ATLANTA (Oct. 18) — It was a good win but I think this open week comes at a good time for us from an injury standpoint, said Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary following the Yellow Jackets’ 38-31 win over Duke last Saturday in Durham.
Tech, now 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, takes this week off before hosting NC State on Oct. 30 at 3:30 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field in a regionally televised contest on ABC-TV.
We’re not playing very well right now from the standpoint of penalties, turnovers and missed tackles. We’re working on those things. We’re going to analyze some of the personnel we’re using on defense and give some other kids an opportunity.
The Jackets are ranked eighth this week in both major polls, marking the 19th straight poll in which Tech has appeared. Tech has won 15 of its last 17 games, with both losses coming at the hands of Florida State, and 18 of its last 22 games, dating back to the 1997 season.
HAMILTON IS NATION’S TOP PASSER
Quarterback Joe Hamilton continues to lead the nation in passing efficiency with a rating of 191.24. In six games he has completed 67.5 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Hamilton currently owns the top career pass efficiency rating in ACC history at 145.31, just ahead of former Florida State quarterback Thad Busby (144.89).
Also Tech’s leading rusher with 384 yards and six touchdowns, Hamilton ranks second nationally in total offense, averaging 342.5 yards per game.
TECH LEADS NATION IN TOTAL OFFENSE
Georgia Tech leads the nation in total offense, averaging 516.5 yards per game, ahead of second-place Oregon State (488.8). The Jackets are third in scoring with 40.5 points per game, behind Virginia Tech (43.3) and Louisville (42.9).
Tech ranks 13th nationally in rushing (234.3) and 19th in passing (282.2).
MORE HAMILTON HEROICS
For the sixth time in the last 13 games, quarterback Joe Hamilton led the Yellow Jackets on a game-saving drive in the fourth quarter as Tech downed Duke, 38-31. After the Blue Devils took a 31-28 lead early in the fourth quarter, Hamilton moved Tech in position for the tying field goal with 7:12 left and then drove the Jackets 70 yards on four plays for the winning touchdown with 2:56 to play. He opened the winning drive with a 36-yard completion to Kelly Campbell.
One week earlier, Hamilton led Tech to a 31-24 win over North Carolina in the first overtime game in school history. After Tech took over on its own two-yard line with 1:10 to play, Hamilton engineered a seven-play, 79-yard drive for the game-tying field goal by Luke Manget. He completed three passes for 73 yards and had a six-yard run on the march. Then in overtime, Hamilton scored the winning touchdown on a six-yard run.
Last season, Hamilton led game-winning, fourth-quarter drives against Virginia, Clemson, Georgia and Notre Dame.
KELLY’S BIG PLAYS
In Tech’s last two games, flanker Kelly Campbell has totalled 18 receptions for 393 yards, a school-record two-game total. The previous high was 343 yards on 13 catches by Derrick Steagall against Virginia and Duke in 1997. In addition to his impressive numbers, Campbell had the key catches on game-winning drives in both contests. In the Jackets’ 38-31 win over Duke, the speedy sophomore had a career-high 11 receptions for 190 yards. He set up the game-winning touchdown with a 36-yard reception to the Duke 34. The previous game against North Carolina, Campbell caught seven passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the Yellow Jackets’ 31-24 overtime victory. He caught touchdown passes of 47 and 59 yards, and then on Tech’s final drive for the game-tying field goal, he had two receptions for 67 yards. The first came on the first play after the Jackets took over at their own two-yard line with 1:10 left. Campbell caught a short pass over the middle and raced to the Tech 34. Two plays later, he caught a 35-yard pass down the right sideline to the UNC 25-yard line. Campbell’s 203 yards receiving against UNC equals the fourth-best single-game total in school history, while his 11 catches against Duke is also the fourth-best single-game figure in Tech annals.
JACKETS’ BACKFIELD DECIMATED
Georgia Tech has lost its top two tailbacks, sophomore Joe Burns and senior Phillip Rogers, for the season.
Rogers, Tech’s leading scorer with eight touchdowns and third-leading rusher with 310 yards, will miss the remainder of the regular season after a thigh bruise required surgery. Rogers, who had a career-high 82 yards against Duke before the injury, finishes his career with 1,264 yards rushing (21st in Tech history) and 15 rushing touchdowns.
Burns suffered a broken right ankle against Florida State in the second game of the season. 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.
Starting fullback Ed Wilder is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery but hopes to return for the NC State game.
CRENSHAW STEPS IN
In his first game at receiver, redshirt freshman Jermaine Crenshaw caught three passes for 33 yards, including a key fourth-down conversion in Tech’s 38-31 win over Duke. With the Jackets trailing 31-28 with less than 10 minutes to play and facing fourth-and-three on the Duke 30-yard line, Crenshaw made a 13-yard reception down to the Duke 17 to set up the tying field goal.
In the third quarter, he had catches on consecutive plays. On second-and-17, he made an eight-yard reception and then on third-and-nine, he caught a pass for 12 yards and a first down.
A former quarterback who moved to receiver just two weeks ago, Crenshaw was pressed into action with injuries to two other receivers.