Georgia Tech: 23
At 10-0, Georgia Tech stood just one win away from its third undefeated season in school history and its second-ever perfect season. A victory over the hated Bulldogs would earn the Jackets sole possession of the 1952 SEC Championship and present a strong argument for recognition as National Champions. Tech entered on a three game winning streak over its archrival, which stood at a solid 6-3 on the season with losses to Maryland, Alabama, and Florida (all ranked at some point in the 1952 campaign). The Jackets had not lost since falling to Alabama 54-19 late in the 1950 season, a stretch of 24 games that included 23 wins and 1 tie.
The Ramblin’ Wreck got off to a rocky start when sophomore quarterback Bill Brigman fumbled the first snap from scrimmage and James Locke recovered for the Bulldogs near Tech’s 20 yard line. Robert Clemens finally put the Dawgs on the board with a 3 yard run after four plays marched steadily towards the Yellow Jacket end zone and Georgia took an early 7-0 lead.
The Jackets earned great field position later in the period after returning a Bulldog kick 24 yards to the Georgia 35 yard line. The offense then mounted a steady drive to the 10 before stalling and Pepper Rodgers entered to hit a short field goal that trimmed the margin to 7-3.
The teams played a scoreless second quarter and the Bulldogs looked to be vying for the upset as they carried a four point lead to the locker room at intermission.
But the Ramblin’ Wreck regained the lead on the opening possession of the second half. Glen Turner, Bill Teas, and Robert Gilliland alternated carries for 57 yards to the Georgia 10 yard line. Chappell Rhino then hit Jake Martin on a 10 yard strike for the touchdown that made it 10-7 in favor of the Jackets.
The Bulldogs were not finished though, as Zeke Bratkowski led a promising drive deep into Tech territory as play proceeded into the fourth quarter. Georgia’s star quarterback connected on five straight passes to the Ramblin’ Wreck 7 yard line before three plays left his offense with fourth and goal. Larry Morris came up with the stop on the next play when he hit Charles Madison at the 3 yard line and Tech took over on downs.
Rodger tried two sneaks to move the ball out from the three, but gained nothing before intentionally downing the ball in the end zone on third down for a safety that brought Georgia within one at 10-9.
Bratkowski quickly led Georgia back within scoring position, advancing to the Yellow Jacket 23 after the free kick. But on fourth down Jake Rudolph broke up a pass to the end zone and the Yellow Jackets regained possession.
The Ramblin’ Wreck moved out to midfield before being forced to punt and pinned Georgia at its own three yard line with a solid kick.
Shortly after, Robert Moorhead picked off a tipped Bratkowski pass and the Yellow Jackets were knocking on the door at the Georgia 1 yard line. Two plays later, Rodgers snuck in for the score to put Tech ahead by seven, but missed the extra point to leave it at 16-9.
Georgia could not manifest much on their next drive and eventually turned the ball over on downs at its own 20. On third down, Turner raced into the end zone from 14 yards out to ice the game and the Yellow Jackets would go on to win 23-9.
The victory capped off consecutive undefeated seasons for the Jackets and earned them their first perfect campaign since 1928. They finished 2nd in the final AP poll to Michigan State, but were crowned National Champions by the International News Service poll. At the time, the final polls were released prior to the bowl games and therefore did not consider post-season performance. While the Jackets were headed to New Orleans to face 7th ranked ‘Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl, the Spartans would not participate in a bowl game and ended the season at 9-0 (two wins shy of Tech’s final regular season mark).
GT – 17
UGA – 11
GT – 215
UGA – 119
GT – 2-7-30
UGA – 15-26-134
GT – 1
UGA – 1
GT – 1
UGA – 0
GT – 30
UGA – 97
Danforth, Ed. “Tech Wins Thriller Over Georgia, 23-9.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution. 1952 Nov. 29
Bisher, Furman. “Detailed Account Of Tech-Georgia.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution. 1952 Nov. 29
Unknown. “Georgia Tech Wins…” Toledo Blade. 1952 Nov. 30