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Tech Football Enhances Opportunity for Gator Bowl

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Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton (14) throws under pressure from Clemson’s Terry Jolly (92). Hamilton passed for 322 yards, ran for 88 yards, and had 5 passing touchdowns, tying a school record. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

ATLANTA (Nov. 13) — Heisman Trophy candidate Joe Hamilton led an assault on the Georgia Tech and Atlantic Coast Conference record books as he accounted for 410 yards of total offense and threw a career-high five touchdown passes, and the Rambling Wreck defense contributed key stops when necessary as 13th-ranked Georgia Tech outlasted Clemson, 45-42 before a sell-out crowd of 46,085 fans at Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field and a regional TV audience on the ACC Jefferson-Pilot TV Network.

With still two games remaining in his regular season, Hamilton, who completed 22 of 30 passes on the day for 322 yards and rushed 19 times for 88 more yards, shattered the Georgia Tech single season marks for most passing yards (2,438 yards) and total offense (3,042 yards). He tied a Tech school record for most TD passes in a game with five, equaling the school mark set by Eddie McAshan in 1972 and moved ahead of N. C. State quarterback Jamie Barnette (58) for first place on the all-time Atlantic Coast Conference TD pass list with 60.

The victory put Tech in sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 5-2 ACC. The win gave the Jackets a 7-2 record and put Tech in the running for a post-season bowl bid from the Toyota Gator Bowl. Tech has two games remaining: facing ACC rival Wake Forest next week in Winston-Salem (3:30 p.m.) and arch-rival Georgia in a non-conference contest at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Nov. 27 (1 p.m.).

Clemson fell to 5-5 with the loss and finished 5-3 in the conference with only a non-conference date remaining with South Carolina next week.

Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton, right, embraces Clemson quarterback Woodrow Dantzler (1) after Tech beat Clemson 45-42. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

Hamilton’s play early as well as the inspired play of Tech’s defense got the Jackets early leads of 17-0 and 24-7.

Tech got on the board first on its second possession of the game. After a short punt by Clemson’s Ryan Romano was returned 13 yards to the Tiger 31, Tech took four plays to score with tailback Sean Gregory tallying from three yards out with 10:08 remaining in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

The Jackets then were moving again on their next possession, as Hamilton marched Tech 48 yards in just five plays. Hamilton teamed up with flanker Kelly Campbell for a 28-yard touchdown play and with 7:14 reamining in the opening stanza, Tech held a 14-0 advantage.

Tech’s defense harried Clemson starting quarterback Brandon Streeter through the first quarter and the Jackets’ defense knocked the senior Tiger quarterback out of the game with a dislocated hip late in the first quarter. Tech held a for third straight time, but this time the Jackets began from their own six yardline.

But Hamilton completed five straight passes on the drive-a 94-yard march in sven plays-including a 42-yard touchdown strike to Campbell for a 21-0 lead with 1:18 remaining in the first quarter.

With Streeter relegated to the sidelines, though, Clemson turned to backup quarterback William Dantzler, and the moved proved to be a good one. Dantzler, who would go on to complete 13 of 24 passes for 185 yards and two scores while rushing for 120 more yards and a third TD on 26 carries.

Dantzler promptly moved the Tigers 80 yards in just six plays, starting the march with three runs for 25 yards and completing it with a pair of 17-yard strikes to tight end Pat Cyrgalis, the last for a touchdown which cut Tech’s margin to 21-7 with 14:36 remaining in the second quarter.

Tech, though, responded quickly, taking just a 1:16 to cover 71 yards in only three plays. Hamilton started the drive wth a 56-yard swing pass to tailback Sea Gregory, then completed it with a 12-yard TD toss to tight end Conrad Andrejewski for a 28-7 lead with 13:20 remaining.

The offensive production, however, did not slow down as Clemson would take only four plays and just 1:05 to answer. The key on the drive were a 41-yard pass from Dantzler to Rod Gardner and then Dantzler finished the drive off with a 22-yard run around right end for the score and with 12:15 remaining, Tech’s lead was narrowed to 28-14.

The Tigers got on the board on their next possession with some help from special teams play. DoMarco Fox broke through and partially blocked a Dan Dyke punt which traveled just 12 yards to the Tech 29. It took Clemson just five plays to score, with Travis Zachery scoring from one uyard out and with 9:46 remaining in the half, Clemson had pulled to within 28-21.

On Tech’ next possession, Hamilton fumbled a pitch which was recovered by Clemson’s Robert Carswell at the Tech 41. It took the Tigers 10 plays, though, to cover the 41 yards with Zachery tallying his second score of the day from one yard out and with 4:45 remaining before intermission, the score was all tied at 28.

Tech recovered its lost momentum, though, in the third quarter. First Tech’s defense stopped the Tigers on a three and out and then Hamilton led the Jackets on a 43-yard drive in 12 plays, personally accounting for all of the yardage on the march. But when the drive stalled at the Clemson 19, freshman placekicker came in to boot a 36 yard field goal and with 9:25 remaining in the quarter, Tech ha d a31-28 advantage.

The Jackets were on the march again on their next possession, marching 73 yards in 12 plays with Hamilton again being the key. First the Alvin, S. C. native scrambled for 14 yards on a crucial third and 13 play to start the drive, then converted two other third down plays on the drive including a nine-yard TD toss to flanker Kerry Watkins for a 38-28 lead with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter.

Tech which did not allow a first down to Clemson in the third quarter, seemed to put the game away on its next possession, marching 63 yard in seven plays with Hamilton throwing a short three-yard scoring pass to fullback Ed Wilder for a 45-28 advantage with 14:L24 remaining in the game.

