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Georgia Tech/Central Florida Pre-Game Notes

#12-13 GEORGIA TECH (1-1) vs. Central Florida (0-2)
Sept. 18, 1999 – 7 p.m.
Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field – Atlanta, Ga.

Now in its 107th season of intercollegiate football, Georgia Tech has an all-time record of 585-398-43 (.591). Entering the 1999 season, Tech ranked 20th among Division I-A teams in all-time victories.

Now in his fifth full season as Georgia Tech’s head coach, George O’Leary was officially named the Institute’s 10th head coach on Nov. 28, 1994, three weeks after being elevated from defensive coordinator to interim head coach.

The 1998 Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, O’Leary originally joined the Tech staff in 1987 and spent five years as defensive coordinator under former head coach Bobby Ross. He then coached two seasons (1992-93) under Ross with the NFL’s San Diego Chargers before returning to Tech as defensive coordinator in January of 1994.

A 30-year veteran of professional, collegiate and high school coaching, O’Leary has a record of 29-22 (.569), including a 21-15 (.583) mark in ACC games.

Georgia Tech had its six-game winning streak halted last week by Florida State, but the Yellow Jackets have won 11 of their last 13 games, with both losses coming at the hands of the Seminoles.

Tech has won 14 of its last 18 games, dating back to the 1997 season.

Georgia Tech University? It sounds official, but it’s incorrect. Georgia Institute of Technology is the official name, but Georgia Tech works just fine. Georgia Tech is one of only five schools in NCAA Division I-A that do not have the word University in their official title. The others are Army, Navy, Air Force and Boston College.

Georgia Tech and the University of Central Florida have met just once before, with Tech taking a 27-20 victory on Oct. 26, 1996 at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton, then a freshmen, missed the game with a knee sprain, but tailback Charlie Rogers scored three touchdowns, including a 96-yard scoring pass from Brandon Shaw that is the longest play from scrimmage in Tech history.

Joe Hamilton passed for 387 yards and accounted for five touchdowns as Georgia Tech fell, 41-35, to top-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee. Hamilton’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Kelly Campbell brought the Jackets within six points with 1:35 to play, but FSU recovered the ensuing onsides kick to preserve the win.

Tech piled up 501 yards of offense on the Seminoles’ vaunted defense, the most yards by an ACC team since FSU joined the league in 1992. Tech’s 35 points equals the high by an ACC opponent against the Seminoles; NC State lost 48-35 in 1997 in Tallahassee.

Georgia Tech’s No. 11 ranking in the preseason AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches’ polls was the Yellow Jackets’ highest preseason ranking since 1991. Following the 1990 national championship, Tech entered 1991 ranked sixth by USA Today and eighth by AP.

Georgia Tech’s defensive ends and special teams coach, Danny Crossman should be very familiar with this week’s opponent. Crossman joined the Tech staff this season after two years as the defensive backs and special teams coach at Central Florida.

The Knights also have a face that is familiar to Tech in starting linebacker Edwin Ferguson, who transferred to Central Florida from Georgia Tech prior to the 1997 season.

Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton is this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Back of the Week after the most productive game of his career, and one of the top efforts in school history, in Tech’s hard-fought, 41-35 defeat at top-ranked Florida State. Hamilton completed 22 of 25 passes for 387 yards and four touchdowns, all career highs. He also scored on a 19-yard run for 405 yards of total offense, another a career best.

Hamilton, who completed his final 15 passes and has not thrown an interception in two games this season, tossed touchdowns of 80, 56, 22 and 11 yards. His 80-yard strike to Dez White is the longest completion of his career, while his 22-yard scoring pass to Kelly Campbell brought the Jackets to within a touchdown with 1:35 left.

Hamilton’s passing and total offense yards are the second-best single-game figures in Tech history, bettered only by Darrell Gast, who had 416 yards passing and 412 yards of total offense in a 1987 loss to Duke. His four touchdown passes is one shy of Eddie McAshan’s school-record of five, set in 1972 vs. Rice, while his five TDR ties McAshan’s Tech standard.

