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Georgia Tech in the Kickoff Classic

Aug. 24, 2001

RECORDS Georgia Tech: 0-0 Syracuse: 0-0

RANKINGS Tech: No. 10 AP, No. 13 by ESPN/USA Today Syracuse: Unranked

SERIES First Meeting

TELEVISION Nationally televised on ABC-TV (WSB in Atlanta). Announcers are Brad Nessler, Bob Griese and Lynn Swann.

RADIO The Georgia Tech ISP Network includes 40 affiliates, including Atlanta flagship WQXI-AM 790 The Zone. Wes Durham is in his seventh season as Tech’s play-by-play voice, while legendary Yellow Jacket quarterback Kim King is in his 28th year as color analyst.

ON THE INTERNET Live stats and play-by-play, as well as Tech’s radio broadcast with Wes Durham and Kim King, are available on Georgia Tech’s official website,


A. 26    Syracuse (ABC), 2 p.m.         Kickoff Classic, East Rutherford, N.J.S. 1     The Citadel, 6 p.m.S. 8     @Navy (FSNS), 12 noonS. 15    @Florida State (ESPN), 7:30 p.m.S. 29    ClemsonO. 6     @DukeO. 11    Maryland (ESPN), 7:30 p.m.O. 20    NC StateN. 1     North Carolina (ESPN), 7:30 p.m.N. 10    @VirginiaN. 17    @Wake ForestN. 24    Georgia (ABC), 8 p.m.


For the second straight year, Georgia Tech is scheduled to open the season in a preseason game as the Yellow Jackets face Syracuse in the Kickoff Classic on Aug. 26 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Last year, Tech was scheduled to take on Virginia Tech in the BCA Bowl, but the game in Blacksburg, Va., was cancelled due to lightning. Tech’s only previous preseason appearance was also in the Kickoff Classic. The Jackets opened defense of their 1990 national title by facing Penn State in the 1991 Kickoff Classic, but the Nittany Lions won, 34-22. The Aug. 26 date for the Kickoff Classic will mark the earliest that Tech has ever opened its season. In fact, the only other time the Jackets have played in August was the 1991 Kickoff Classic.


Georgia Tech and Syracuse are meeting in football for the first time in the Kickoff Classic. The two schools are scheduled to meet in basketball this season as the Orangemen visit Atlanta for a Dec. 16 game at Philips Arena.


When the Yellow Jackets take on Syracuse in the Kickoff Classic, Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary will be coaching against the only other university at which he has coached. After a very successful prep coaching career, O’Leary moved to the collegiate ranks in 1980, when he joined Frank Maloney’s staff as defensive line coach. He coached the Orangemen’s defensive line for seven seasons under Maloney and Dick MacPherson, who became head coach in 1981. O’Leary was elevated to assistant head coach for his final two years at Syracuse (1985-86). In 1987, O’Leary moved to Atlanta to become Bobby Ross’ defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech. While at Syracuse, O’Leary coached five players who went on to the NFL, including Tim Green, the top selection of the Atlanta Falcons, Mike Charles, an all-America chosen in the first round by the Miami Dolphins, and Blaise Winter, a second-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts who later played for O’Leary with the San Diego Chargers. Tech assistant coach Peter McCarty also coached at Syracuse while O’Leary was there, serving as a graduate assistant in 1980-81.


Georgia Tech is ranked 10th in the Associated Press preseason poll, as well as 13th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll. Tech’s No. 10 in the AP poll is its highest preseason ranking since 1991, when the Jackets were rated eighth by the media and sixth in the coaches’ poll following their 1990 national title. The Jackets were 11th in both preseason polls prior to the 1999 season.


Senior center David Schmidgall and senior defensive end Nick Rogers are Georgia Tech’s captains for the Syracuse game. Permanent team captains will be named at the conclusion of the season.


Georgia Tech enters the season with five games already scheduled for national television. Tech will begin and end the season on ABC-TV, which will televise the Kickoff Classic against Syracuse as well as the Jackets’ season-ending battle with Georgia. The Rambling Wreck will also appear on ESPN during prime time at least three times with the Sept. 15 game at Florida State as well as Thurday night home games against Maryland on Oct. 11 and North Carolina on Nov. 1.


