Georgia Tech: 19
After opening the season at 2-0, Georgia Tech would put its unblemished record on the line in a mid-September matchup with the rival Clemson Tigers in Death Valley. The Tigers entered the contest at 1-1, recently defeating Louisiana Tech after losing their season-opener 31-28 to Georgia in Athens. Clemson narrowly defeated Tech in the 2001 meeting in a tight 47-44 overtime victory in Atlanta to claim their first victory in the previous five attempts.
In what would prove to be awful weather throughout the entire matchup, Clemson methodically drove 53 yards in 15 plays before stalling at the Georgia Tech 17 midway through the first quarter. Aaron Hunt then came on to give the Tigers a 3-0 advantage with a 34 yard field goal at the 7:13 mark in the opening period.
The Jackets gained one first down before punting back to the Tiger 23, and Derrick Hamilton scored one play later on a 77 yard touchdown run to increase the Tiger lead to 10-0.
Tech would answer in similar fashion when Tony Hollings reeled of 72 yards for a score on Tech’s next play from scrimmage. But the Yellow Jacket special teams botched the extra point attempt, however, and Clemson maintained a four point lead at 10-6.
Nasty weather became a factor as play continued into the second quarter, and neither team threatened much until late in the period.
Clemson missed a 49 yard field goal at the 3:21 mark, but regained possession shortly thereafter when the Jackets punted from their own 32. Hamilton fielded Dan Dyke’s punt at the Tiger 16 and returned the ball 79 yards to the Georgia Tech 5 yard line. Then, with 38 seconds left in the half, Willie Simmons found Bobby Williamson for a 2 yard touchdown pass on fourth down to put Clemson ahead 17-6 at the break.
Tech’s offensive woes continued in the third quarter, as another three-and-out gave Clemson the ball at their own 34 less than two minutes into the period. The Tigers marched into Tech territory and struck another blow when Simmons found Tony Elliott for a 44 yard touchdown at the 10:40 mark to increase the lead to 24-6.
The Ramblin’ Wreck offense finally collected itself on the ensuing drive when it marched 78 yards in 12 plays to cut into the deficit with a 7 yard touchdown pass from A.J. Suggs to John Paul Foschi. Suggs setup the touchdown with a 22 yard pass to Kerry Watkins one play earlier to convert a 3rd-and-21. The successful extra point put Tech within eleven at 24-13.
The contest remained scoreless through the remainder of the third quarter and much of the fourth until the Jackets took over at their own 41 with roughly seven minutes left in the game. Following a sack on second down, Suggs found Watkins for 33 yards to the Clemson 26. Hollings then took over and quickly pushed to the 2 with consecutive runs of 10 and 14 yards. He would go on to score three plays later to cut the lead to 24-19 with 3:43 to play.
Tech caught a break on the ensuing Clemson drive when Simmons lost a fumble to Recardo Wimbush at the Tiger 47 yard line. After a personal found pushed the Jackets back to their own 38, Suggs would find Watkins and Lekeldrick Bridges for consecutive completions of 14 and 19 yards to pick up a crucial first down at the Tiger 29 yard line. But just when it looked as if Tech might complete a miraculous comeback, Suggs made a crucial error, throwing an interception to Eric Sampson at the Clemson 16 to crush the hopes of the Yellow Jacket faithful.
Following the long return, Clemson would kill the rest of the clock on kneel downs to defeat the Jackets by five and improve to 2-1 on the season. They would go on to finish the regular season 7-5 before eventually falling 55-15 to the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Tangerine Bowl to complete the 2002 campaign at 7-6, overall.
GT – 14
CLEM – 18
GT – 102
CLEM – 195
GT – 17-31-201
CLEM – 18-31-176
GT – 1
CLEM – 1
GT – 2-1
CLEM – 5-3
GT – 8-101
CLEM – 9-97
Game Summary: http://www.ramblinwreck.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/091402aaa.html