Quarterback Joe Hamilton LEADS THE NATION in passing efficiency with a rating of 233.3, far ahead of second place Tee Martin of Tennessee (203.3). In two games he has completed 34 of 42 passes (81 percent) for 526 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions.

Hamilton also leads the ACC and ranked 14th nationally in total offense with 291.5 yards per game.

Quarterback Joe Hamilton has completed a school-record 15 consecutive passes entering this week’s game with UCF. The senior from Alvin, S.C., completed his final pass of the first half in last week’s game at top-ranked Florida State and then was a perfect 14-for-14 in the second half. The previous high for consecutive completions by a Rambling Wreck quarterback was 12 in a row by Shawn Jones in Tech’s 1990 win over Georgia.

Joe Hamilton owns the top pass efficiency rating in school history at 142.1, which is also the fourth-best mark in ACC history. The current school record is 134.6 by Toppy Vann from 1953-56, while the ACC standard is held by Thad Busby of Florida State at 144.89.

Hamilton’s numbers over the last three seasons are even more impressive. Since the beginning of his sophomore season, the Alvin, S.C., native has an efficiency rating of 145.28. During that time, he has averaged 200.8 yards passing and 236.3 yards of total offense per game while completing 60.7 percent of his passes. Hamilton has thrown 31 touchdown passes against just 15 interceptions over the last two-plus seasons.

Quarterback Joe Hamilton not only earned respect after his amazing performance in the Rambling Wreck’s 41-35 loss at top-ranked Florida State, he also made strides in the race for the Heisman Trophy, according to a weekly poll conducted by Geoff Ketchum, editor of the Internet website

After not receiving a single vote last week, Hamilton surged to third place in this week’s ballot, which consists of five Heisman voters in each of the six regionsthe Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest and Far West.

Florida State wideout Peter Warrick remains the front-runner, according to the poll, receiving 18 of 30 first place votes. Warrick out-distanced Wisconsin running back Ron Dayne 66 to 41 in the scoring system which awards three points for each first place vote, two points for each second place vote and one point for each third place vote, the same scoring method used by The Downtown Athletic Club.

Hamilton, the nation’s leading passer who completed 22 of 25 passes for 387 yards and accounted for five touchdowns against FSU, received only one first-place vote but was named on 12 of the 30 ballots.

Georgia Tech has not committed a turnover in its first two games. The Jackets have not lost a fumble, and quarterback Joe Hamilton has thrown 42 passes this season without a miscue, part of a string of 70 consecutive passes without an interception, dating back to last year’s game against Georgia.

Sophomore Kelly Campbell enjoyed the best game of his career against top-ranked Florida State with seven catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Campbell’s 56-yard touchdown catch in the first half was the longest reception of his career. He then made a spectacular, one-handed catch in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown that brought the Jackets within six points with 1:35 to play.

Campbell, whose biggest moment as a freshman was his 55-yard touchdown catch against Georgia, is Tech’s leading receiver with nine catches for 154 yards (17.1 average).

Georgia Tech’s high-powered offense has averaged 35.9 points over the last 18 contests, including two bowl games. Not coincidentally, Tech has won 14 of those 18 games.

Tech has been held under 20 points just once in the last 19 games, a 34-7 loss to Florida State last season. The Jackets have failed to score at least 30 points only four times during that stretch.

After two games this season, Tech is 11th in the nation in both scoring (42 points per game) and total offense (494 yards per game).

Split end Dez White had 114 yards receiving against top-ranked Florida State for the fifth 100-yard receiving effort of his career. The only Yellow Jackets with more 100-yard games are Harvey Middleton (10) and John Sias (7). White also moved into ninth place in Tech history in career receiving yards with 1,124

The junior from Orange Park, Fla. had an 80-yard touchdown against the Seminoles for the longest catch of his career and his seventh touchdown catch of longer than 50 yards.