Entering his seventh full season as the Georgia Tech head coach, George O’Leary has a record of 45-28 (.616). He already ranks fourth in victories by a Tech head coach. Only the Hall of Fame trio of John Heisman (102-29-7, 16 seasons), William Alexander (134-95-15, 25 seasons) and Bobby Dodd (165-64-8, 22 seasons) have won more games on the Flats than O’Leary. O’Leary’s winning percentage of .616 is bettered only by Heisman (.779) and Dodd (.713). With 45 victories, O’Leary has won more games in his first six seasons at Georgia Tech than any previous Rambling Wreck head coach. The venerable Dodd managed 42 win in his first six years.


Georgia Tech has a record of 74-30-4 (.704) in season openers. The Yellow Jackets defeated Central Florida, 21-17, in last year’s opener. Tech is 12-19-1 (.391) when the opener is away from home.


Georgia Tech has earned four consecutive bowl berths, a first for the program since the 1950s and the halcyon days of legendary head coach Bobby Dodd, who guided the Yellow Jackets to six consecutive bowl games–winning them all–from 1951-56. On their current streak, the Yellow Jackets have played in the 1997 Carquest Bowl, the 1999 and 2000 Toyota Gator Bowls and the 2000 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.


Despite falling to LSU in last year’s Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Georgia Tech still owns the nation’s second-best record in bowl games. Tech’s record now stands at 19-10 for a winning percentage of .655. Only Penn State’s 23-11-2 (.667) record is better. Tech ranks seventh all-time in bowl victories with 19 and 13th in appearances with 29. In 1955, the Jackets were the first team to win each of the four traditional major bowls-Rose, Orange, Sugar and Cotton-and 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.

BEST BOWL WINNING PERCENTAGE1. Penn State           23-11-2 .6672. GEORGIA TECH         19-10           .6553. Southern Cal         25-14           .6414. Oklahoma             21-12-1 .6325. Florida State        17-10-2 .621


Now in its 109th season of intercollegiate football, Georgia Tech has an all-time record of 601-404-43 (.594). Tech enters the 2001 season as one of only 21 Division I-A teams to reach 600 victories.


Now in his seventh 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. He 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 32-year veteran of professional, college and prep coaching, O’Leary has a record of 45-28 (.616), including 32-18 (.640) in ACC games.


Georgia Tech has new faces on its coaching staff, as well as some old faces in new roles. Bill O’Brien, a member of the Tech staff since 1995, takes over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, replacing Ralph Friedgen, now the head coach at Maryland. O’Brien spent the last three years as Tech’s running backs coach. New on the offensive staff is running backs coach Glenn Spencer, a former Tech player who returned to the Flats in 2001 after posting a 28-7 record in three years as the head coach at Division II West Georgia. Former graduate assistant Geoff Collins was elevated to tight ends coach, while offensive line coach Mac McWhorter and receivers coach David Kelly remain in place. On defense, Ted Roof returns for this third season as coordinator. Lance Thompson, a Tech staff member from 1988-98, returns as defensive ends coach and recruiting coordinator after two years at Alabama. Peter McCarty, formerly of Illinois, is Tech’s new defensive tackles coach, while Danny Crossman moves from defensive ends to defensive backs coach.


With 18 starters returning from last year’s 9-3 squad, just three players are in the starting lineup for the first time against Syracuse. On offense, the first-time starters are tackle Jason Kemble and guard Hugh Reilly. Fullback Ross Mitchell started six games at linebacker in 1999. On defense, the only first-time starter is sophomore cornerback Albert Poree, a transfer from Notre Dame who sat out last season.


In his first year as Georgia Tech’s starting quarterback, George Godsey posted the second-best season statistics ever accumulated by a Yellow Jacket signal caller. The Tampa, Fla., native completed 64 percent of his passes and threw for 2,906 yards and 23 touchdowns with just six interceptions for a pass efficiency rating of 151.9. Godsey’s numbers were better than any Rambling Wreck quarterback except his predecessor, Joe Hamilton, who set Tech standards with 3,060 yards passing, 29 touchdowns, a 67-percent completion rate and an efficiency rating of 175.0 that was the sixth-best season mark in NCAA history. Godsey, a preseason second-team all-America selection by Athlon Sports and a nominee for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, enters his senior season with the third-best career pass efficiency rating in Atlantic Coast Conference history, trailing only Hamilton and Florida State’s Chris Weinke.

