Aug. 27, 2001
ATLANTA – “Any time you can get a character win in a tight ball game, your team is going to play better the next game, and we need to do that,” said Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary as his 11th-ranked Yellow Jackets (1-0) kick off their home slate by hosting The Citadel (0-0) Saturday in a 6 p.m. kickoff at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field.
The game will not be televised by can be heard on the Georgia Tech-ISP Sports radio network, including Atlanta flagship WQXI-AM “Sports Talk 790 The Zone,” featuring the call of Wes Durham and Kim King.
Tech opened the 2001 season with a 13-7 victory over Syracuse in the Kickoff Classic at East Rutherford, N.J., while the Bulldogs have not played yet.
“The Citadel has been a strong program in I-AA, but we don’t know very much about this team,” continued O’Leary, whose squad has won eight of the last nine games. “I’m a guy that likes to see things on film, but we don’t have that opportunity. It’s the first game for a new head coach in Ellis Johnson, so there are a lot of unknowns going into this game.
“Obviously we have a lot of improving to do, and we need to play better in a lot of facets of the game, but if you can walk away with a win in a tight ballgame in your first game, that says a lot for your football team. I think we’ll build on that and play better this week.”
In his first action following off-season knee surgery, senior quarterback George Godsey (Tampa, Fla.) completed 15 of 26 passes for 224 yards against the Orangemen.
Godsey is surrounded by a talented cast of skill players, including the one-two punch of all-ACC receiver Kelly Campbell (Atlanta, Ga.) in the passing game and junior tailback Joe Burns (Thomasville, Ga.) in the running game.
Campbell set a Kickoff Classic record with 10 catches for 193 yards to earn MVP honors and break the Tech career record for receiving yards, while Burns was a workhorse with 113 yards rushing on 34 carries.
The Tech defense, which performed well in holding Syracuse to just seven points and 242 yards of offense, is led by the all-star defensive end tandem of junior Greg Gathers (LaPlace, La.) and senior Nick Rogers (East Point, Ga.). Linebacker Daryl Smith (Albany, Ga.) is the Jackets’ top tackler with nine hits and two tackles for loss.
Placekicker Luke Manget, a junior from Conyers, Ga., booted two field goals against the Orangemen.
The Citadel returns both its top rusher and receiver from a year ago in tailback Maurice Murphy, who ran for 854 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry, and wideout Matt Healy, who had 31 catches for 331 yards. Sophomore quarterback Scooter Johnson completed 31-of-65 passes for 384 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 431 yards and three scores last fall. On defense, the Bulldogs return their leading tackler in linebacker Travis Stephens, who had 144 tackles and 23 tackles for loss.
GEORGIA TECH VS. THE CITADEL
Georgia Tech has won all nine games in the series with the Citadel, which dates back to 1912. Tech has outscored the Bulldogs, 376-44, in the nine contests including four shutouts. The last seven games have been played at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. The two schools are meeting for the first time since 1987, when the Yellow Jackets won, 51-12, in Bobby Ross’ debut as the Tech head coach. That game was also the first at Tech for current head coach George O’Leary, who was the Rambling Wreck’s defensive coordinator at the time. Tech defensive ends coach and recruiting coordinator Lance Thompson is a 1987 graduate of the Citadel. Thompson and first-year Citadel head coach Ellis Johnson coached together as assistants at Alabama the last two years.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
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.
JACKETS OPEN WITH KICKOFF CLASSIC WIN OVER SYRACUSE
Kelly Campbell caught 10 passes for 193 yards, Joe Burns gained 113 yards on the ground and the Georgia Tech defense allowed just 242 yards as the 10th-ranked Yellow Jackets defeated Syracuse, 13-7, in the Kickoff Classic at East Rutherford, N.J. Burns’ scored Tech’s only touchdown on a one-yard run in the second quarter, set up by Marvious Hester’s interception at the Syracuse six-yard line, and then helped run out the clock with 71 yards rushing on Tech’s final drive. In his first action following off-season knee surgery, quarterback George Godsey completed 15 of 26 passes for 224 yards.