White is averaging 26.8 yards per catch this season and 21.8 for his career.

Sophomore tailback Joe Burns will miss the remainder of the season with a broken right ankle, suffered against Florida State. Burns rushed for 87 yards on 14 carries and caught seven passes for 96 yards and one touchdown in two games before the injury. Last season, he was Tech’s top rusher with 474 yards.

Tech is also playing without backup wide receiver Brett Basquin, out with a broken foot suffered in the preseason.

Georgia Tech’s loss at top-ranked Florida State was the Yellow Jackets first road loss since a 35-31 defeat at Virginia on Nov. 8, 1997, halting a seven-game winning streak.

Tech’s seven-game road winning streak is the third-longest in school history. The only longer road winning streaks were an eight-game streak from 1950-52 and an 11-game streak over the 1908-13 seasons.

Georgia Tech’s 49-14 victory at Navy represented the Rambling Wreck’s second-highest scoring output ever in a road game. The only game in which Tech scored more points on the road was a 71-6 win at Chattanooga on Oct. 11, 1913.

With six backs gaining at least 35 yards, Georgia Tech rolled up 341 yards rushing in its 49-14 victory over Navy. That was Tech’s best rushing effort since the Jackets gained 411 in a 1993 win over Maryland, when the Tech backfield featured Dorsey Levens and William Bell.

The Navy game was the second time in four contests that the Jackets gained over 300 yards rushing, following a 319-yard outing last season against Wake Forest.

With its 35-28 victory over Notre Dame in the 1999 Toyota Gator Bowl, Georgia Tech improved the nation’s top record in bowl games to 19-8 for a winning percentage of .704. Penn State is second with a 22-11-2 (.657) record.

Tech ranks sixth all-time in bowl victories with 19 and 13th in appearances with 26.

The Jackets have won five straight bowl games, including the 1997 Carquest Bowl, 1991 Aloha Bowl, 1991 Florida Citrus Bowl and 1985 All-American Bowl. Tech’s last loss in a bowl was a 41-21 defeat by Purdue in the 1978 Peach Bowl.

In 1955, the Jackets became the first team to win each of the four traditional major bowlsRose, Orange, Sugar and Cottonand Tech remains one of only five schools to accomplish this feat. Alabama (1962), Notre Dame (1975), Georgia (1960) and Penn State (1995) are the others.


        1.      GEORGIA TECH    19-8    .704        2.      Penn State      22-11-2 .657        3.      Southern Cal    25-14   .641        4.      Oklahoma        20-11-1 .641        5.      Florida State   16-9-2  .630        6.      Arizona State   10-6-1  .618        7.      Alabama         28-18-3 .602        8.      Mississippi     16-11   .593        9.      Auburn          14-10-2 .577        10.     Notre Dame      13-10   .565

Quarterback Joe Hamilton, split end Dez White, free safety Travares Tillman and linebacker Chris Edwards are preseason nominees for the awards at their positions.

Hamilton, Tech’s Heisman Trophy candidate, is one of 16 nominees for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation’s top senior quarterback.

White, a junior from Orange Park, Fla., is a preseason nominee for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s outstanding receiver. Last season, he was one of 10 semifinalists for the honor after catching 46 passes for a school record 976 yards and nine touchdowns.

A senior from Lyons, Ga., Tillman is on the preseason checklist for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to college football’s outstanding defensive back. He is Tech’s top returning tackler with 82 hits, and his 180 career tackles rank first in the ACC and eighth in the nation among returning defensive backs.

Edwards was named to the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. The senior from Warthen, Ga., made 53 tackles last fall.

Offensive tackle Jon Carman earned ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors for his performance in Tech’s win over Navy. The 6-8, 335-pound senior graded 95 percent with five RBI (great plays) as he paved the way for 341 yards rushing and 487 yards of total offense. Tech’s 341-yard effort was its best rushing output since 1993.

