Georgia Tech: 31
Having defeated two winless teams in a row in Wake Forest and Duke, Georgia Tech would now travel to Clemson, South Carolina to face the 5th ranked Tigers in Death Valley. The Tech-Clemson game had been decided by exactly three points in each of the last four seasons and the 2000 line favored the Tigers.
The Yellow Jackets would take the ball first, but were unable to gain much, moving just two yards in three plays to their own 22. Clemson then came up big when Toure Francis blocked the Tech punt and Joel Gardner recovered at the one for the Tigers. Woodrow Dantzler then scored on a one yard sneak to give Clemson an early 7-0 lead with just one minute gone in the game.
Tech’s offense quickly bounced back when Joe Burns made a 14 yard run and took a George Godsey pass 51 yards to the Clemson 13 yard line. But then the Yellow Jacket offense stalled, gaining just 4 yards on three plays before Luke Manget was called upon to make a 27 yard field goal to make it 7-3 in favor of the Tigers.
The teams would exchange punts before the next notable action was seen when the Tigers took over at their own 28 after a Yellow Jacket punt. Dantzler led his offense 72 yards in 6 plays to extend the Tiger lead to 14-3. The junior quarterback capped off the drive with a 29 yard pass to Zachary Travis with 6:06 to play in the opening period.
The Ramblin’ Wreck advanced to the Clemson 30 before turning the ball over on downs on their next possession, and the teams exchanged punts on the following three drives before Tech took over with 10:27 to play in the second quarter.
Godsey then led the Jackets to the end zone on a 7 play, 69 yard drive to cut the Clemson lead to 14-10. The Goose completed passes of 16, 24, and 33 yards to Campbell, Glover, and Watkins, respectively. Watkins’s reception scored the touchdown with 7:47 to play in the opening half.
The Yellow Jacket defense held Clemson to just 14 yards on their next drive and 3 on their following drive while the offense scored two fields goals to snatch the lead. Manget was good from 29 and 38 yards to give Tech a 16-14 advantage.
The Tigers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Tech recovered at the Clemson 46 with 32 seconds to play. The Jackets played conservatively, however, and rode a two point lead into the locker room at halftime.
The third quarter saw very little action, as the teams exchanged punts throughout the period. But with just seconds to play, Clemson’s Brian Mance provided a spark for the Tigers, returning Dna Dyke’s punt 88 yards for a touchdown to regain the lead at 21-16.
Tech’s next drive moved 46 yards before stalling, and the Tigers took back over at their own 20 after the Yellow Jacket punt. With backup quarterback Willie Simmons at the helm in place of an injured Dantzler, Clemson hit a big play on second down when Simmons hit J.J. McKelvey for 65 yards to the Tech 12. But the Yellow Jacket defense continued its strong play and Clemson missed a 29 yard field goal attempt with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The Yellow Jackets slowly moved into Clemson territory on their next drive, moving 32 yards to the Tiger 48 in eight plays, despite a 5 yard illegal substitution penalty. Godsey then went deep to Campbell for a 48 yard touchdown to snatch back the lead. The Jackets led 24-21 with 6:35 to play.
Tech’s defense looked to have ensured victory on the Tigers’ next drive, forcing Clemson to punt from the Ramblin’ Wreck 42 with 4:10 to play. But Tech’s offense did little to help the cause, and the Tigers would regain possession after a quick three-and-out by the Jackets.
On first down, Simmons connected with Justin Watts on a 28 yard pass to the Tech 14 yard line. After a four yard loss, Clemson took back the lead on an 18 yard pass from Simmons to Rod Gardner and Clemson led 28-24 with 1:52 on the game clock.
It was then, with less than two minutes to play that George Godsey embarked on perhaps the most memorable drive of his career. A quick 13 yard strike to Campbell earned a first down at the Tech 33. The Goose then hit Burns for 6, and a timeout was called with 1:32 remaining. A 10 yard strike to Nate Curry earned another first down at the Yellow Jacket 49, and completions of 6 and 5 yards to Curry and Russell Matvay respectively earned another set of downs at the Tiger 45. A 10 yard holding penalty pushed the Jackets back to midfield, but Godsey then hit Watkins on 1st and 20 for 21 yards and a first down at the Clemson 29. The Goose spiked the ball and an offsides penalty made it 3rd and 5 at the 24. Godsey then connected with Watkins on an 8 yard pass to the 16 and the Jackets called timeout with thirteen seconds on the clock. With precious little time remaining, Godsey threw a fade to the back left corner of the end zone where Kerry Watkins made an amazing one-handed catch for the go-ahead score with 7 second to play. Tech led 31-28.
Chris Young intercepted Simmons’s pass on first down and returned the ball to the Tiger 12 as time expired to seal the victory.
The loss was Clemson’s first of the season. The Tigers would lose one more regular season game at Florida State during the following week and would earn a trip to play in the Gator Bowl, where they would eventually drop a 41-20 contest to the Virginia Tech Hokies.
GT – 31
CLEM – 18
GT – 96
CLEM – 147
GT – 35-57-454
CLEM – 25-17-207
GT – 2-0
CLEM – 2-2
GT – 0
CLEM – 1
GT – 8-79
CLEM – 5-61
Notable Individual Statistics:
George Godsey: 35-57 for 454 yards passing, 3 TD
Kerry Watkins: 6 receptions, 86 yards, 2 TD
Kelly Campbell: 14 receptions, 209 yards, 1 TD
Joe Burns: 29 rushes for 98 yards; 4 receptions for 65 yards
Game Summary: http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/102800aaa.html