Georgia Tech: 13
Having dropped their last three games to move to 2-4 on the season, Georgia Tech would square off with the Alabama Crimson Tide in mid-November in desperate need of a win. ‘Bama entered the game at 5-1, holding the 14th spot in the AP poll with their lone loss coming at the hands of the 5th ranked Tennessee Volunteers in Birmingham. Tech had won the previous meeting 6-0 in 1939 to beat the Tide for the first time since 1932 (also a 6-0 victory for the Jackets).
The first quarter passed with little action and the Ramblin’ Wreck mounted an 80 yard scoring drive in the second period for the game’s first points. Jack Hancock ran for 16 yards on a reverse and 28 on a pitch en route to the Alabama 21 yard line. He later added 9 yards on 4th and 5 to keep the drive alive and setup a 9 yard touchdown pass from Johnny Bosch to Robert Ison. Roy Goree’s missed extra point left the Jackets with a 6-0 advantage and would prove to be critical later in the contest.
Tech had little time to celebrate their score however, as Alabama’s Jimmy Nelson returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. George Hecht’s extra point was good to give the Tide a 7-6 advantage.
With little time remaining in the first half, the Wreck marched from its own 32 to the Crimson Tide 30. But with just seconds remaining, Bosch had his pass intercepted by Warren Averitte and the Jackets would trail by one point at intermission.
The Yellow Jacket defense held strong to begin the second half and forced an Alabama punt. But the Ramblin’ Wreck offense fared no better than Alabama’s had, and Tech lined up to punt it back. The Crimson Tide defense then came up big, blocking the Yellow Jacket punt and taking over at Tech’s 29 yard line after the ball rolled out of bounds.
Alabama slowly moved closer to the Tech goal line, gaining yards in four and five yard chunks to move inside the one yard line. On 3rd and goal, Paul Spencer coughed up the ball and Tech recovered! But the officials ruled that a whistle had been blown and the ball was awarded to the Tide. On fourth down, Spencer rumbled through the line for a touchdown that gave ‘Bama a 14-6 lead after the extra point.
The Yellow Jacket offense came out hungry on the following possession. Dick Bates threw a 28 yard strike to Ison for a first down at the Alabama 45 to start the drive. A few plays later, George Webb took a pitch 10 yards before catching a 28 yard touchdown pass from Bates to get Tech within one at 14-13.
The Yellow Jacket defense continued its strong play and the offense took over at the Alabama 49 with a chance to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. In nine plays, Tech was looking at 1st and goal from the nine, but three straight runs stalled the drive at the 4 yard line. Goree entered to attempt a 22 yard field goal for the lead, but his kick was tipped as it crossed the line of scrimmage and missed wide to the right.
Tech had one last chance when they advanced to the Crimson Tide 34 yard line late in the fourth quarter. But the football gods were not on the Wreck’s side this day, as the Jackets turned the ball over on downs after a short run and three incomplete passes. Alabama would run out the clock to seal the one point victory.
Despite defeating the Jackets, ‘Bama actually dropped three spots in the rankings to 17th. They would win the following week’s contest over Vanderbilt 25-21 before falling 13-0 to Mississippi State to finish at 7-2 on the season.
ALA – 5
GT – 18
ALA – 142
GT – 335
ALA – 1-1-13
GT – 12-25-172
ALA – 0
GT – 0
ALA – 0
GT – 2
ALA – 30
GT – 0
Bradberry, Johnny. “4th Quarter Field Goal Try Blocked by ‘Bama.” The Atlanta Constitution. 1940 Nov. 17