Carman has been the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week for his last three games. He also earned the honor for the final two weeks of 1998 as he helped Tech to wins over Georgia (241 yards rushing, 411 yards total offense ) and Wake Forest (319 rushing, 524 total offense).

The Georgia Tech roster has more players from Florida17than any state except Georgia. Starting punter Dan Dyke is from Winter Springs, just a few miles from the UCF campus. Other starters from Florida include split end Dez White (Orange Park), center Noah King (Panama City), tight end Conrad Andrzejewski (Wellington), and cornerback Jamara Clark (Bradenton).

Georgia Tech started three true freshmenall on defensein the season opener against Navy in cornerback Selwyn Scott, defensive end Greg Gathers and linebacker Recardo Wimbush.

The last time Tech started three true freshmen was in 1983, when several different rookies were in the lineup at various times during the season, including cornerback Reginald Rutland, tackle John Davis, tailback Cory Collier, safety Anthony Harrison and flanker Gary Lee.

Seven other true freshmen have seen action in safety Jeremy Muyres, flanker Will Glover, defensive end Fred Wright, offensive guard Raymond Roberts-Blake, placekicker Luke Manget, kickoff specialist Philip Newman, and Kelley Rhino on special teams.

True freshman defensive end Greg Gathers made an impressive debut against Navy. Earning a spot in the starting lineup, Gathers collected nine tackles, including six primary hits. He sacked the Navy quarterback twice for 14 yards, causing and recovering a fumble at the Navy 44-yard line on the second sack. He also had one other tackle behind the line of scrimmage.

Georgia Tech’s 41-13 win over Duke in 1998 gave head coach George O’Leary more Atlantic Coast Conference victories than any other Tech head coach. O’Leary is now 21-15 (.583) in conference games. He passed his former boss, Bobby Ross, who posted a 15-18-1 ACC record from 1987-91. Bill Curry was 13-8-1 in ACC games from 1983-86 (Tech became eligible for the ACC championship in 1983).

This year’s team features two sets of brothers in senior running back Philip Rogers and sophomore linebacker Nick Rogers, as well as junior receiver Jon Muyres and freshman safety Jeremy Muyres. Last season, the Rogers became the first pair of brothers to play for the Yellow Jackets at the same time since 1986, when Anthony Harrison was a senior starter at free safety, while his brother Danny was a freshman linebacker. Phillip and Nick Rogers are the first pair of brothers to start for the Yellow Jackets at the same time since Randy and Danny Rhino in 1974.

Recent brother combinations to play for the Jackets:

Rogers:         Phillip (TB, 1995-present) & Nick (LB, 1998-present)Muyres:         Jon (SE, 1996-present) & Jeremy (FS, 1999-present)Williams:       Rodney (P, 1995-98 & Marlon (OLB, 1990-93)Stallworth:     Dexter (QB, 1994-96) & Cedric (CB, 1985-88)Travis:         Mike (DB, 1982-85)& Scott (LB, 1990-92)Harrison:       Anthony (DB, 1983-86) & Danny (LB, 1987-89)Swilling:       Pat (OLB, 1982-85) & Darrell (LB, 1988-91)Malone:         Ralph (DT, 1982-85) & George (OLB, 1985-88)Rhino:          Randy (DB, 1972-74) & Danny (DB, 1974-76)

Georgia Tech’s incoming freshman class includes the sons of two of the greatest players in Rambling Wreck history. Freshman running back Kelley Rhino is the son of Randy Rhino, the only three-time all-America in Tech history. Randy, a defensive back and punt return specialist, earned all-America honors in 1972-73-74. Kelley’s grandfather, Chappell Rhino, and uncle Danny Rhino also starred for the Rambling Wreck. Freshman cornerback Eric Lavette is the son of Robert Lavette, Tech’s all-time leading rusher. Lavette starred for the Jackets from 1981-84, and his 4,066 yards rushing is the third-best total in ACC history.

