Sept. 2, 2001
ATLANTA – “We have to get better each week,” said Georgia Tech head coach George O’Leary as his 11th-ranked Yellow Jackets (2-0) travel to Annapolis, Md., to take on Navy in a 12 noon kickoff at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.
The game will be regionally televised on Fox Sports Net South and can also 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.
“All the academies play very well at home, so that’s a concern to me,” continued O’Leary. “The Navy offense, which spreads it all around, is an equalizer right away, so that’s another concern. They also run a lot of option and they do that very well, so we have to be very responsible on defense.”
Georgia Tech has won nine of its last 10 games after last Saturday’s 35-7 victory over the Citadel. Navy opened its season last Thursday with a 45-26 loss at Temple.
“We challenged the first units to go out and play up to our level, and they really came out and executed well,” said O’Leary following the dominating effort against the Citadel. “On the first three series, we had 13 plays and 21 points, and defensively, it was pretty much the same thing.
“After that we had a chance to play a lot of players. From the five-minute mark of the second quarter, we had seconds and thirds in.”
Senior quarterback George Godsey (Tampa, Fla.) continued to round into form following off-season knee surgery, completing 14 of 16 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns in less than one half of play.
“George was sharper this week than he was last week, and that’s been his history,” said O’Leary. “He gets better each week, and I think as he gets better, we get better.”
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 was held out of the Citadel game with an ankle injury after catching 10 passes for 193 yards against Syracuse. In Campbell’s absence, Jonathan Smith became the go-to receiver, and the sophomore from Argyle, Ga., now has nine catches for a 13.8-yard average and one score.
Burns is the backfield workhorse with 140 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 39 attempts.
The Tech defense, which has allowed just two touchdowns in two games, 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 17 hits and three tackles for loss.
Placekicker Luke Manget, a junior from Conyers, Ga., is one of the nation’s best. He is perfect on field goals (2-for-2) and extra points (6-for-6).
GEORGIA TECH VS. NAVY
Georgia Tech leads the series with Navy, 15-9, including wins the last two seasons. Tech defeated the Midshipmen 40-13 last year in Atlanta and 49-14 in 1999 in Annapolis. Navy’s last win in the series was a 36-26 victory at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field in 1996.
Tech is just 2-3 at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, Md. with wins in 1999 and 1942.
The Yellow Jackets are 20-10 against the three service academies.
LAST MEETING WITH THE MIDSHIPMEN
On Sept. 16, 2000 in Atlanta, George Godsey completed 10 of 19 passes for 166 yards and three touchdown passes, two of them to Will Glover, in Georgia Tech’s 40-13 win over Navy. Tech forced six Navy fumbles, recovering four, including Greg Gathers’ six-yard return for a touchdown.
In the last meeting at Annapolis in 1999, Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third, and tailback Phillip Rogers rushed for three scores in the Yellow Jackets’ 49-14 win.
LAST TIME OUT
George Godsey completed 14 of 16 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns in less than two quarters of play, and Joe Burns added two touchdowns rushing as Georgia Tech dominated The Citadel, 35-7. Godsey hit his first 11 passes for 168 yards as Tech scored on four of its first five possessions. The Tech defense allowed just 202 yards of offense, the second-lowest figure of the George O’Leary era and the lowest since the Jackets held Furman to 194 yards in O’Leary’s first game. The Tech starters were on the bench before the end of the first half, and the Bulldogs’ lone score was against the Jackets’ third-team.
A CASE FOR THE DEFENSE
The Georgia Tech defense has been stout in the Yellow Jackets’ first two games, allowing just a single touchdown in each contest. In the opening 13-7 victory over Syracuse, Tech held the Orangemen to just 242 yards of total offense. That was 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 was even better in a 35-7 win over the Citadel, holding the Bulldogs to 202 total yards, the second lowest figure of the George O’Leary era and the lowest since allowing 194 yards to Furman in O’Leary’s first game as head coach in 1995.
Tech is allowing just 64.5 yards rushing per game, continuing a trend from last season, when the Jackets ranked 12th in the nation by allowing just 94.5 yards per game on the ground. Tech has held nine of its last 14 opponents under 100 yards rushing.
COOL HAND LUKE
Junior placekicker Luke Manget has set a new Atlantic Coast Conference record by making 97 consecutive extra points-every one he has ever attempted. Manget, who broke the record with five PAT against the Citadel, had a close call one game earlier when he originally missed his first PAT try against Syracuse for No. 92, but after a penalty provided a reprieve, he made the most of his second chance.
Manget surpassed the previous ACC record of 93 in a row by Jess Atkinson of Maryland (1981-84). He broke the former Tech record of 70 in a row by career scoring leader Scott Sisson from 1989-91 in just 17 games.
The NCAA record for consecutive extra points is 161 by John Becksvoort of Tennessee (1991-94).
CAMPBELL, BURNS FIND THE END ZONE
Already Tech’s career leader in receiving touchdowns by a wide margin with 21, Campbell ranks fourth overall with 24 touchdowns scored, trailing only Robert Lavette, Jerry Mays and Eddie Lee Ivery. Burns is right behind with 22 touchdowns scored.
Burns’ 20 rushing touchdowns is tied for fifth place.
CAREER TOUCHDOWNS Years TD1. Robert Lavette 1981-84 462. Jerry Mays 1985-89 283. Eddie Lee Ivery 1975-78 264. Kelly Campbell 1998- 24 C.J. Williams 1994-96 246. Leon Hardeman 1951-53 22 Joe Burns 1998- 22
CAREER RECEIVING TD Years TD 1. Kelly Campbell 1998- 21 2. Dez White 1997-99 14 Buck Martin 1950-52 14 Gary Lee 1983-86 14
CAREER RUSHING TD Years TD 1. Robert Lavette 1981-84 45 2. Eddie Lee Ivery 1975-78 22 Leon Hardeman 1951-53 22 4. David Sims 1974-76 21 5. C.J. Williams 1994-96 20 Joe Burns 1998- 20
GATHERS GATHERS SACKS 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. He already ranks fourth in the Tech history with 21 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 was 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. Greg Gathers 1999- 21
CAREER LEADERS: TACKLES FOR LOSS 1. Coleman Rudolph 1989-92 52 2. Marco Coleman 1989-91 50 3. Greg Gathers 1999- 39