June 13, 2008
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GT’s MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Are you ready for some football? We are. But not just new coach Paul Johnson’s option offense. How `bout some single-wing football, too? One-platoon, or two? Heisman and Alexander and, of course, the incomparable Bobby Dodd? Bobby Ross, O’Leary and the Fridge, and li’l Joe? Are you ready for great moments on Grant Field, milestones both in Bobby Dodd Stadium and triumphs on the road? The ’29 Rose Bowl? THE Game in Charlottesville? The ’99 overtime epic and other great wins over Georgia? Indeed, in the long, rich history of Georgia Tech football, it’s difficult to decide which games are the greatest. But we want to do just that. And we need your help.
Here’s the idea: Go on-line in the coming month, and vote. Help us pick Tech’s seven greatest football games. You make the calls, and this fall your choices will be unveiled one at a time, on the cover of the football programs for each home game. Starting with the Aug. 28 season opener against Jacksonville State in Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Each program will highlight another unforgettable game in Tech lore, concluding with the Nov. 20 home finale, the nationally-televised game against Miami. That game program will reveal Georgia Tech’s greatest game ever, as chosen by you, the fans.
Most of you already have your favorites. Here are just a few games to consider and savor:
The Cumberland Game. On Oct. 17, 1916, John Heisman’s team crushed Cumberland College 222-0 in the most lopsided and highest-scoring game in college football history.
The 1929 Rose Bowl, where Cal’s Roy Riegels ran the wrong way, Tech won 8-7 and claimed its second national championship.
Oct. 3, 1942, when Tech finally won at Notre Dame for the first time in eight tries, 13-6. Freshman phenom Clint Castleberry threw a touchdown pass in his only season on The Flats, before dying while piloting a plane during World War II.
Nov. 26, 1949: Georgia Tech 7, Georgia 6, the Grant Field victory that started “The Drought,” Bobby Dodd’s eight-year mastery of Georgia.
Jan. 1, 1952: Tech 17, Baylor 14. Pepper Rodgers’ last-second field goal gave the Jackets an Orange Bowl comeback win over Baylor and an 11-0-1 season.
Nov. 15, 1952: Tech 7, Alabama 3. In the most exciting game, at that time, in Tech annals, Jakie Rudolph’s “$125,000 tackle” of Bobby Marlow helped preserve the victory, earned Tech a Sugar Bowl bid (and the $125,000 payout) but also preserved the Jackets’ 12-0 season and the Institute’s third national title.
Nov. 17, 1962: Tech 7, Alabama 6. Another epic Grant Field win over Alabama, one Dodd called “my greatest victory.” Mike McNames scored Tech’s only touchdown and made a game-saving tackle to upset Bear Bryant’s unbeaten, No. 1 defending national champs.
Dec. 18, 1972: Tech 31, Iowa State 30, in the Liberty Bowl. In Memphis, backup quarerback Jim Stevens _ playing for the suspended Eddie McAshan _ threw for 157 yards and 3 TDs and was named the MVP.
Nov. 6, 1976: Tech 23, Notre Dame 14. In the “Passless Upset,” the Jackets _ with freshman QB Gary Lanier running Pepper Rodgers’ option to perfection _ didn’t throw a pass in shocking the Irish.
Nov. 11, 1978: Tech 42, Air Force 21. On the frozen tundra in Colorado Springs, Eddie Lee Ivery ran wild for 356 yards, breaking the NCAA single-game rushing record.
Nov. 8, 1980: Tech 3, Notre Dame 3. Bill Curry’s first team as head coach of the Jackets stunned the unbeaten, No. 1 Irish and nearly beat them before a late, tying field goal.
Dec. 1, 1984: Tech 35, Georgia 18. In Athens, this was Curry’s turnaround game for the program, one that ended a six-game losing streak to UGA.
Dec. 31, 1985: Tech 17, Michigan State 14. In the All-American Bowl in Legion Field, Tech prevailed behind its great Black Watch defense and emergency starting QB Todd Rampley.
Dec. 2, 1989: Tech 33, Georgia 22. Jerry Mays ran for 207 yards to help complete a remarkable 7-4 Tech turnaround after an 0-3 start.
Oct. 13, 1990: Tech 21, Clemson. In one of the many thrilling, physical battles in this rivalry, this stamped Tech as a legitimate national title contender.
Nov. 3, 1990: Tech 41, Virginia 38. In Charlottesville, in likely the most significant victory in Tech annals, the Jackets staged a phenomenal comeback against No. 1 Virginia’s potent offense. Shawn Jones and William Bell led the resurgence, and Scott Sisson’s field goal with 7 seconds left stunned UVA and set off a wild celebration back on The Flats.
Jan. 1, 1991: Tech 45, Nebraska 21. In the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Tech toyed with the Huskers. Behind Jones and Bell once again, the Jackets completed an 11-0-1 season and won the UPI Coaches National Championship the next day by one point in the final poll.
Oct. 17, 1998: Tech 41, Virginia 38. In another 41-38 thriller, this one in Atlanta, Dez White caught six passes for a school-record 243 yards _ the last 54 coming on the game-winning catch to upset No. 6 UVa.
Nov. 28, 1998: Tech 21, Georgia 19, in Athens. Brad Chambers’ 35-yard field goal in the final seconds ended a seven-game losing streak to UGA.
Jan. 1, 1999: Tech 35, Notre Dame 28. In the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, White and Joe Hamilton (who threw three TD passes and caught one himself) were co-MVPs, and gave Tech its first 10-win season since 1990 and a final ranking of No. 9.
Nov. 27, 1999: Tech 51, Georgia 48, in overtime. In the most thrilling game in Bobby Dodd Stadium annals, Joe Hamilton’s last home game was triumphant. Luke Manget’s second-chance, OT field goal sent Tech fans into euphoria. Many of them carried Hamilton _ who was second in the Heisman Trophy voting that season _ on their shoulders and around the stadium.
Sept. 6, 2003: Tech 17, Auburn 3. In the first game in newly-expanded and renovated Bobby Dodd Stadium, a sellout crowd of 55,000 roared as freshman QB Reggie Ball passed for one touchdown and set up two other scores. The crowd later stormed the field and tore down the goal posts.
Jan. 4, 2004: Tech 52, Tulsa 10. In the Humanitarian Bowl in frigid Boise, Idaho, P.J. Daniels ran for an NCAA bowl-record 307 yards and four touchdowns _ despite playing little in the fourth quarter.
Sept. 4, 2004: Tech 28, Clemson 24. In another spine tingler against the Tigers, this one in Death Valley, freshman and eventual ACC Rookie of the Year Calvin Johnson caught two of his three TD receptions in the final 1:50 _ the game-winner from Ball with five seconds left.
Nov. 11, 2005: Tech 14, Miami 10. In an upset of the No. 3 Hurricanes, Tashard Choice played for the injured Daniels and was superb. As was the Tech’s resolute defense.
Sept. 30, 2006: Tech 38, Virginia Tech 27. A year after losing 51-7 in Blacksburg, Tech returned, got a quick start and two first-quarter TD catches from Johnson to win, get revenge and seize control of the ACC’s Coastal Division.