Some prominent father-son combos in Tech history:

SON                             FATHEREric Lavette (CB, 1999)         Robert Lavette (RB, 1981-84)Kelley Rhino (RB, 1999)         Randy Rhino (DB, 1972-74)Randy Rhino (DB, 1972-74)       Chappell Rhino (1950-52)Coleman Rudolph (DT, 1989-92)   Jack Rudolph (1957-59)                  Jay Martin (SS, 1986-90)        Billy Martin (E, 1961-63)

Tailback Phillip Rogers got his senior season off to a good start as he rushed for a career-best 80 yards and three touchdowns in Tech’s season-opening win over Navy.

Rogers’ career rushing total is now 1,083 yards, which ranks 23rd on Tech’s career rushing list. He became the 27th player in Tech historyand the second on this year’s squad, along with quarterback Joe Hamiltonwith 1,000 yards rushing.

Rogers currently ranks sixth in the ACC in rushing.

Split end Dez White is in select company as one of just three players in Georgia Tech history who have returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. The junior from Orange Park, Fla., had a 100-yard return last season against Maryland and a 95-yarder versus Duke as a freshman, joining Drew Hill and Gary Lee.

White’s 100-yard return equals the second-longest return in Tech history. Drew Hill had a 100-yard return against Georgia in 1978, but the Tech record is 102 by Dewey Scarboro vs. Georgetown in 1919.

Georgia Tech’s Sept. 30 home date with Maryland will be the Jackets’ ninth appearance in an ESPN Thursday night telecast in the 1990s. Tech has a 4-4 record in its ESPN Thursday night games, including last year’s 24-21 victory at Clemson.

In addition to the eight ESPN dates, the Jackets have also played two other Thursday prime-time games in recent years, defeating Virginia, 31-27, in 1983 on TBS and falling to Arizona, 20-19, in 1995 on Prime. Counting Thanksgiving, Tech’s record on Thursday is 26-17-2.


Year    Opponent                Result          Att1991    #20 Virginia            hW 24-21        42,1921993    #25 Virginia            hL 35-14        42,1001994    #7 Arizona              hL 19-14        45,1121995    #16 Maryland            hW 31-3         44,1371996    Duke                    hW 48-22        44,1451996    at Maryland             aL 13-10        22,5101997    #5 North Carolina       hL 16-13        45,1261998    at Clemson              aW 24-21        62,0001999    Maryland (home)         Sept. 30        8 p.m.

Stopping the run means usually means success for Georgia Tech under head coach George O’Leary. Since O’Leary took over the Tech program in 1995, the Jackets have held 15 opponents under 100 yards rushing, and Tech is 13-2 in those games.

Game    Result                                  Yds     (Att.)Georgia, 1998                           W       21-19 91 (28)Wake Forest, 1998                       W       63-35 61 (26)West Virginia, 1997 (Carquest Bowl)     W       35-30 56 (22)Maryland, 1997                          W       37-18 99 (41)Florida State, 1997                     L       38-0  98 (29)Wake Forest, 1997                       W       28-26 55 (22)Central Florida, 1996                   W       27-20 52 (36)Duke, 1996                              W       48-22 83 (31)Wake Forest, 1996                       W       30-10 22 (19)Wake Forest, 1995                       W       24-23 30 (17)North Carolina, 1995                    W       27-25 68 (24)Duke, 1995                              W       37-21 72 (24)Maryland, 1995                          W       31-3 -30 (24)Arizona, 1995                           L       20-19 13 (28)Furman, 1995                            W       51-7  47 (35)

Of the ten best single-game performances by the Georgia Tech defense against the run, George O’Leary has been involved in five of them, either as head coach or defensive coordinator.

Tech’s school record for rushing yards allowed is minus-30 yards against Maryland in 1995, O’Leary’s first full season as head coach. That performance broke the previous record of minus-20 yards set against Maryland in 1990, when O’Leary was defensive coordinator. Other top games in the O’Leary era include 10 yards by Duke in 1991, 13 by Arizona in 1995 and 22 by Wake Forest in 1996.

