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Who Let The Goose Out?

goose gs n, pl geese ges 1 : any of numerous large waterfowl (family Anatidae) that are intermediate between the swans and ducks and have long necks, feathered lores and reticulate tarsi.

ATLANTA – With apologies to Webster, Georgia Tech fans have many different definitions for Goose, a.k.a., quarterback George Godsey. How about:

1 : The nation’s seventh-leading passer with an efficiency rating of 151.4. 2 : Catalyst for one of the nation’s hottest teams that has won five straight games while averaging 431.1 yards and 34.4 points per game. 3 : Remarkably productive passer who has thrown for 2,330 yards and 20 touchdowns with just four interceptions. 4 : Poised leader who does his best work under pressure, leading Tech to fourth-quarter wins over Clemson, North Carolina and UCF.

While his moniker may not strike fear into the hearts of opposing defenders, Godsey’s play has made the Georgia Tech offense a force to be reckoned with as the Yellow Jackets travel to Maryland for their final ACC contest Saturday at 12 noon in College Park, Md.

“Goose” is well on his way to recording the second-best passing season in school history, surpassed only by the 1999 campaign turned in by Heisman runner-up Joe Hamilton. Godsey’s 20 touchdown passes are more than any Tech quarterback except for Hamilton’s school-record 29 last fall. With 2,330 yards passing, Godsey already ranks third on Tech’s season list and is on pace to throw for 2,848 yards, which would be second only to Hamilton’s 3,060 yards in 1999. Godsey’s pass efficiency rating, which is currently second in the ACC and seventh in the nation, would also rank second to Hamilton’s 175.0.

The junior Industrial Engineering major from Tampa, Fla., is averaging 297.7 yards passing over the last six games and 330.5 yards over the last four contests.

“I think George Godsey just keeps getting better and better, and as he gets better, our football team gets better,” said Tech head coach George O’Leary after Godsey directed the Tech offense to 323 yards passing and 304 yards rushing in a 35-0 thrashing of Virginia.

“Obviously, as the passing game opens up, the running game does as well. You just can’t say enough about George Godsey and the direction he has taken this football team.”

Godsey was at his best in the Jackets’ upset over fourth-ranked Clemson as he turned in the most prolific performance in school history, tossing three touchdown passes, two of them in the final seven minutes, and setting school records with 454 yards passing and 35 completions on 57 attempts with no interceptions. Trailing 28-24 with 1:52 to play, Godsey engineered an 80-yard drive on 11 plays, hitting Kerry Watkins from 16 yards out for the game-winner with seven seconds left. On the winning drive, he completed seven of 11 passes for 73 yards.

Despite his lofty numbers, Godsey has maintained his humble, boy-next-door demeanor, deflecting praise and credit to his teammates and coaches. Some examples of his comments:

“Coach Friedgen is a master at preparing us for any defense and putting us in situations where we can make plays.”

“Our receivers are so good, I can just throw the ball out there and let them make things happen.”

“Actually, the defense has made bigger strides than the offense.”

ESPN analyst Kirk HerbstReit was as impressed with Godsey’s humility after the victory over Virginia as with his play, saying “You can see his character and leadership by listening to the way he talks with Doc (Jerry Punch). He’s a dangerous quarterback with all that talent around him.”

But there’s still that nickname that he can’t shake. It dates back to a Little League baseball jersey with his last name stenciled on the back.

“My jersey flapped over so that it looked ‘Goosey,'” explained Godsey, an excellent high school baseball prospect who got a hit off St. Louis Cardinals’ standout Rick Ankiel the summer before his senior year. “The coach tried to call me Goosey, which I didn’t like too much, so everyone started calling me Goose.

“I tried to lose it when I got to Tech, but when I called one of my friends from home and said, ‘This is Goose,’ everyone here found out about it.”

His position coach, Ralph Friedgen, prefers to call him something else.

“He’s a winner; he finds a way to win,” said Friedgen. “Somebody ought to hire this guy in business. He’s going to make a million dollars someday because he’s smart, he’s tough and he’s relentless.”

Smart, tough and relentless. Maybe Webster should add another definition for “Goose.”

“He has proven that he likes the pressure. Just look at his numbers in the fourth quarter.” ESPN ANALYST KIRK HERBSTREIT

George Godsey has done some of his best work in the fourth quarter. “Goose” has completed 50 of 67 passes (75 percent) for 576 yards and nine touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

UCF: 7-9, 92 yds, 2 TD. Two TD passes in final 4 minutes FSU: 13-16, 128 yds, 1 TD. 13 straight completions, Navy: 2-2, 20 yds, 1 TD. NCS: 6-11, 40 yds, 1 TD, 1 int. Tying TD pass with 1:20 in regulation UNC: 4-5, 57 yds, 1 int. Directed two TD drives in final 9 minutes WF & Duke: DNP in 4th qtr Clem: 14-21, 168 yds, 2 TD. Two 80-yard TD drives in final 7 minutes, winning TD pass with 0:07 left UVa: 4-4, 71 yds, 2 TD


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