Georgia Tech: 12
The Yellow Jackets would open the 1949 season as a home underdog to the Vanderbilt Commodores. Tech had lost three of its last four games to finish at 7-3 in 1948, while the Commodores won their final eight games to finish 8-2-1. The Jackets defeated the Commodores, however, in a 13-0 decision in Nashville when the teams last met to open the 1948 season.
Tech got off to a good start, as the defense forced a Commodore punt after the opening kickoff. Three plays later, Jim Southard went deep to Jack Griffin, who made a leaping catch at the 18 yard line and raced into the end zone for a Yellow Jacket touchdown. The play went 53 yards in all and Tech held a 6-0 lead after Bobby North missed the extra point.
Vanderbilt’s Bill Wade fumbled on the ensuing drive and Ewel Pope recovered for Tech. The Jackets quickly advanced to the 5 yard line, but shot themselves in the foot when Ray Thompson fumbled at the 3 and Russell Faulkinberry recovered for Vandy.
Late in the first quarter, Vanderbilt mounted a solid drive, gaining five first downs en route to the Ramblin’ Wreck 21 yard line. But Tech caught another break when Morris Harrison recovered Bill Wade’s fumble to halt the advance.
The Commodores saw another promising drive end prematurely in the second quarter. It was an illegal motion penalty that halted Tech’s opponent on this occasion, and Vandy’s failed effort would be the last serious threat by either squad before halftime.
Trailing by six midway through the third quarter, Vanderbilt took over at its own 35 on a Tech punt. Herb Rich quickly gained 46 yards on a double reverse and the Commodores were instantly in scoring position at the Tech 19. Simpson Davidson reeled off 12 yards to the Tech 2 a few plays later and Rich followed with the Vanderbilt touchdown. The Jackets relinquished the lead when the Commodores hit the extra point to go up 7-6.
Tech nearly put the nail in its own coffin midway through the fourth quarter when Thompson lost his second fumble of the game at the Yellow Jacket 33. Vanderbilt instantly marched to the 12 yard line, threatening to score, but Joe Hides fumbled at the 11 and Bob Bosson recovered for Tech to put the wind back in the Ramblin’ Wreck sails.
The turnover sparked the Georgia Tech offense. Southard connected with Colin Anderson for 32 yards before Robert McCoy and George Humphreys added runs of 13 and 20 yards, respectively. The Jackets, having just been backed up against their own goal, now stood at the Vanderbilt 17 threatening to take the lead. North and Humphreys each gained five yards for a first and goal at the 7 and, two plays later, Humphreys scored the go-ahead touchdown on a sweep around left end. North missed his second extra point attempt, but the Jackets had secured a 12-7 lead.
The Commodores mounted one last drive in an attempt to win, but Jimmy Jordan sealed the game for Tech when he intercepted Jamie Wade’s pass at the Yellow Jacket 23 yard line.
Vanderbilt went on to win their next three games before dropping four of their last six to finish at 5-5 on the season. Their most impressive win came against Alabama one week after dropping their opener to the Jackets.
VAN – 13
GT – 11
VAN – 175
GT – 110
VAN – 10-19-62
GT – 4-14-104
VAN – 3
GT – 3
VAN – 1
GT – 1
VAN – 30
GT – 35
Bradberry, Johnny. “…Carries 89 Yards to Victory Over Vandy.” The Atlanta Constitution. 25 Sep. 1949
McGill, Ralph. “Tech Rolls From Brink Of Defeat To Victory.” The Atlanta Constitution. 25 Sep. 1949