Georgia Tech: 27
After dropping the favored SMU Mustangs in Atlanta in the 1951 opener, Georgia Tech would head to Gainsville, Florida for its first road test of the season against the Florida Gators. The Gators stood at 2-0 after defeating Wyoming and The Citadel in the first two weeks of the season and looked to have their hands full against a hungry Yellow Jacket squad. The Jackets narrowly defeated the Gators in a 16-13 thriller in Atlanta in 1950 when reserve quarterback Lewis Sykes led Tech to within scoring position with less than one minute to play. The drive setup a Pepper Rodgers field goal with just seven seconds remaining to give Tech its first wins in three attempts to open the season. Florida’s last victory in the series came in 1941 in a 14-7 decision in Gainsville.
The Jackets caught a break early when Haywood Sullivan fumbled on the first play from scrimmage and Larry Morris recovered at the Florida 13 yard line. On 2nd and 10, Darrell Crawford threw a 13 yard strike to Jake Martin in the end zone for the first score of the afternoon and a 7-0 Yellow Jacket lead just 1:14 into the contest.
Florida punted on its next drive, but the Jackets gave it right back on a fumble that Charles LaPradd recovered near the Tech 20 yard line. The Gators were unable to capitalize on the turnover however, and the Yellow Jackets would eventually take over at their own 9 yard line.
Late in the opening period, George Morris recovered a fumble at the Florida 37. But as play carried into the second quarter, the Yellow Jacket drive would eventually stall and Florida would take over on downs at her own 15. The remainder of the second period saw little action as the teams exchange punts and turnovers and the Jackets would hold a seven point advantage at the break.
The Gators got off to a bad start in the second half when Sullivan threw a pick to Larry Morris at the Florida 42 yard line. Crawford connected on passes of 15 and 9 yards to Pete Ferris and Jake Martin en route to the 18 and George Maloof picked up a first down at the Gator 13. Maloof came right back with a charge to the three yard line and John Hicks burst into the end zone two plays later for a 14-0 lead.
Early in the fourth quarter the Jackets pinned Florida deep in its own territory and promptly forced a punt. But Bob Sherman blocked Rick Casares’s punt and Cecil Turner recovered at the Florida 7 yard line. Maloof gained four yards to the 3 yard line before bursting into the end zone for a touchdown to extend Tech’s lead to 21-0 and virtually ice the game.
The Jackets added one final touchdown in the fourth quarter with reserve quarterback Pepper Rodgers at the helm. Art Ross gained 46 yards to the Florida 4 before capping off the 63 yard drive with a score to reach the final of 27-0.
The victory was enough to earn the Jackets the 11th spot in the opening AP poll on the following Monday. The Gators would go on to lose four of their last seven games to finish 5-5 on the season.
GT – 12
UF – 10
GT – 121
UF – 83
Passing Yards (Comp-Att-Yds):
GT – 8-14-87
UF – 9-24-113
GT – 1
UF – 1
GT – 3
UF – 4
GT – 64
UF – 29
Danforth, Ed. “Roaring Jackets Maul Florida.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution. 1951 Sep. 30