Nov. 4, 2001
ATLANTA – After playing its most complete game of the season in defeating North Carolina, 17th-ranked Georgia Tech travels to Virginia for a 3:30 p.m. game at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., beginning a stretch in which the Yellow Jackets play three of their final four games on the road.
The game will not be televised but can be heard on the Georgia Tech ISP radio network, including Atlanta flagship WQXI-AM 790 The Zone, featuring the call of Wes Durham and Kim King.
Tech defeated the 22nd-ranked Tar Heels last Thursday to improve to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the ACC. Virginia has dropped five in a row since defeating Clemson on Sept. 22 and now stands at 3-6 overall, 2-5 in the ACC.
“We executed in all phases of the game against a very good North Carolina team,” said Tech head coach George O’Leary. “We’ve still got a lot of work to get done, but really for the first time this year, I saw all three areas-offense, defense and special teams-play up to their potential.
“Virginia had a very tough game against Wake Forest, but they are getting some people back healthy, including Antwoine Womack, who is an outstanding back.
“It’s a place where we’ve struggled, so we’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Tech quarterback George Godsey (Tampa, Fla.) has completed 64 percent of his passes for 1,878 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He directs a Tech offense that ranks averages 33.9 points and 434.2 yards per game.
Virginia, on the other hand, has rotated a pair of signal callers in sophomores Matt Schaub (1,206 yards, 9 TD, 7 int) and Bryson Spinner (933 yards, 9 TD, 4 int).
“They try to run similar offenses with the two quarterbacks,” said O’Leary. “Matt Schaub is a tall quarterback who is more of a dropback guy but can run the ball. Bryson Spinner can drop back but is more of an action guy who creates things in the backfield.”
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.
The game features two of the ACC’s most productive pass catchers in Campbell and Virginia’s Billy McMullen. The Cavaliers’ wideout leads the league receptions (7.0 per game) and receiving yards (87.9), while Campbell ranks second (6.43) in receptions and third in yardage (85.6).
The attention that Campbell attracts from defenses has led to the emergence of sophomore Jonathan Smith (Argyle, Ga.), who has 38 catches for 423 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Kerry Watkins (LaPlace, La.) has 24 catches for 422 yards but leads the team in touchdown catches (4) and yards per catch (17.6).
Burns, the ACC’s second-leading rusher, is the backfield workhorse with 827 yards rushing and nine touchdowns on 192 attempts, highlighted by a career-best 198 yards against North Carolina.
Gathers leads the league with nine sacks, along with 15 tackles for loss. Rogers adds nine tackles for loss and four sacks. Linebackers Keyaron Fox (Atlanta, Ga.) and Recardo Wimbush (Blakely, Ga.) are Tech’s top tacklers with 60 and 58, respectively. The defense received a boost from the return of standout middle linebacker Daryl Smith (Albany, Ga.), who missed three-and-a-half games with a dislocated elbow but made his return against North Carolina.
Tech placekicker Luke Manget, a junior from Conyers, Ga., is the ACC’s leading scorer with 29-of-29 PAT and 14-of-22 field goals for 71 points.
GEORGIA TECH VS. VIRGINIA Georgia Tech leads the series with Virginia, 12-10-1, but the two teams have split the last six meetings. Tech won last year’s game, 35-0, in a Thursday night ESPN game in Atlanta, while the Cavaliers captured the last meeting in Charlottesville, 45-38 in 1999. Before last year’s lopsided win by the Yellow Jackets, the previous four games were decided by a total of 20 points.
Tech has not enjoyed much success in Charlottesville, posting a 2-5-1 mark there. Since defeating the then-No. 1-ranked Cavaliers, 41-38, at Charlottesville in 1990, the Jackets have lost four in a row on Virginia’s home field. Tech’s last two losses at Scott Stadium-45-38 in 1999 and 35-31 in 1997-have been by a total of 11 points.
LAST MEETING WITH VIRGINIA
In 2000 in Atlanta, George Godsey completed 29 of 37 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns as the 23rd-ranked Yellow Jackets dominated Virginia, 35-0, in an ESPN Thursday night game. Tech piled up 627 yards of offense-the second-best figure in school history-while holding the Cavaliers to just 290 yards. The shutout was the first for the Tech defense since 1993, while Virginia was blanked for the first time since 1984. Tech’s Kelly Campbell scored on a 50-yard run and a 33-yard catch, while Joe Burns added 120 yards rushing and two scores.
