Southern Methodist: 7
Georgia Tech: 21
In the opening game of the 1951 season the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets played host to the SMU Mustangs at Grant Field. The Mustangs ended the 1950 campaign in disappointing fashion, dropping four of their last five games finish at 6-4 on the season after gaining the #1 spot in the AP poll. But despite the poor finish, SMU still entered as a favorite over the Jackets in late September.
After exchanging jabs with the Mustangs for the better part of the first quarter, the Jackets finally caught a break after holding SMU deep in its own territory. Jerry Norton dropped back to punt on fourth down, but a bad snap got away from him before he finally fell on the ball in a mad scramble at the six yard line. Glenn Turner scored on an off tackle run on the first Tech play to follow and Dodd’s Jackets took a 7-0 lead.
Late in the opening period, Tech fullback George Maloof lost a fumble to SMU at the Yellow Jacket 39 yard line and three Mustang runs advanced the drive to the 27 as the quarter came to a close. Two passes then netted roughly 11 yards before Fred Benners connected with Ben White on a 17 yard scoring strike to knot the game at 7 apiece early in the second quarter.
But the Jackets would regain the lead shortly thereafter when they took over on a punt at the SMU 43 yard line. Darrell Crawford entered and quickly hit John Hicks on a 43 yard bomb on Tech’s first play to put the Wreck back on top 14-7.
On SMU’s next play, Robert Moorhead snatched an interception from Benners and returned the ball to the Mustang 20 yard line. But unfortunately for Tech the play was called back for offsides and SMU would maintain possession. The drive failed to produce any points and Tech would lead by seven at the break.
As the teams took the field in the second half a hard rain came over the Flats. The weather virtually stopped both offenses dead in their tracks. The Jackets lost a fumble on one occasion, while the Mustangs lost two fumbles and an interception. One fumble recovery gave Tech the ball at the SMU 25 yard line, but the offense could not capitalize on the drive and turned the ball over on downs at the 13.
The skies cleared in the fourth quarter and the Yellow Jackets went back to work. Tech’s defense forced a punt from deep within SMU territory and Moorhead had a solid return of 15 yards to the Mustang 29 yard line. Leon Hardeman raced 29 yards on the very next play to notch Tech’s third score of the day and increase the lead to 21-7.
The margin proved too much for the Mustangs to overcome, as their final drive ended at Tech’s seven yard line as time expired.
SMU went on to have a disappointing season. They did go on to defeat Notre Dame, 27-20 in mid-October, but only earned two other victories to finish at 3-6-1 overall.
SMU – 15
GT – 5
SMU – 49
GT – 100
SMU – 15-30-124
GT – 3-8-48
SMU – 3
GT – 3
SMU – 1
GT – 0
SMU – 10
GT – 45
Danforth, Ed. “Jackets Surprise Favored SMU, 21-7.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution. 1950 Sep. 23