1997 Season

1997-12-29 – Georgia Tech vs. West Virginia – Carquest Bowl

Georgia Tech vs. West Virginia - CarQuest Bowl - 1997

Georgia Tech vs. West Virginia – CarQuest Bowl – December 29, 1997

Georgia Tech: 35
West Virginia: 30

After finishing fourth in the ACC standings, Georgia Tech earned a trip to its first bowl game in six seasons to face the West Virginia Mountaineers in the CarQuest Bowl in Miami, Florida. The Jackets and Mountaineers had met only once prior when Tech won the 1954 Sugar Bowl 42-19 to finish the ’53 season at 9-2-1 overall. West Virginia entered the contest with a record 7-4 after dropping three of their final four regular season games to fall from the AP rankings.

On the game’s opening possession, sophomore quarterback Joe Hamilton led a 15 play, 80 yard march that Ed Wilder capped off with a 1 yard touchdown run on fourth down. Facing a 4th-and-17 at the West Virginia 29 with an injured kicker, Hamilton broke loose on a 21 yard scramble to keep the drive alive and setup the eventual score with 9:05 left in the opening period.

The Mountaineers answered on the ensuing possession when Amos Zereoue raced to the end zone from 14 yards out to cap off a 6 play, 61 yard march and knot the game at 7-all just three minutes later.

Tech countered with another score when Hamilton scrambled for a 30 yard touchdown on 3rd-and-7 to regain the lead at 14-7 on the possession that followed.

A defensive stand put the ball back in Tech’s hands at their own 6 yard line shortly thereafter. Hamilton then led the offense on a 12 play, 94 yard drive to extend the lead to 21-7 nearly five minutes into the second quarter. His 3 yard touchdown pass to Mike Lillie was setup by a 26 yard pass to Ed Wilder that pushed to within the 5.

Marc Bulger cut the Tech lead to seven with less than five minutes left in the half when he hit Jerry Porter for a 21 yard touchdown pass, but Hamilton returned to lead an 11 play, 74 yard scoring drive to re-extend the lead 27 seconds before the break. The Alvin, South Carolina native accounted for the score with a 9 yard touchdown run to make it 28-14 at intermission.

The Mountaineers added ten points in the third quarter to cut Tech’s lead to four with one period to play. Zereoue scored on a 19 yard Statue-of-Liberty play five minutes into period to first make it 28-21, and Jay Taylor connected on a 21 yard field goal with 42 seconds left in the third to cut it to 28-24. The second score capped off a 15 play, 92 yard drive that came up just two yards short of the Tech end zone.

Much of the fourth quarter was played scoreless until Charles Wiley scored on a five yard run to extend the Yellow Jacket lead to 35-24 with 4:44 remaining.

Bulger found Porter for a 74 yard touchdown pass roughly a minute later, but the Mountaineers missed on a two-point conversion attempt and would eventually fall 35-30 after failing to see another possession.

The victory gave Tech its fourth bowl win in a row and improved their overall post-season record to 18-8. The Mountaineers, on the other hand, saw their bowl losing streak extended to seven games, having earned their last post-season win in the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl.

Statistics:

First Downs:
GT – 28
WVU – 24

Rushing yards:
GT – 210
WVU – 56

Passing (Comp-Att-Yds):
GT – 19-36-274
WVU – 25-40-353

Interceptions thrown:
GT – 0
WVU – 1

Fumbles (Total-Lost):
GT – 1-1
WVU – 1-1

Penalties (Total-Yards):
GT – 10-86
WVU – 9-75

References:
USA Today Recap: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/scores97/97363/97363360.htm


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