CAREER PASS EFFICIENCY                          Rating1. Chris Weinke, Florida State  1997-00 151.152. Joe Hamilton, Georgia Tech   1996-99 148.193. George Godsey, Georgia Tech      1998-           145.224. Thad Busby, Florida State    1994-97 144.89


Junior placekicker Luke Manget is nearing a milestone as he enters the season having made 91 consecutive extra points-every one he has ever attempted. He needs just three more to surpass the Atlantic Coast Conference of record of 93, set by Jess Atkinson of Maryland (1981-84). Manget, a first-team all-ACC selection last year, needed just 17 games to break the previous school record of 70 in a row by career scoring leader Scott Sisson from 1989-91. The NCAA record for consecutive extra points is 161 by John Becksvoort of Tennessee (1991-94).

CAREER POINTS BY KICKING        Pts1.      Scott Sisson, 1989-92   2992.      David Bell, 1983-86     1723.      Luke Manget, 1998-            160

CAREER POINTS Pts 1. Scott Sisson, 1989-92 299 2. Robert Lavette, 1981-84 276 3. Billy Lothridge, 1961-63 204 4. David Bell, 1983-86 172 5. Jerry Mays, 1985-89 168 6. Luke Manget, 1998- 160


Georgia Tech has two players from New Jersey, both defensive backs. Backup strong safety Cory Collins is a junior from Egg Harbor Township, while true freshman cornerback Dennis Davis of Atco has also earned a spot in the two-deep. Tech also has a pair of tight ends from New York in senior starter Russell Matvay of Coram, and sophomore backup John Paul Foschi of Glen Head.


The Georgia Tech roster lists 14 seniors, but one is actually a graduate student. Quarterback George Godsey received his degree at Georgia Tech’s spring commencement on May 5, 2001. Godsey earned his bachelor’s degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering and is now pursuing a master’s degree in ISYE with a concentration in manufacturing and logistics. His course load this semester includes Transportation & Supply Chain Systems, Probabilistic Models, and Classical Probability.


Georgia Tech suffered one significant injury in the preseason when starting wide receiver Nate Curry sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The sophomore from Miami, who underwent surgery Aug. 17, caught 22 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman in 2000. Reserve tailback Jermaine Hatch also suffered a torn ACL in his left knee over the summer. Two backup offensive linemen, redshirt freshmen Jeremy Phillips and true freshman Gavin Tarquinio, had similar injuries in spring practice, although Phillips could return at mid-season.


Quarterback George Godsey did some of his best work in the fourth quarter in 2000. “Goose” completed 53 of 72 passes (74 percent) for 607 yards and 10 touchdowns in the fourth quarter. In his first start against UCF, Godsey guided the Jackets to two touchdowns in the final four minutes in Tech’s 21-17 victory. He entered the game trailing 17-7 and facing third-and-18 at his own 35-yard line, and hit seven of nine passes for 92 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass to Campbell and then a one-yard scoring toss to Brian Lee for the game-winner with 38 seconds left. He completed 14 of 20 passes for 168 yards in the fourth quarter of Tech’s 31-28 win over fourth-ranked Clemson. He guided the Yellow Jackets on two 80-yard touchdown drives in the final 10 minutes, capped by a 48-yard touchdown pass to Kelly Campbell and then the game-winning, 16-yard touchdown to Kerry Watkins with just seven seconds left.


Georgia Tech has won 15 of its last 17 home games, with both defeats coming at the hands of Florida State (2000 and 1998). In 12 of those 15 home wins, Tech has scored 40 or more points.


The Georgia Tech roster features just 14 seniors, including only 10 in the two-deep on offense and defense. The Tech offense has six senior starters in QB George Godsey, WR Kelly Campbell, TE Russell Matvay, C David Schmidgall, T Jason Kemble, and FB Ross Mitchell, plus backup TB Sean Gregory. The Rambling Wreck defense is even younger with just three senior contributors in DE Nick Rogers, DT Merrix Watson, and SS Chris Young, all starters.