CAMPBELL NAMED KICKOFF CLASSIC MVP
With a Kickoff Classic-record 10 receptions for 193 yards, Kelly Campbell was named Most Valuable Player of Georgia Tech’s 13-7 victory over Syracuse. His 72-yard catch in the second quarter was the longest in Kickoff Classic history.
Campbell recorded his eighth career 100-yard game and his third effort of 10 or more catches. The 193 yards marked the third-highest single-game total for Campbell, who had 209 yards last year against Clemson and 203 yards in a 1999 win over North Carolina.
ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS
With a 72-yard reception in the second quarter, senior wide receiver Kelly Campbell became Georgia Tech’s all-time leader in receiving yards. Campbell finished the game with 2,392 yards, breaking the mark of 2,291 held by Harvey Middleton (1994-97).
Campbell, who has 149 career catches, now takes aim at Middleton’s school record of 165 receptions. Campbell is also Tech’s career leader with 21 touchdown catches.
CAREER RECEPTIONS Years Rec. Needs1. Harvey Middleton 1994-97 165 172. Kelly Campbell 1998- 149
CAREER RECEIVING YARDS Years Yds 1. Kelly Campbell 1998- 2,392 2. Harvey Middleton 1994-97 2,291
CAREER RECEIVING TD Years Yds 1. Kelly Campbell 1998- 21 2. Dez White 1997-99 14 Buck Martin 1950-52 14 Gary Lee 1983-86 14
CAREER TOUCHDOWNS Years Yds 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 Years Yds Needs 1. Robert Lavette 1981-84 5,393 2,060 2. Jerry Mays 1985-89 4,743 1,410 3. Eddie Lee Ivery 1975-78 4,324 991 4. Drew Hill 1975-78 3,815 482 5. Charlie Rogers 1995-98 3,693 360 6. Dez White 1997-99 3,601 268 7. Kelly Campbell 1998- 3,334
A CASE FOR THE DEFENSE The Georgia Tech defense turned in a standout performance in the Yellow Jackets’ 13-7 victory over Syracuse, holding the Orangemen to just 242 yards of total offense. That is the best performance by the Tech defense in 68 games, since the Jackets allowed just 219 yards against Arizona in the second game of the 1995 season. Tech allowed just 59 yards rushing, continuing a trend from last season, when the Jackets ranked 12th in the nation by allowing just 94.5 yards rushing per game.
BURNS BURNS ORANGE Junior tailback Joe Burns recorded the sixth 100-yard game of his career with 113 yards on a career-high 34 carries against Syracuse. Burns, who scored the Jackets’ only touchdown on a one-yard plunge, gained 71 yards on Tech’s final clock-consuming drive, which ended just shy of the goal line as time ran out. Burns climbed two spots on Tech’s career rushing list, moving into 14th place with 1,582 yards. He is also tied for eight place with 18 career rushing touchdowns.
COOL HAND LUKE Despite a scare in the Kickoff Classic, junior placekicker Luke Manget has made 92 consecutive extra points-every one he has ever attempted. Manget originally missed his first PAT try against Syracuse, but after a penalty provided a reprieve, he made the most of his second chance.
Manget needs just two more successful conversions to surpass the Atlantic Coast Conference of record of 93 in a row by Jess Atkinson of Maryland (1981-84). Manget 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).
Manget is also climbing Tech’s career lists for points scored and points by kicking.
CAREER POINTS BY KICKING Years Pts1. Scott Sisson 1989-92 2992. David Bell 1983-86 1723. Luke Manget 1998- 167
CAREER POINTS Years 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- 167
Georgia Tech has four players from South Carolina, including one from the Charleston area in senior defensive tackle Merrix Watson of Mount Pleasant. Backup quarterbacks Andy Hall (Cheraw) and Mark Logan (Greenwood) and reserve offensive lineman Tim Brown (Columbia) also hail from the Palmetto State.