Georgia Tech has won seven of its last eight games in the state of North Carolina. Beginning with the 1995 season, Tech has recorded two wins over Duke (1995 and 1997), Wake Forest (1995 and 1997), and NC State (1996 and 1998) and one against North Carolina (1998). Tech’s lone defeat on Tobacco Road during that stretch was a 16-0 loss at North Carolina in 1996.

Georgia Tech has a winning record against every team in the Atlantic Coast Conference except Florida State and North Carolina. Tech’s all-time records against each ACC school: Clemson, 41-20-2; Duke, 36-29-1; Florida State, 7-8-1; Maryland, 8-3; North Carolina, 15-16-3; NC State, 11-7; Virginia, 11-9-1; Wake Forest, 16-5.

Ted Roof, one of the top defensive players in Georgia Tech annals, is in his first year as the Rambling Wreck’s defensive coordinator. Roof returned to his alma mater in 1998 as an assistant coach. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native coaches Tech’s linebackers, the position that he played on the Flats from 1982-85. He was a captain of Tech’s 1985 All-American Bowl team and a member of the Black Watch defense. Roof was inducted into the Georgia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

Built in 1913 and now in its 87th season, Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field is the oldest on-campus stadium in NCAA Division I-A. In fact, the only older on-campus facilities in the nation are Harvard Stadium and Penn’s Franklin Field. The next oldest I-A stadium is Mississippi State’s Scott Field, built in 1915. Tech has a record of 389-163-23 (.697) at its home facility.

Not only is Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field the oldest on-campus stadium, but it is also the site of more victories by the home team than any other facility. Since 1913 Georgia Tech has 389 wins at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field, leading Harvard (372) and Tennessee (367).

Oldest Stadiums

Division I-A OnlyGeorgia Tech (Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field)   1913Mississippi State (Scott Field)                 1915Cincinnati (Nippert Stadium)                    1916Wisconsin (Camp Randall Stadium)                1917Washington (Husky Stadium)                      1920All StadiumsPenn (Franklin Field)                           1895Harvard (Harvard Stadium)                       1903Georgia Tech (Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field)   1913Yale (Yale Bowl)                                1914Mississippi State (Scott Field)                 1915

O’Leary is Tech’s 10th Head Coach
Even though Georgia Tech has played football for more than 100 years, head coach George O’Leary is just the 10th full-time head coach in Rambling Wreck history.

Only UNLV (7), Houston (8), Florida State (8) and Air Force (8) have had fewer head coaches than Tech, but none began playing football before 1946. By comparison, the Yellow Jackets’ 10 full-time head coaches have spanned a period of 96 years (1904-99). In fact, from 1904 through 1966, Tech employed just three coaches in John Heisman (1904-19), William Alexander (1920-44) and Bobby Dodd (1945-66), all of whom are in the Hall of Fame.

Georgia Tech’s coaching staff has eight years of experience in the National Football League, led by Ralph Friedgen’s five years (1992-96) with the San Diego Chargers. Friedgen served as offensive coordinator his final three years in San Diego, including the Super Bowl season of 1994. Head coach George O’Leary spent two years (1992-93) as the Chargers’ defensive line coach. Tight ends coach Eddie Wilson was on the Kansas City Chiefs’ staff in 1974.

Former Yellow Jacket Billy Shaw was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in July of 1999. Shaw was a standout offensive guard with the Buffalo Bills from 1961-69, a five-time all-AFL selection who was named to the AFL’s All-Time Team. The Mississippi native lettered for the Jackets from 1958-60 under legendary head coach Bobby Dodd and earned all-SEC honors in 1959 and 1960.

Tech’s only other member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is Joe Guyon, a consensus all-America for the Jackets in 1918 who is also in the College Football Hall of Fame.


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