ATLANTA-Eighteenth-ranked Georgia Tech puts its six-game winning streak on the line against its oldest rival as the Yellow Jackets travel to No. 19 Georgia Saturday, November 25 for a 12 noon contest at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.
The game will be nationally televised on CBS (WGCL in Atlanta), with announcers Craig Bolerjack and Dean Blevins. The radio broadcast on the Georgia Tech-ISP Sports Network, including Atlanta flagship WGST 640 AM, has Wes Durham as the play-by-play voice and former Tech quarterback Kim King as the color analyst.
Georgia Tech recorded its sixth straight win Saturday with a 35-22 decision at Maryland, improving the Jackets’ record to 8-2 overall, 6-2 in the ACC. The Bulldogs (7-3, 5-3 SEC) are coming off a 32-14 victory over Mississippi.
“The kids have done a great job of playing one game at a time, and we’ve gotten better each week,” said Tech head coach George O’Leary. “That’s the great thing about having a young club.
“We have an other great opportunity this week against a very good Georgia team. We’ve gotten more and more players on our football team from the state of Georgia, so of course the intensity of that game picks up.
“Both teams have done a good job this year, and I think it should be a great college game.”
Tech quarterback George Godsey is second in the ACC and fourth in the nation with a passing efficiency rating of 156.7. The junior from Tampa, Fla., has completed 202 of 314 passes (64 percent) for 2,684 yards and 22 touchdowns with just four interceptions.
Kelly Campbell paces a balanced receiving corps with 58 catches for 940 yards and eight touchdowns. Seven Yellow Jackets have at least 18 catches, including Kerry Watkins (LaPlace, La.) with 23 catches for a 19.4-yard average and five scores.
In the last five games, Campbell has caught 34 passes for 643 yards and scored nine touchdowns. The junior from Atlanta averages 155.0 all-purpose yards per game and leads the nation with an average of 18.5 yards per play.
Tailback Joe Burns (Thomasville, Ga.) is fifth in the ACC in rushing with 825 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is also Tech’s second-leading receiver (25 catches for 240 yards) and leading scorer (13 TD). Backups Sean Gregory (Homewood, Ill.), Sidney Ford (Lindale, Ga.) and Jermaine Hatch (Baton Rouge, La.) have combined for 668 yards on 142 carries (4.7 average) and three touchdowns.
Tech’s offensive line continues to play well, led by senior guard Brent Key (Trussville, Ala.) and senior tackle Chris Brown (Augusta, Ga.), helping the Jackets lead the ACC in fewest sacks allowed (16).
Over the last five games, the Georgia Tech offense has averaged 549.8 yards and 39.6 points per game. That includes averages of 337.0 yards passing and 212.8 yards rushing.
Tech’s defense has also played well, holding opponents to 326.0 yards and 15.0 points per game over the last four contests.
Linebacker Recardo Wimbush (Blakely, Ga.) is Tech’s top tackler with 83, followed by true freshman linebacker Daryl Smith (Albany, Ga.) with 80.
Sophomore defensive end Greg Gathers (LaPlace, La.) has 57 tackles and an ACC-leading 13 sacks, while junior defensive end Nick Rogers (East Point, Ga.) adds nine sacks and 58 tackles. Sophomore safety Jeremy Muyres (Stone Mountain, Ga.) leads the team with four interceptions and 10 pass breakups.
TECH CLAIMS WIN NO. 600
Georgia Tech’s 35-22 victory over Maryland last Saturday was the 600th win in the program’s history. Now in its 108th season of intercollegiate football, Georgia Tech has an all-time record of 600-403-43 (.594). There are now 21 teams in Division I-A with 600 victories, as North Carolina also earned win No. 600 last Saturday.
TECH HEADED TO FOURTH STRAIGHT BOWL
With eight victories, Georgia Tech is all but assured of earning a fourth consecutive bowl berth, following the 1997 Carquest Bowl and the Gator Bowl in 1999 and 2000. Tech has not played in four straight bowls in nearly half a century, since the days of legendary head coach Bobby Dodd, who guided the Jackets to six straight bowls from 1951-56.
Tech has won at least eight games for the third straight season, also a first for the program since 1951-56.
