ATLANTA (Oct. 24) – The seventh-ranked Georgia Tech football team returns to action after a week off as the Yellow Jackets host NC State Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field in a 3:30 p.m. Atlantic Coast Conference game that will be regionally televised by ABC-TV (WSB-TV in Atlanta).
The Yellow Jackets, 5-1 overall and in second place in the ACC with a 3-1 conference mark, defeated Duke, 38-31, in their last game. NC State (5-3, 2-3 ACC) is also coming off a win over Duke, a 31-24 overtime victory last Saturday.
“NC State is playing much better offensively, and they give you a lot of different looks on defense,” said Tech head coach George O’Leary. “Their defense has given them some big plays, and they have a quarterback that can make plays.”
Georgia Tech continues to lead the nation in total offense, averaging 516.5 yards per game behind the talents of quarterback Joe Hamilton (Alvin, S.C.) and the receiving duo of Dez White (Orange Park, Fla.) and Kelly Campbell (Atlanta, Ga.).
Hamilton has completed 102 of 151 passes for 1,671 yards and 14 touchdowns. Campbell leads the Jackets with 37 catches for 663 yards and four touchdowns, while White adds 23 receptions for 538 yards and four scores.
Tech leads the ACC and ranks 10th nationally in rushing with 234.3 yards per game, but the Yellow Jackets must overcome season-ending injuries to their top two tailbacks, Joe Burns (Thomasville, Ga.) and Phillip Rogers (Atlanta, Ga.). Tech’s rebuilt backfield now features sophomore Sean Gregory (Homewood, Ill.) at tailback. He has rushed for 353 yards (6.4-yard average) and five touchdowns. Hamilton is the Jackets’ top rusher with 384 yards (4.6 average) and six touchdowns.
The NC State attack is directed by senior quarterback Jamie Barnette, who has completed 100 of 194 passes for 1,336 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. While Tech is playing without its top two tailbacks, the Wolfpack has lost its starting receivers, Chris Coleman and Ryan Hamrick, but freshman Koren Robinson has stepped in to catch 22 passes for a 17.8-yard average and one touchdown. Tailback Rahshon Spikes leads the ground game with 531 yards and four touchdowns.
“Like us, they’ve been besieged by some injuries, but they have some freshmen that are doing a good job,” said O’Leary.
THE SERIES WITH NC STATE
Georgia Tech has won four in a row over the Wolfpack to take an 11-7 lead in the series, which dates back to 1918 when the John Heisman-coached Yellow Jackets downed NC State, 128-0. Last season, Tech won 47-24 in Raleigh, and the Jackets captured the last meeting in Atlanta, 27-17 in 1997.
Tech holds a 7-2 advantage at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. The Jackets have won the last four games in Atlanta, where the Wolfpack’s only victories were in 1988, by a 14-6 score, and 1984 by a 27-22 margin.
In 1998 in Raleigh, quarterback Joe Hamilton passed for 236 yards and accounted for three touchdowns and cornerback Jason Bostic returned a fumble and a blocked punt for touchdowns as Georgia Tech defeated NC State, 47-24, at Carter Finley Stadium. Hamilton tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Dez White as Tech broke the game open with 28 second-quarter points, and then the Tech signal caller added two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
In 1997 in the last meeting at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field, Hamilton piled up 364 yards of total offense in Tech 27-17 victory. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 293 yards and rushed 16 times for 71 yards, including an 18-yard scoring run with 5:34 to play that broke a 17-17 tie.
THE NATION’S LEADING PASSER
As he has all season, quarterback Joe Hamilton continues to lead the nation in passing with an efficiency rating of 185.8.
Hamilton also leads the ACC and ranks second in the nation in total offense, averaging 342.5 yards per game. That average is higher than 35 teams in Division I-A, including four ACC teams-Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina and NC State.
HAMILTON, WHITE APPROACH MILESTONES
Georgia Tech’s battery of quarterback Joe Hamilton and split end Dez White each have a chance to etch their names in the Georgia Tech record book.
Hamilton’s next touchdown pass will be the 51st of his career and would tie the Tech career record, currently held by Shawn Jones.
White’s next touchdown reception will also tie the Rambling Wreck career record of 14, currently shared by Buck Martin and Gary Lee.
Junior Dez White and sophomore Kelly Campbell form one of the most dangerous receiving duos in the nation, and one of the best in school history. The pair have combined for 60 catches, 1,201 yards (20.0 average) and eight touchdowns.
Campbell (37 receptions, 663 yards, 4 TDs) leads the ACC in receiving yards at 110.5 per game, which is sixth in the nation. He is third in the ACC and 25th nationally with 6.2 receptions per game. White (23-538-4) is fourth in the ACC and 25th nationally in with 89.7 yards per game. His average of 23.4 yards per catch leads the ACC.
In the last three games, White and Campbell have turned in three of the top nine individual receiving efforts in school history. White had 215 receiving yards against Maryland, and then Campbell had 203 versus North Carolina and 190 against Duke.
With five games to play, White and Campbell are already the sixth most productive receiving tandem in Tech history.
TOP RECEIVING TANDEMS IN TECH HISTORY
1,464 Harvey Middleton (839) & Derrick Steagall (625), 19971,370 John Sias (902) & Joel Stevenson (468), 19681,265 Harvey Middleton (804) & Mike Sheridan (461), 19961,233 Bobby Rodriguez (621) & Jason McGill (612), 19921,206 Dez White (973) & Charlie Rogers (233), 19981,201 Kelly Campbell (663) & Dez White (538), 1999
CLIMBING ACC LISTS
The Georgia Tech-NC State game features two quarterbacks who are climbing the Atlantic Coast Conference career charts in Tech’s Joe Hamilton and the Wolfpack’s Jamie Barnette.
Both rank among the top seven in ACC history in passing yards, touchdown passes, total offense and TDR. While Barnette, who has played two more games this season, has more passing yards, Hamilton has the edge in total offense. Hamilton also owns the top career passing efficiency rating in ACC history at 145.31.
Comparison Hamilton BarnetteGames 38 40Passing Yards/Rank 7,493 / 7th 8,477 / 3rd Record: 9,614 by Ben Bennett, Duke (1980-83)TD Passes/Rank 50 / 6th 56 / 2nd Record: 57, Danny Kanell, Florida State (1992-95)Total Offense/Rank 8,901 / 4th 8,615 / 5th Record: 9,296, Shawn Jones, Georgia Tech (1989-92)TDR/Rank: 68 / 4th 69 / 3rd Record: 83, Shawn Moore, Virginia (1987-90)