DEFENSE SNUFFS GROUND GAME
Georgia Tech’s defense turned in a stellar performance in the Yellow Jackets’ 28-21 victory over North Carolina. Tech held the Tar Heels to just 13 yards rushing, the best performance by the Rambling Wreck defense since allowing eight yards last season against Central Florida and the seventh lowest figure in school history. Amazingly, Tech had no sacks in the game.
Tech leads the ACC and ranks 12th in the nation in rushing defense, allowing just 93.4 yards per game. Last season, the Jackets were also 12th nationally against the run. Over the last two years, Tech has held 11 of 19 opponents under 100 yards rushing and allowed an average of 93.2 yards per game on the ground.
DORSEY RISES TO CHALLENGE
True freshman left tackle Nat Dorsey (New Orleans, La.) more than held his own in his battle with North Carolina all-America defensive end Julius Peppers in Georgia Tech’s 28-21 victory. Dorsey did not allow a sack and helped limit Peppers to just two tackles as the Tech offense gained 424 total yards, including 237 yards rushing.
Dorsey is Tech’s biggest player at 6-6 and 315 pounds but also the youngest, having just turned 18 years old on Sept. 9. He has been in the starting lineup since the fourth game of the season.
DEFENSE LEADS ACC
The Georgia Tech defense leads the ACC in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense while ranking second in passing defense. The Yellow Jackets are allowing just 17.0 points and 291.4 yards per game, including 91.4 yards on the ground.
Tech ranks 12th in the nation in rushing defense and total defense and 14th in scoring defense. The Jackets are second in the ACC in sacks with 28.
Tech has held every opponent this season except Clemson to 303 total yards or fewer.
BURNS BURNS BRIGHT
Junior tailback Joe Burns is Georgia Tech’s leading rusher with 827 yards, a 4.3 average and nine touchdowns. He recorded his fifth 100-yard game and the 10th of his career with a career-best 198 yards against North Carolina.
Burns currently ranks second in the ACC in rushing with 103.4 yards per game, but in ACC games, he is averaging 123.4 yards.
Burns has raised his career rushing total to 2,296 yards, good for fifth place in Tech history. He also ranks second with 26 career rushing touchdowns and 29 touchdowns overall.
CAREER RUSHING Years Yards Needs1. Robert Lavette 1981-84 4,066 1,7652. Jerry Mays 1985-89 3,699 1,4043. Eddie Lee Ivery 1975-78 3,517 1,2224. C.J. Williams 1994-96 2,365 705. Joe Burns 1998- 2,296
BURNS RUNS HARD IN FOURTH QUARTER
Running back Joe Burns has been a workhorse in the fourth quarter this season, gaining 275 yards on 54 carries in five games.
The junior from Thomasville, Ga., was at his best in the final period of Tech’s win over North Carolina, gaining 82 of his career-best 198 yards on 10 fourth-quarter carries. His 51-yard run midway through the fourth gave Tech a 28-14 lead, and after a UNC touchdown, he helped the Jackets consume the final 5:29 with another 29 yards rushing.
Burns rushed 13 times for 66 yards in the fourth quarter against Clemson, including a one-yard touchdown run. Against Syracuse, he gained 71 of his 113 yards on Tech’s final clock-consuming drive, which ended just shy of the goal line as time ran out. He did not play in the fourth quarter of lopsided wins over Citadel, Navy and Duke.
MANGET ADDS ANOTHER RECORD
Placekicker Luke Manget booted two more extra points against North Carolina to extend his Georgia Tech and Atlantic Coast Conference-record streak to 120 in a row. In doing so, he also broke the Tech record for PAT in a career, surpassing Scott Sisson, who was 119-for-121 in his career.
Manget, whose career field goal percentage of .685 (37-for-54) is the best in school history, now has 231 career points to rank second among Tech kickers and third overall. In ACC annals, he is 14th among kickers and 24th overall.