Jason Stewart impeded A.J. Suggs’ pass, with Stewart making the interception. Late in the second quarter, McIntyre applied pressure to Suggs before Suggs’ pass was picked off by Dee Meza and returned 48 yards for a score.
“I think I did pretty good,” McIntyre said. “I could have gotten in a few sacks, but I got a few hurry-ups.”
McIntyre was inserted into the starting lineup when star defensive player Nick Burley was ruled academically ineligible for the bowl game.
“I didn’t really expect this. I got late notice and just stepped up and played,” McIntyre said.
The Bulldogs also were without four other starters, but the decisive underdogs overcame a one-point deficit after three periods to win their first bowl game in 10 years.
“We were down six guys and they figured they’d beat us pretty easily, but we played hard,” McIntyre said. “Everybody was together and the defense was making plays and playing Bulldog football.”
McIntyre is the first South Shore football player to participate in a bowl game since Whittell High grad Mike Crawford was voted the defensive player of the game in Nevada’s 18-15 victory over Ball State in the 1996 Las Vegas Bowl.
A walk-on when the season began in August, McIntyre, now on scholarship, hopes to gain a starting role next season.
“I think I can do it. I just have to work hard,” said the All-Western Athletic Conference Freshman Team selection.
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