|Flanker Kelly Campbell (6) pulls down one of his 11 receptions on the day. (AP Photo/Bob Jordan)|
DURHAM, N.C. (Oct. 16) – Georgia Tech’s unflappable Heisman Trophy candidate Joe Hamilton rallied the 8th-ranked Yellow Jackets in the fourth quarter for the sixth time in his career in foiling an upset bid by underdog Duke, 38-31, before 16,648 fans at Wallace Wade Stadium and a regional television audience on the Atlantic Coast Conference/Jefferson-Pilot TV Network.
Hamilton, who completed a career-high 23 of 34 passes on the day for 324 yards and two scores, brought the Jackets back in the fourth quarter for the 6th time in his career and for the second straight week as Tech rebounded from a 31-28 Blue Devil final-period advantage.
After the Blue Devils’ had taken a three-point lead on a 22-yard field goal by Sims Lenhardt with 13:11 to play in the game, Hamilton, who also rushed for 59 yards in 18 carries and totaled 383 yards on the afternoon, got the Jackets moving with an assist from Tech’s much-maligned defense.
With the Blue Devils clinging to the three-point margin and Tech’s offense momentarily stalled, Yellow Jacket punter Dan Dyke punted to the Blue Devil one.
Three plays netted Duke only six yards and Brian Morton’s punt traveled only 30 yards to the 37-yardline before going out of bounds.
From there, Hamilton efficiently marched Tech to the Duke four before two incomplete passes stalled the march. But Tech freshman placekicker Luke Manget came in and booted a 22-yard field goal of his own to knot the score at 31-all with 7:12 remaining in the game.
After gaining a pair of first downs, Tech’s defense again stopped the Blue devils and forced a punt which Marvious Hester returned 17 yards to the Tech 30.
It took Hamilton only four plays to guide Tech to the winning score, the first of which was a 36-yard pass play to flanker Kelly Campbell, who had 11 catches on the day for 190 yards in receptions.
After a one-yard run by sophomore tailback Sean Gregory, split end Dez White took an option pitch from Hamilton down the near sideline for 14 yards and first down at the Duke 19. On the very next play, Gregory ran 19 yards up the middle on a dive play for what proved to be the winning score with 1:52 remaining.
Duke had one more chance, though, but big plays by Tech’s defense including a sack of Romine for a 14 yard loss and a fourth-down pass deflection by cornerback Jamara Clark preserved Tech’s fourth straight victory.
The Yellow Jackets had started this game as if it would be a rout, scoring on its first three possessions to build a 21-0 lead just minutes into the second quarter.
First, after Tech took the opening kickoff, Hamilton directed an 81-yard, nine-play march, completing four passes on the drive including a 25-yard scoring toss to White for a 7-0 lead with 11:45 remaining in the quarter.
Duke’s first possession was cut short by an interception by Tech linebacker Matt Uremovich at the Tech 42. It would take Hamilton only six plays to cover the 58 yards, 50 of them in one play on a pass to Campbell which carried to the Duke five.
Three Phillip Rogers’ runs later-the last a one yard dive for the score–and Tech held a 14-0 lead with 6:16 still remaining in the opening stanza.
Tech’s defense then held the Blue Devils to three plays and out and, after a 56-yard punt by Morton, the Jackets began at their own 20.
Tech promptly marched 80 yards in 16 plays with Hamilton personally accounting for 73 yards on the drive with his running and passing. Rogers capped the march with a one-yard TD run and with13:29 remaining in the half, Tech held a 21-0 lead.
It was here that Duke began its comeback. First Romine, who completed 25 of 43 passes on the day for 294 yards and a TD, marched Duke 80 yards in just nine plays. Romine got the drive going with a 36-yard completion to Scottie Montgomery and capped it with a 7-yard scoring toss to Montgomery to trim the Tech lead to 21-7 with 9:38 remaining.
The Jackets fumbled on their next possession and Duke’s LeVar Johnson recovered at the Tech 44. Romine then marched the Blue Devils the 44 yards in seven plays, completing the drive with a one-yard sneak and with 5:21 remaining in the first half, Tech led 21-14.
The Jackets reasserted themselves on their next possession marching 75 yards in 12 plays, Hamilton, who completed five passes on the drive accounted for the TD with a 14-yard toss to split end Jon Muyres and ith just 41 seconds prior to intermission, Tech led 28-14.
But Duke came out and, behind Romine, dominated the third quarter marching 80 yards in nine plays and 64 yards in 15 plays to tally 10 points on a five-yard Romine run and a 22-yard field goal by Lenhardt to trim the Tech lead to 28-24.
In all the Blue Devils amassed 144 yards to Tech’s 20.
Duke took advantage of another Tech turnover to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. A prom1sing Tech drive was snuffed out when Rogers fumbled an option pitch from Hamilton and Duke’s Ryan Stallmeyer recovered at the Georgia Tech 44.
Four plays later, Romine, who was also Duke’s elading rusher with 43 yards on 14 carries, eluded several tacklers in route to an 11 yard scoring run and with13:11 remaining, Duke held its first and only lead of the game at 31-28 and setting the stage of Hamilton’s heroics.
Coming on the heels of last week’s come-from-behind overtime win over North Carolina, Hamilton’s effort marked the sixth time in his career he has directed Tech to a fourth-quarter game-winning drive. On five occasions, he has led Tech from behind in the fourth quarter.
In all, he totaled 383 yards of offense, moving him within 400 yards of the all-time Atlantic Coast Conference record with 8,893 career yards, set during the 1989-92 seasons by former Tech great Shawn Jones.
Hamilton also threw two touchdown passes and passed former Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward of FSU for 6th place on the all-time ACC TD pass list with 50. Hamilton moved into 6th place on the all-time ACC passing yardage list with 7,493 career yards.
Campbell, who totaled 190 receiving yards, set a Tech record for most receiving yards over two games. Combined with his 203 yard effort against North Carolina, Campbell has now managed 393 yards in receiving on 18 receptions, shattering the previous mark of 348 yards against Virginia and Duke in 1997 by Derrick Steagall.
The win, Tech’s third straight in the ACC moved its record to 3-1 in the conference and 5-1 overall. Duke fell to 1-5 overall and 1-2 in league play.