But the Tigers would not go away quietly. First, Dantzler marched Clemson on a 56-yard, nine-play drive which he capped with a 19-yard TD toss to flanker Mal Lawyer and with 11:44 still remaining in the game, Tech’s lead stood at only 45-35.

On the Jackets next possession, Clemson cornerback Alex Ardley stepped in front of Tech wide receiver Dez White and intercepted a Hamilton pass at the Tech 31. Eight plays later, Zachery knotched his third one-yard touchdown run of the game and with 6:58 remaining in the game, Clemson had come almost all the way back, trailing by only three at 45-42.

To make Matters worse, Tech’s offense was unable to move the football and Dan Dyke’s punt traveled just 33 yards to the Tech 49. A blcok in the back penalty puched the ball back to the Clemson 41.

From there, Dantzler scrambled for a first down on the Tech 46 yard line. After a pass incompletion and a seven-yard pass to Lawyer, the Tigers faced a third and three situation. The Tigers elected to run a reverse, but Clemson’s Joe Don Reemes was thrown for a four-yard loss by Tech defensive end Andy Josephson forcing a fourth down play. But Tech defensive back Chris Young then deflected a fourth down pass play on a deep pass inside the Tech 10-yard line and the Jackets took over at their own 43.

Georgia Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton (14) runs the football and is brought down by Clemson’s Altroy Bodrick (42). Hamilton had 322 passing yards, 88 running yards, and 5 passing touchdowns, tying a school record. Georgia Tech won 45-42. (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

From there, Tech ran out the final 3:07 of the game, marching 56 yards on eight plays, all runs, including a key 13-yard run by Hamilton on a third down play to the Clemson 26. The game ended with Tech at the Tigers one-yard line.

In all, the combined 87 points by the two teams set a record for the 63 meetings of the Clemson-Georgia Tech series. The previous high of 73 having come in a 73-0 Clemson victory when John Heisman was coaching the Tigers in 1903. The 45 points by Tech was its third best total ever against the Tigers.

Additionally, Tech defeated the Tigers for the third straight time for the first time since the Jackets defeated the Tigers four straight years during the 1970-73 seasons.

Hamilton’s 410 yards of total offense was the highest ever by an opponent against the Tigers. The previous best having been a 408-yard outing by Maryland quarterback John Kaleo in 1992.

Flanker Kelly Campbell’s two touchdown receptions gave him nine for the season, tying the single-season Tech record which was originally set by Jimmy Robinson in 1972 and tied last year by Dez White.

Campbell recorded his fourth 100-yard recrption game of the year, making eight catches for 135 yards.

Tech tailback Sean Gregory, who rushed for 101 yards on 24 carries, became the first Tech running back to top the 100-yard mark in three straight games since former Tech great Jerry Mays turned the trick againt Virginia, South Carolina and Maryland in 1989. Gregory tallied the fourth 100-yard game of the year.

Freshman placekicker Luke Manget tied a single-season record with his 46th PAT of the season and now has 70 points by kicking on the season.

The Yellow Jackets started four true freshman on defense against the Tigers including free safety Cory Collins, nickle back Jeremy Muyres, linebacker Record Wimbush and defensive end Greg Gathers.

Tech, the nation’s top offense averaging 513 yards and 41.1 points a game, totaled 535 yards and 45 points against a defense ranked seventh nationally in pass efficiency defense.

CLEMSON        0  28   0  14 -- 42GEORGIA TECH  21   7  10   7 -- 45  SCORING SUMMARYGT-Gregory 3 Run (Manget Kick), 10:08, 1stGT-Campbell 28 Pass from Hamilton (Manget Kick), 7:14, 1stGT-Campbell 42 Pass from Hamilton (Manget Kick), 1:18, 1stCL-Cyrgalis 17 Pass from Dantzler (Lazzara Kick), 14:36, 2ndGT-Andrejewski 12 Pass from Hamilton (Manget Kick), 13:20, 2ndCL-Dantzler 22 Run (Lazzara Kick), 12:15, 2ndCL-Zachery 1 Run (Lazzara Kick), 9:46, 2ndCL-Zachery 1 Run (Lazzara Kick), 4:45, 2ndGT-Manget 36 FG, 9:25, 3rdGT-Watkins 9 Pass from Hamilton (Manget Kick), 3:32, 3rdGT-Wilder 3 Pass from Hamilton (Manget Kick), 14:24, 3rdCL-Lawyer 19 Pass from Dantzler (Lazzara Kick), 11:44, 4thCL-Zachery 1 Run (Lazzara Kick), 6:58, 4thATT.-46,085                     GT       CLFirst Downs          29       21Rushes-Att-Yds       48-215   49-231Passing Yards        322      197TOTAL OFFENSE        537      428Passes-Cmp-Int       22-30-2  17-31-0 Punts                3-30.7   6-39.7Fumbles              2-1      2-0Penalties            2-10     8-55Sacks By             2-15     3-103rd Down Conversions 11-17    8-194th Down Conversions 0-0      2-4Time of Possession   33:35    26:25LEADING RUSHERS:GT- Gregory, 24-101, 1 TD;  Hamilton, 19-89;  White, 3-18.CL-Dantzler, 26-120, 1 TD;  Zachery, 18-86, 3 TD;  Rambert, 2-17.LEADING PASSERSGT--Hamilton, 22-30-2, 322, 5 TD;  CL-Dantzler, 13-24-0, 185, 2 TD;  Streeter, 4-7-0, 12.LEADING RECEIVERSGT-Campbell, 8-135, 2 TD; Watkins, 5-44, 1 TD ; White, 4-50.CL-Cyrgalis, 4-58, 1 TD;  Lawyer, 4-42, 1 TD;  Rod Gardner, 2-45.

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