SIX STRAIGHT WINS
Georgia Tech has won six straight games since dropping a 30-23 overtime decision at NC State on Sept. 21. Tech also had a six-game winning streak in 1998-99, winning its final five games of 1998 and then its 1999 opener. The last time the Jackets had a longer winning streak was 1989-90 when Tech won the final four games of 1989 and then its first five games of 1990 en route to the national title.
THE SERIES VS. GEORGIA
Georgia Tech has won two in a row over Georgia to snap a seven-game winning streak by the Bulldogs. Tech has not won three in a row over Georgia since 1961-62-63.
The rivalry, in which the Governor’s Cup is awarded, began with a 28-6 Tech win in 1893. The two teams have met 94 times, including every year since 1925, and Georgia leads the series 52-37-5.
Tech won last year’s game in Atlanta, 51-48 in overtime on Luke Manget’s 38-yard field goal. The Jackets also captured the last meeting in Athens, 21-19 in 1998 on Brad Chambers’ 35-yard field goal with two seconds left. The Bulldogs’ last victory was a 27-24 decision in 1997 in Atlanta on Cory Allen’s touchdown catch with eight seconds left.
Tech’s 1998 win in Athens was the Jackets’ first at Sanford Stadium since 1990 on their third since 1974. Tech has a an 11-25-1 record on Georgia’s home field, including a 9-22-1 mark in Sanford Stadium.
The last five games between Georgia Tech and Georgia have been decided by a total of 18 points, including two Tech victories and three wins by the Bulldogs.
1999: In a game that featured 1,104 yards of offense, Luke Manget’s 38-yard field goal in overtime lifted Tech to a 51-48 victory. The Bulldogs overcame a 41-24 deficit in the second half and took a 48-41 lead with 5:12 to play. After Tech tied the game on Will Glover’s six-yard touchdown catch with 2:37 to play, Georgia appeared ready to win the game in regulation when Jasper Sanks’ fumble at the Tech one-yard-line forced overtime.
1998: Brad Chambers’ 35-yard field goal with two seconds left capped a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback in Tech’s 21-19 victory in Athens, the Jackets’ first win in the series since 1990. Chambers’ field goal capped a 52-yard, 10-play drive.
1997: Mike Bobo’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Cory Allen with eight seconds left gave the Bulldogs a 27-24 victory in Atlanta. Tech scored 14 straight points, capped by Charles Wiley’s three-yard touchdown run, to take a 24-21 lead with 48 seconds left.
1996: Georgia won 19-10 in Athens.
1995: Kanon Parkman’s 34-yard field goal with 47 seconds left gave Georgia an 18-17 victory in Atlanta.
WHO LET THE GOOSE OUT?
Quarterback George Godsey seems to get better with each game. The junior from Tampa, Fla., has averaged 377.0 yards passing over the last three games. In the last five games, he has thrown for 1,626 yards (335.2 average) and 12 touchdowns while completing nearly 70 percent of his passes (110-for-159). He has thrown 129 straight passes without an interception.
For the season, he has passed for 2,684 yards and 22 touchdowns with only four interceptions while directing a Tech offense that averages 34.5 points per game.
“Goose” is enjoying the second-best passing season in school history, surpassed only by the 1999 campaign turned in by Heisman runner-up Joe Hamilton. Godsey’s 22 touchdown passes and 2,684 yards passing are second only to Hamilton’s 3,060 yards and 29 touchdowns in 1999. Godsey’s pass efficiency rating of 156.7, which is currently second in the ACC and fourth in the nation, would also rank second to Hamilton’s 175.0.
DEFENSE DOESN’T REST
Through the first six games, Tech was allowing 401.8 yards per game. For the last four games, the Jackets have held their opponents to 326.0 yards and 15.0 points per game.
Tech had a shutout string of six consecutive quarters before Maryland managed a touchdown in the third quarter. The Terrapins added two late scores against Tech’s second unit.
Tech ranks second in the ACC and 18th nationally in rushing defense (101.3) and third in the ACC and 27th in the nation in scoring defense (19.4).
OFFENSE GETS ROLLING
Over the last five games-victories over Wake Forest, Duke, Clemson, Virginia and Maryland-the Georgia Tech offense has averaged 548.9 yards and 39.6 points per game. That includes averages of 337.0 yards passing and 212.8 yards rushing.
