1953 Season

1953-11-21 – Georgia Tech vs. Duke

Georgia Tech vs. Duke - 1953

Georgia Tech vs. Duke – November 21, 1953

Duke: 10
Georgia Tech: 13

Coming off of a loss to Alabama for just its second defeat of the season, 12th ranked Georgia Tech looked to rebound against the 15th ranked Duke Blue Devils at Grant Field. Duke entered at 6-1-1 with both of its blemishes coming to the service academies. Their loss came at the hands of Army in a 14-13 barn-burner several weeks prior, while their tie came just one week earlier in a 0-0 contest with Navy. Tech won the previous meeting between the schools in a 28-7 massacre in 1952, but trailed in the all-time series with a record of 7-12-1.

The Blue Devils scored the game’s first points after marching 75 yards to the Tech 5 yard line in the first quarter. But it was here that the drive stalled with the help of the hard-hitting Yellow Jacket defense, and Duke was forced to settle for a Bernie Jack field goal that gave them a 3-0 lead.

The first half slowly ticked away with neither team seriously threatening to score until the Jackets took over at Duke’s 41 with 2:30 remaining before intermission. Pepper Rodgers found Charlie Brannon on first down with a 22 yard pass to the 19 and the Ramblin’ Wreck was on the move. Rodgers came right back with a 9 yard strike to Harry Hair at the 10 and Glenn Turner added 8 yards on two carries to advance to the 1. Rodgers snuck in for the touchdown one play later, but missed the extra point to give the Jackets a 6-3 lead at the break.

The teams exchanged jabs for much of the third quarter before the Blue Devils mounted a 13 play, 63 yard drive late in the period to regain the lead. On the drive’s key play, a whistle was blown, but the referees allowed play to continue. While the Ramblin’ Wreck defense relaxed its effort, Lloyd Caudle pitched out to Jerry Barger, who took the ball 20 yards to the Yellow Jacket 22 yard line. Six plays later, the visitors scored on a 4 yard run by Jack Kistler to go up 10-6 with 1:00 to play in the third.

As play continued into the fourth quarter, Tech’s next three offensive possessions left many of its fans expecting a loss. On the first attempt, Caudle picked off a pass at the Blue Devil 25 to halt a promising march. The next time they got the ball, the Jackets drove all the way to Duke’s 5, but turned it over when Rodgers overthrew Bill Teas in the end zone on fourth down. Pepper returned to lead the Jackets back into the Duke red zone five minutes later, but threw another interception at the Blue Devil 5 that looked to wrap up the contest.

But the Yellow Jacket defense held strong and forced a quick punt with 3:00 to play. Bill Teas caught the ball at the 48 yard line and raced towards the Blue Devil end zone, bowling over the final defenders at the 5 and falling over the goal line for the touchdown and a 13-10 lead.

The Ramblin’ Wreck defense returned to close out the game, and the Jackets would move to 7-2-1 on the season. Duke would close out the year with a 35-20 victory over North Carolina to finish at 7-2-1.

Statistics:

First downs:
DUKE – 10
GT – 16

Rushing Yards:
DUKE – 166
GT – 194

Passing (Comp-Att-Yds):
DUKE – 3-8-37
GT – 9-21-107

Interceptions thrown:
DUKE – 2
GT – 2

Fumbles lost:
DUKE – 0
GT – 1

Penalty yards:
DUKE – 25
GT – 30

References:
Miles, Ed. “Tech Edges Duke, 13-10.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution. 1953 Nov. 22


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