Georgia Tech: 41
Since opening the season with a sour loss to Boston College, the Yellow Jackets had performed wonderfully, reeling off four straight wins to set the stage for a showdown with the undefeated, 7th ranked Virginia Cavaliers in Atlanta. Tech had finally jumped into the rankings at the 25th spot after dropping the N.C. State Wolfpack 47-24 in Raleigh, and a win over the Cavs would make them the front runner to win the ACC.
The Jackets got off to a terrible start in the first quarter when Joe Hamilton threw an interception to setup a 2 yard scoring run by Thomas Jones, giving the Cavs a 7-0 lead. Ed Wilder then lost a fumble on the first play of the ensuing drive and Virginia’s Aaron Brooks hit Terrence Wilkins for a 28 yard score just one play later to extend the Wahoo lead to 14-0.
Tech’s next drive stalled at the Virginia 17 yard line, but Brad Chambers finally got the Jackets on the board with a 34 yard field goal and the Ramblin’ Wreck trailed 14-3.
Virginia’s offense took the field late in the opening period and began an 86 yard march towards the Tech end zone. As the second quarter started, Brooks notched another Cavalier touchdown on a one yard sneak to give the visitors a 21-3 advantage.
But Hamilton fired right back, hitting Dez White on a 69 yard touchdown pass less than a minute later to cut the lead to 21-10.
The Cavs stalled at the Yellow Jacket 28 on their next drive and Todd Braverman was good from 45 yards out for a 24-10 lead.
A couple possessions later, the Tech defense held strong and Charlie Rogers returned the Cavalier punt 54 yards for a touchdown to bring the Jackets within seven at 24-17.
But just as Tech looked to be clawing back into the game, Brooks threw a 68 yard strike to Kevin Coffey that setup a one yard touchdown run by Anthony Southern and Tech would trail 31-17 at intermission.
Early in the third quarter, Jones reeled off a 65 yard touchdown to increase the Wahoo lead to 38-17. Virginia looked to have sealed the game when Tech quickly gave the ball back after no success on offense.
Then, for the fifth straight game, the Yellow Jacket defense scored an unexpected touchdown. Nate Stimson sacked Brooks to force a fumble and DeLaunta Cameron returned the ball 34 yards to cut the Cavalier lead to 38-24 with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
The touchdown sparked the performance of the entire team! Tech’s defense gained a quick stop and its offense marched to the Virginia 30 yard line to setup a 47 yard field goal by Chambers to make it 38-27 at the start of the fourth quarter.
The defense continued its impressive play and the offense struck again midway through the final period. Hamilton found White for the pair’s second touchdown on a 35 yard strike, but Tech missed on a two point conversion attempt and would trail 38-33.
Another stop gave the Jackets a chance to take their first lead of the game, and with just under five minutes to play, they did just that. Hamilton found White on a simple slant play that the junior wide out turned into a 54 yard scamper for the go-head score. The Jackets were successful on their second two point try and held a 41-38 lead with 4:40 remaining.
Virginia had one last chance to tie the game, but missed on a 54 yard field goal attempt by Braverman, and the Jackets would complete one of the greatest comeback victories in school history.
The victory was reminiscent of the 1990 victory in Charlottesville over the then top-ranked Cavaliers. Aside from sharing the same final score, it was also Tech’s first victory over a top 10 team since that famous game.
Virginia would drop just one more regular season game, that against the Florida State Seminoles, to finish at 9-2. The performance earned them an invitation to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, where they would fall 35-33 to the Georgia Bulldogs.
UVA – 27
GT – 13
UVA – 288
GT – 83
UVA – 312
GT – 287
UVA – 1-1
GT – 3-1
UVA – 2
GT – 2
UVA – 9-83
GT – 9-72
Notable Individual Statistics:
Dez White (GT): 6 receptions, 243 yards, 3 TD
USA Today Recap: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/scores98/98290/98290394.htm