Placekicker Luke Manget is a preseason nominee for the Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicker Award as the top kicker in NCAA Division I-A. The junior from Conyers, Ga., was a semifinalist for the award as well as a first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection last year, when hit 12 of 16 field goals and was 38-for-38 on PAT. For his career, Manget is 23-for-32 on field goals and a perfect 91-for-91 on extra points.

CAMPBELL EYES RECEIVING RECORDS Wide receiver Kelly Campbell is well within reach of the Georgia Tech career records for receptions and receiving yards. The senior from Atlanta enters his senior season with 139 catches for 2,199 yards. He needs 27 receptions and 93 yards to surpass Harvey Middleton, the record-holder in both categories with 165 receptions for 2,291 yards. Campbell already owns the Tech record for career touchdown receptions with 21 while ranking fourth in school history with 24 touchdowns scored. The two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection also owns the Yellow Jackets’ season records for receptions (69 in 1999), receiving yards (1,105 in 1999) and touchdown receptions (10 in 1999 and 2000) as well as a share of the single-game record for catches in game (14 vs. Clemson in 2000).

CAREER RECEPTIONS               Rec.            Needs1.      Harvey Middleton, 1994-97       165             272.      Kelly Campbell, 1998-      139

CAREER RECEIVING YARDS Yds Needs 1. Harvey Middleton, 1994-97 2,291 93 2. Kelly Campbell 1998- 2,199

CAREER RECEIVING TD TD 1. Kelly Campbell, 1998- 21 2. Dez White, 1997-99 14 Buck Martin, 1950-52 14 Gary Lee, 1983-86 14

CAREER TOUCHDOWNS TD Needs 1. Robert Lavette, 1981-84 46 23 2. Jerry Mays , 1985-89 28 5 3. Eddie Lee Ivery, 1975-78 26 3 4. Kelly Campbell, 1998- 24

CAREER ALL-PURPOSE YDS Yds Needs 1. Robert Lavette, 1981-84 5,393 2,291 2. Jerry Mays, 1985-89 4,743 1,641 3. Eddie Lee Ivery, 1975-78 4,324 1,222 4. Drew Hill, 1975-78 3,815 713 5. Charlie Rogers, 1995-98 3,693 591 6. Dez White, 1997-99 3,601 499 7. Kelly Campbell, 1998- 3,103


Defensive end Greg Gathers is making his mark as one of the most prolific pass rushers in school history. The junior all-America candidate ranked third in the nation last season with 13 quarterback sacks. After just two seasons, he already ranks fourth in the Tech history with 20 career sacks. Only a trio of future NFL players have had more sacks than Gathers in Coleman Rudolph, Marco Coleman and Pat Swilling. Gathers also ranks third, behind Rudolph and Coleman, with 38 tackles for loss. Gathers, who has had at least one sack in the 13 of the last 15 games, has been named to the preseason Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List for the nation’s top lineman/linebacker. He is also a preseason second-team all-America and first-team all-ACC selection by Athlon Sports and Lindy’s.

CAREER LEADERS:                 QB SACKS1.      Coleman Rudolph         1989-92 28.52.      Marco Coleman           1989-91 27.53.      Pat Swilling            1982-85 234.      Felipe Claybrooks       1997-   20        Greg Gathers         1999-   20

CAREER LEADERS: TACKLES FOR LOSS 1. Coleman Rudolph 1989-92 52 2. Marco Coleman 1989-91 50 3. Greg Gathers 1999- 38 4. Pat Swilling 1982-85 37 Felipe Claybrooks 1997- 37


The Georgia Tech backfield features a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in junior Joe Burns and senior Sean Gregory. Burns, who led Tech with 908 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2000, now has 1,469 career rushing yards (16th in Tech history) and 17 touchdowns (tied for 11th in Tech history), along with 46 receptions for 442 yards and two touchdowns. Gregory has 1,208 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns for his career. He was Tech’s leading rusher in 1999 with 837 yards and 13 touchdowns.


