Georgia Tech: 45
After dropping their second game of the season, the 13th ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets returned home to face the rival Clemson Tigers at Bobby Dodd Stadium. While Clemson sat at just 5-4 overall, the Tiger/Yellow Jacket game had gained a reputation for being a close game, as the previous three matchups had all been decided by 3 points. The game would provide an interesting matchup of offensive and defensive power, as Tech’s top ranked offense would be facing the nation’s 7th ranked defense in pass efficiency.
Just as they had done against Virginia, the Jackets jumped out to an early lopsided lead. Tech’s first score came on their second possession of the game after the Jackets took over at the Clemson 31 due to a short punt. Sean Gregory scored just four plays later on a three yard run to give Tech a 7-0 lead.
Shortly thereafter, a key defensive stand gave Tech the ball at the Clemson 48. Hamilton then led the offense on a 5 play, 48 yard drive that was capped off with a 28 yard touchdown pass to Kelly Campbell to increase the score to 14-0 midway through the opening period.
Another strong showing by the defense gave Tech the ball at its own 6 yard line and Hamilton started again. This time, the senior Heisman candidate marched his offense 94 yards in seven plays to take a 21-0 lead. The score came when Hamilton hit Campbell for a 42 yard touchdown pass near the end of the first quarter.
Clemson then replaced injured quarterback Brandon Streeter with backup Woodrow Dantzler and the offense came alive. Dantzler proceeded to lead the Tigers 80 yards to the end zone, connecting with Pat Cyrgalis for a 17 yard touchdown pass to get within two scores at 21-7 early in the second quarter.
Tech followed the score with a 3 play, 71 yard drive to push the lead back to 21. Hamilton first hit Gregory on a short pass that went for 56 yards before capping off the drive with a 12 yard touchdown pass to Conrad Andrejewski, making it 28-7
But Clemson bounced back quickly, marching down the field in just four plays to again get within fourteen. Dantlzer was spectacular on the drive, first connecting with Rod Gardner on a 41 yards pass and then adding a 22 yard run for the score to cut the lead to 28-14.
When Tech’s next drive stalled Dan Dyke had his punt partially blocked, and a 12 yard punt gave the Tigers the ball at the Yellow Jacket 29 yard line. Five plays later, Travis Zachery scored on a one yard run to get Clemson within seven at 28-21 with roughly ten minutes remaining in the half.
The bad breaks continued for the Jackets on their next drive when Hamilton fumbled a pitch and Robert Carswell recovered for Clemson at the Yellow Jacket 41. The Tigers would methodically drive towards the goal line in ten plays to tie the game at 28 apiece with 4:45 remaining, and Tech had once again seen a three score lead diminish in the first half. The teams would go to the locker rooms tied with two quarters to play.
Tech’s defense came up with a stop to begin the third quarter and then the offense got back on track. Hamilton led the Jackets 43 yards to the Clemson 19 before the drive stalled, and Luke Manget hit a 36 yard field goal to regain the lead for Tech at 31-28.
After another defensive stand, Tech took over at its own 27 and began another impressive drive. Hamilton converted on three third downs in route to the end zone on the 12 play, 73 yard march. The senior quarterback connected with Kerry Watkins on a nine yard pass for the touchdown to extend Tech’s lead to 38-28 late in the period.
The Ramblin’ Wreck lead became seventeen in the opening minute of the fourth quarter when Hamilton connected with Ed Wilder on a three yard touchdown pass to cap off a 7 play, 63 yard drive. With the Jackets holding a 45-28 lead, the game appeared to be out of reach for the Tigers.
But just as they had done in the first half, Clemson began to stage a comeback. Dantzler led the Tigers 56 yards in nine plays to cut the Tech lead to 45-35. The score came on a 19 yard touchdown pass to Mal Lawyer with just under twelve minutes to play.
The Tigers quickly regained possession when Hamilton threw an interception to Alex Ardley on Tech’s next drive. Beginning at the Yellow Jacket 31, the visitors scored after eight plays on a one yard run by Zachery to cut the lead to 45-42 with just under seven minutes to play.
Tech appeared doomed after failing to get anything going on offense, and the Tigers took over at midfield after Dan Dyke’s punt traveled just 33 yards. A 15 yard penalty moved Clemson back to its own 41, but Dantzler quickly regained the yards, scrambling for a first down at the Tech 46 on the next play. But Tech’s defense, which had faltered in similar situations all day, finally rose to the task. On third and three from the Tech 39, Andy Josephson tackled Joe Reemes for a four yard loss on an attempted reverse. Staring at fourth and seven, Dantzler attempted a deep pass, but Chris Young deflected the ball at the 10 yard line and the Jackets took back over at their own 43.
Hamilton led the offense 56 yards on eight plays to the Clemson one yard line to run out the remaining three minutes, and the Jackets went on to narrowly escape by a score of 45-42.
Hamilton accounted for 410 yards of total offense, the most ever by any individual against the Tigers.
The Tigers would go on to defeat rival South Carolina in the final week of the 1999 season before falling to the Mississippi State Bulldogs 17-7 in the Peach Bowl.
CLEM – 21
GT – 29
CLEM – 231
GT – 215
CLEM – 17-31-197
GT – 22-30-322
CLEM – 2-0
GT – 2-1
CLEM – 0
GT – 2
CLEM – 8-55
GT – 2-10
Notable Individual Statistics:
Joe Hamilton (GT) – 89 yards rushing; 22-30 for 322 yards passing, 5 TD, 2 INT
Kelly Campbell (GT) – 8 receptions for 135 yards, 2 TD
Game Summary: http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/111399aab.html