Georgia Tech: 14
After a strong second half showing in a 43-14 romp of Florida gave their starters some rest, the Yellow Jackets would return home to face a much more challenging opponent in the Duke Blue Devils. Duke had defeated VPI (Virginia Tech) 55-7 one week earlier to improve to 4-1 on the season, with their lone loss coming at the hands of the Navy Midshipmen in a 28-14 contest in week three. Tech looked to build upon its three game winning streak, and a victory over the Blue Devils would help to improve their chances of landing a bowl invitation.
The first quarter passed with little action until the Jackets began a promising drive late in the period. A Duke punt gave Tech the ball at its own 39, and Jim Southard promptly connected with Dick Harvin on a 21 yard pass to spark the offense. Two runs gained nothing and the quarter came to a close. But on the first play of the second period, the Jackets surprised the Devils with a trick play. Jimmy Jordan took the handoff from Southard on a reverse, but gave the ball to Buster Humphreys to reverse it again. Buster then stopped and threw a bullet to Harvin that caught the Devils completely off-guard and resulted in a 40 yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
The Jackets had two more chances to score in the second quarter, advancing to the Duke 12 on both occasions. But in each case Tech came away with nothing. The first drive ended when Robert North lost a fumble to Lou Allen and the second came to a halt when North missed a 29 yard field goal. The missed opportunities left Tech with just a 7-0 lead as the teams trotted to the locker rooms at intermission.
The Blue Devils quickly tied the game with a 71 yard touchdown drive after the opening kickoff of the second half. Duke quarterback Billy Cox was spectacular on the drive, connecting on passes of 10, 5, and 38 yards en route to the 20 yard line before finding Jack Friedlund for the final 20 yards and the score. Jimmy Jordan narrowly missed an interception on the play, as the ball went right through his hands into those of Friedlund for the tie.
Tech made two first downs to the Duke 39 on the ensuing drive, but just as the momentum started to favor the Jackets, Duke’s Larry Karl recovered a Southard fumble and returned the ball to the Ramblin’ Wreck 31 yard line.
The Yellow Jacket defense held on the drive, but shortly thereafter Tech suffered a huge blow. Southard left the game with a back injury that caused him to miss the remainder of the contest, as well as three additional games before returning to face archrival Georgia.
The loss of its quarterback weighed heavily on Tech and the Blue Devils took complete control of the game, scoring three more touchdowns in the third quarter to jump ahead 27-7.
The first score came on a 3 yard Jack Mounie touchdown run to cap off a 51 yard drive.
Later in the quarter, Jimmy Jordan returned a Duke punt 70 yards for an apparent touchdown. But a clipping penalty negated the play and Darrell Crawford threw an interception that was returned to Tech’s 16 yard line a few plays later. Mounie added his second touchdown shortly thereafter to extend the Blue Devil lead to 21-7.
Duke’s James Brown intercepted a William Scharfschwerdt pass to setup the final score of the period. Mounie ran three times from the 8 yard line to notch his third consecutive touchdown for a 27-7 lead.
The Jackets finally answered in the fourth quarter with a 78 yard touchdown drive that featured two excellent runs. Robert McCoy first gained 35 yards to the Blue Devil 32 and Roy Thompson followed a few plays later with a 32 yard dash for the final score of the afternoon.
The loss of Southard was too much for Tech to overcome, and the Blue Devils triumphed 27-14 to improve to 5-1 on the season. While the win was enough to crack the AP poll at the 16th spot, Duke would finish on a sour note, dropping two of its final three contests to Wake Forest and North Carolina to finish at 6-3 overall.
DUKE – 12
GT – 14
DUKE – 90
GT – 117
DUKE – 12-18-136
GT – 10-21-128
DUKE – 2-1
GT – 3-3
DUKE – 3
GT – 2
DUKE – 3-25
GT – 4-50
Bradberry, Johnny. “Last-Half Duke Uprising Dumps Doddmen, 27 to 14.” The Atlanta Constitution. 1949 Oct. 30