Nineteen different states are represented on Georgia Tech’s 2001 roster. The bulk of the roster–more than 50 players– is, of course, from Georgia. Florida is next with 16 Yellow Jackets, followed by Louisiana with seven. Tech’s 2001 freshman class includes signees from 10 different states as the Jackets added players from California, Colorado, Utah, Minnesota and Texas, among others. The freshman class also features an international flavor. Linebacker Tabugbo Anyansi (pronounced tie-BOO-bo on-YON-zee) is a native of Nigeria. Tight end Salih Besirevic (pronounced SAH-lee buh-SHEER-uh-vich) left Bosnia with his family in 1997 and settled in Denver, Colo.


Georgia Tech features perhaps the most productive tandem of defensive ends in the nation in junior Greg Gathers and senior Nick Rogers. The pair combined for 22 sacks in 2001, as well as 33 tackles for loss for 213 yards, 33 quarterback pressures, seven caused fumbles and eight pass breakups. Both players earned all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors with Gathers (13 sacks, 20 TFL, 17 pressures, 6 PB) on the first team and Rogers (9 sacks, 13 TFL, 16 presures, 6 FC) on the second team.


For the second year in a row and the third time since 1996, Georgia Tech will play two Thursday night, nationally-televised games on ESPN. This fall, Tech hosts Maryland on Oct. 11 and North Carolina on Nov. 1 at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. Georgia Tech has been selected to play in ESPN Thursday night games more than any other school in the nation. Tech has a 6-5 record when in ESPN’s Thursday night games, and all but two of the games have been in Atlanta. In addition to the 11 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 28-18-2.


John and Barbara Godsey, the parents of the Georgia Tech starting quarterback, maintain a hectic travel itinerary during the fall. That’s because George isn’t the only member of the family playing Division I football. Younger brother Gary is a junior tight end at Notre Dame who started two games at quarterback in 2000. At least one parent attends each of their sons’ games. John Godsey played for Bear Bryant at Alabama, and the oldest Godsey brother, Greg, played football at the Air Force Academy.


Georgia Tech junior cornerback Kelley Rhino is the son of one of the greatest players in Rambling Wreck history, 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 (1950-52), and uncle Danny Rhino (1974-76) also starred for the Jackets. Some prominent father-son combos in Tech history: SON FATHER Kelley Rhino (RB, 1999) Randy Rhino (DB, 1972-74) Randy Rhino (DB, 1972-74) Chappell Rhino (1950-52) Coleman Rudolph Jack Rudolph (1957-59) (DT, 1989-92) Jay Martin (SS, 1986-90) Billy Martin (E, 1961-63)


Stopping the run means usually means success for Georgia Tech under head coach George O’Leary. Since O’Leary took over in 1995, the Jackets have held 25 opponents under 100 yards rushing, and Tech is 20-5 in those games.


Of the ten best single-game performances by the Georgia Tech defense against the run, George O’Leary has been involved in six 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 eight yards by UCF in 2000, 10 by Duke in 1991, and 13 by Arizona in 1995.


Built in 1913 and now in its 88th 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 398-164-23 (.700) 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 398 wins at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field, leading Tennessee (378) and Harvard (375).

Oldest StadiumsDivision 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


The only Atlantic Coast Conference school to post a winning record against Georgia Tech is Florida State. Tech’s all-time records against each ACC school: Clemson, 43-20-2, Duke, 38-29-1, Florida State, 7-9-1, Maryland, 10-3, North Carolina, 17-16-3, NC State, 12-8, Virginia, 12-10-1, Wake Forest, 17-6.


This fall marks the 50th anniversary of Georgia Tech’s undefeated 1951 squad, one of nine unbeaten teams in the 109-year history of Rambling Wreck football. Coached by Bobby Dodd, the 1951 Yellow Jackets posted an 11-0-1 record, including the Southeastern Conference title and a victory over Baylor in the Orange Bowl. Over the next two autumns, Georgia Tech will be celebrating the remarkable accomplishments of the 1951 and 1952 teams, which did not suffer a single defeat in two years en route to an 18-game winning streak and a 31-game unbeaten string from 1950-53. Tech followed its unbeaten 1951 season with a national title and a perfect 12-0 record in 1952. The 1951-52 teams featured two future members of the College Football Hall of Fame in Ray Beck and George Morris, as well as eight first-team all-Americas in Beck and Lamar Wheat in 1951 and Morris, Pete Brown, Leon Hardeman, Buck Martin, Hal Miller, and Bobby Moorhead in 1952.


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