Tech has topped 500 yards of offense in four of those five games, including two of the top eight single-game total offense performances in school history with 627 yards versus Virginia (second best) and 578 yards against Wake Forest (eighth best).
OFFENSIVE LINE COMES TOGETHER
One of the keys to Georgia Tech’s offensive improvement over the course of the season has been the play of the Rambling Wreck offensive line. Tech leads the ACC in fewest sacks allowed with 16, including just 14 by the starting five. In the last five games, the Jackets have allowed just two sacks on 169 pass attempts.
The leaders of the line, and the offensive unit, are senior left tackle Chris Brown and senior right guard Brent Key, both all-star candidates and four-year starters. Brown has twice been named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week this season.
Tech has also gotten steady play all season from junior center David Schmidgall, a former walk-on in his first year as a starter, while sophomore left guard Raymond Roberts-Blake and redshirt freshman right tackle John Bennett have made great strides.
CONTROLLING THE CLOCK
Georgia Tech leads the ACC in time of possession, controlling the clock for 32:40 per game while averaging better than 74 offensive plays a game. One reason for those numbers is an ACC-leading 49.7 percent success rate on third down conversions.
In the last three games, Tech has held the ball for an average of 36:39 average while running an average of 91 plays and converting 34 of 57 (60 percent) third down attempts. The Jackets ran 97 plays in 38:15 against Clemson, followed by 94 plays in 37:53 versus Virginia, when Tech was 14-for-19 on third down.
YOUTH IS SERVED
Georgia Tech will graduate only 10 scholarship seniors from this year’s team.
Youth is particularly evident on the Tech defense, where only three seniors see significant action in tackle Tony Robinson, end Felipe Claybrooks and cornerback Jamara Clark. Six of Tech’s 11 defensive starters are in their first or second year in the program (true freshman, redshirt freshman or true sophomore).
JACKETS LEAD ACC IN TURNOVER MARGIN
After ranking at the bottom of Division I-A last season, Georgia Tech leads the ACC and ranks second nationally in turnover margin at +1.70.
The Tech defense has garnered 13 interceptions (by nine different players) and recovered 14 fumbles. Tech’s defense has set up the offense for 76 points (10 TDs and two FG) following interceptions and fumble recoveries.
Four additional touchdowns have been set up by special teams with a fumble recovery on kickoff coverage against Maryland, a fumble recovery on punt coverage against Wake Forest and two punt plays against North Carolina.
CAMPBELL CLIMBS RECEIVING LISTS
Kelly Campbell is on his way to becoming the most prolific receiver in Georgia Tech history. The junior from Atlanta already holds the Tech record for touchdown catches with 21, breaking the previous record of 14 that was shared by Dez White, Buck Martin and Gary Lee.
Campbell is now second in Rambling Wreck annals to Harvey Middleton in career receptions (138) and receiving yards (2,176), in which he is just 116 yards shy of Middleton’s record of 2,291. He also ranks seventh in career all-purpose yardage (2,971).
GATHERS GATHERS SACKS
In his sophomore season, Greg Gathers has already recorded 20 career sacks and 38 tackles for loss (including sacks).
The only Yellow Jackets with more career sacks or tackles for loss than Gathers are the all-America triumvirate Coleman Rudolph (who played three years in the NFL), Marco Coleman (one of this year’s NFL sack leaders) and Pat Swilling (a former NFL All-Pro).
Gathers has had at least one sack in 13 of the last 14 games and at least one tackle for loss in 15 straight contests.
Gathers and teammate Felipe Claybrooks are climbing Tech’s career lists in those categories.
CAREER LEADERS: QB SACKS1. Coleman Rudolph 1989-92 28.52. Marco Coleman 1989-91 27.53. Pat Swilling 1982-85 234. Felipe Claybrooks 1997- 20 Greg Gathers 1999- 20CAREER LEADERS: TACKLES FOR LOSS1. Coleman Rudolph 1989-92 522. Marco Coleman 1989-91 504. Greg Gathers 1999- 383. Pat Swilling 1982-85 375. Felipe Claybrooks 1997- 36