Nov. 28, 2001
ATLANTA – Georgia Tech has accepted an invitation to play in the inaugural Seattle Bowl, set to kickoff at 4 p.m. Eastern time on Dec. 27 at SAFECO Field. The Yellow Jackets will face Stanford, the 10th-ranked team in the Bowl Championship Series, before a national television audience on ESPN.
Chuck Nelson, the chairman of the Seattle Bowl Committee, extended the invitation at a 1:30 p.m. Eastern time press conference Wednesday. The Seattle Bowl, formerly the Oahu Bowl, is managed and operated by the Sports and Events Council of Seattle/King County on behalf of Aloha Sports Inc.
Georgia Tech season ticket holders have been mailed an order form which they can use to purchase tickets in the Tech allotment for the Seattle Bowl. Tickets in the Tech sections, which are $50, also may be ordered online at Ramblinwreck.com or by phone at 888-TECH-TIX. The capacity of SAFECO Field is 47,000 for football.
Tech, 7-4 overall and in fourth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 4-3, plays its final regular-season and conference game Saturday at Florida State (3:30 p.m.). The Jackets are going to a bowl game for the fifth straight year for the first time since a six-year streak from 1951-56. Among Tech’s victories are Syracuse, NC State and Wake Forest, all bowl eligible teams, and North Carolina, which can become bowl eligible with a win over SMU Saturday. Two of Tech’s losses came in overtime and a third occurred by a single point.
Stanford, which has clinched at least a second-place tie in the Pacific 10 Conference, is currently 8-2 and will be attempting to win nine regular season games for only the second time since 1951 in its season finale against San Jose State. Both Cardinal losses this season came in the fourth quarter to top-ranked conference opponents Washington and Washington State. At one point in the season, Stanford knocked off two top-five teams in UCLA and this year’s Pac-10 champion Oregon.
“We’re very happy to be going to Seattle for our fifth straight bowl, and we thank the Seattle Bowl Committee for inviting Georgia Tech,” said Dave Braine, Tech director of athletics. “The fact that we’re in a bowl for the fifth straight year, a first since the 1950s, is very important to us, and we’re excited to keep that streak going. It’s a great reward to our players and coaches who have worked hard and had a good season, despite some disappointments along the way.”
Tech and Stanford have met once before, on Christmas Day 1991 when the Yellow Jackets defeated the Cardinal, 18-17, in the final minute of the Aloha Bowl in Honolulu, Hawaii. Tech capped an 8-5 season with that victory, which was the last game for the head coaches of the respective schools at the time, Tech’s Bobby Ross and Stanford’s Dennis Green, who each went on to achieve success in the National Football League.
George O’Leary, in his seventh year as Tech’s head coach with a 52-32 record, was in his fifth season as the Jackets’ defensive coordinator at the time, and went with Ross to the San Diego Chargers following the Aloha Bowl.
“I’m pleased that we’re going to a fifth straight bowl game and happy for our seniors to be finishing their careers in a bowl,” said O’Leary, the 2000 Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year. “They deserve it, and we thank the Seattle Bowl Committee for extending the invitation. We look forward to playing a what looks to be a very strong Stanford team.”
Senior quarterback George Godsey leads a Yellow Jacket offense that averages 33.1 points and 426.3 yards per game, both third in the ACC. Godsey leads the ACC in passing yards (2,810) and completion percentage (64.9 percent), while connecting for 18 touchdown passes. All-ACC tailback Joe Burns, just the fifth player in Tech history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season (1,126 yards), has a league-best 12 touchdowns on the ground.
Burns was joined on the all-ACC first team by senior wide receiver Kelly Campbell (49 receptions, 644 yards, 3 TD, 23 kickoff returns, 23.8 average), freshman tackle Nat Dorsey, junior placekicker Luke Manget, the ACC’s leader in scoring (92 points on 18 field goals and 38-of-38 PATs), junior defensive Greg Gathers, the ACC sack leader with 10, and return specialist Kelley Rhino, the ACC season record holder for punt return yards (491).
The Cardinal currently leads the Pac-10 in scoring offense, scoring 35 or more points in eight of its eleven games this season (36.7 avg.), and is second in total offense (449.1 ppg). Stanford features three first-team all-conference layers in offensive lineman Eric Heitmann, linebacker Coy Wire and special teamer Brian Allen. The Pac-10 announced also announced Monday wide receiver Teyo Johnson was named co-Freshman of the Year. The two-sport athlete (basketball) leads the team in receptions with 38 and touchdown receptions with seven.