Nov. 18, 2001
ATLANTA – Despite growing up in Florida, Georgia Tech senior quarterback George Godsey learned quickly that there are other rivalries out there besides those in the Sunshine State. Specifically, as a freshman he learned of a pretty famous one between the Jackets and the Dogs.
“I’m from Florida, and I didn’t know much about the Tech-Georgia rivalry until my first year,” says Godsey, a Tampa native. “I tell you what, both teams hate each other, and both teams are going to have the best game plans ready for the opposing side. As a college football fan, if you’re not watching this, and if you’re not ready to play from a player’s standpoint, then I don’t know what’s going on. This is a game when all the chips are on the line for the state’s pride.”
With a record-setting career winding to a close, Godsey, an all-ACC and ACC Offensive Player of the Year candidate, is anxious to try to extend the Yellow Jackets’ streak of victories over the rival Bulldogs to four. A year ago, he led Tech to a win in Athens with 222 yards passing and a touchdown, as well as a 33-yard touchdown run.
“If you can’t get ready for the Georgia Bulldogs, then I don’t want you going to war with me,” says Godsey. “I don’t want you out on the field and neither would the coaches.”
And Godsey would know, given that he is considered an extension of the Tech coaching staff on the field. “He’s watches a ton of film. He takes film home and he’s like a coach on the field,” says Jacket head coach George O’Leary of his veteran signal caller. “He knows exactly what’s going on. Very rarely does he put the ball where it’s not supposed to go.”
In fact, Godsey, who already owns a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering, could be called a model of efficiency. This season he has completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,631 yards and 17 touchdowns to rank 17th nationally in pass efficiency. Career-wise, Godsey is rated as the third-most efficient quarterback in ACC history, trailing only Florida State’s Chris Weinke and former Tech teammate Joe Hamilton.
In just 22 games as a starter for the Jackets, in which he has posted a 16-6 record, he has thrown for 40 scores and ran for six more, against just 15 interceptions. He currently ranks third in the Tech record book in career passing yards (5,683), career touchdown passes (40), career pass completions (440), career total offense (5,678) and career touchdown responsibility (46).
Not bad for a player who had only completed 13 of 32 passes for 146 yards entering the 2000 season. But Godsey got a taste of the Tech-Georgia rivalry in 1999 as a holder. When a Tech field goal attempt on third down in overtime when awry, Godsey recovered the ball, allowing a second attempt that gave the Jackets their second consecutive win over Georgia.
Godsey enters this game coming off of one of the more impressive two-game stretches of his career. In the Yellow Jackets’ 39-38 loss to Virginia on November 10, he eclipsed his own school records with 39 completions for 486 yards. In the fourth quarter of that contest, he was 15-for-18 for 237 yards on three 80-yard touchdown drives. Last Saturday, in the 38-33 win over Wake Forest, the senior added 267 yards passing and three scores. These numbers are even more impressive given the fact that leading receiver Kelly Campbell has been out two games with an ankle injury. Godsey’s former high school teammate Will Glover has stepped in with back-to-back 100-yard games.
This Saturday’s game, the 96th meeting between Tech and UGA, will mark the final home contest for Godsey. Godsey’s parents, who usually have to split game day duties between Tech contests and his brother Gary’s games at Notre Dame, will both be in attendance. But the veteran will not let his emotions get the best of him. That can wait until postgame.
“I’m going to savor it, but you can’t think about that,” says Godsey on his final game. “There’s a lot going on and maybe afterwards I might feel something special. But the crowd will be excited and I’m going to be happy to be playing out there.”