North Carolina State: 21
Georgia Tech: 29
After rebounding from a 1-3 start with an overtime win at Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech looked to build on that recent success when it faced the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Bobby Dodd Stadium in early October. The Wolfpack had also suffered a disappointing start to the season with early losses to Wake Forest and Ohio State to fall to 3-2 on the year. The Jackets had enjoyed recent success in the series, winning seven of the last eight meetings to improve to 15-8, all-time. Its lone loss during the stretch came in 2000 when then freshman quarterback Philip Rivers rallied the Wolfpack to a 30-23 victory after trailing 13-0 at halftime.
Tech got off to a shaky start, first missing a field goal after advancing to the Wolfpack 21 on the opening drive, then muffing a punt return shortly thereafter to setup N.C. State at the Ramblin’ Wreck 32 yard line. The Wolfpack gained just 9 yards, but eventually cracked the scoreboard with a 41 yard Adam Kiker field goal to take a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Jackets began at their own 20 following the ensuing kick and began to piece together a promising drive. P.J. Daniels rushed for 21 yards as Tech pushed into N.C. State territory before Reggie Ball found Jonathan Smith for a 42 yard touchdown pass to give the Jackets a 7-3 lead.
Dan Burnett added a pair of field goals early in the second quarter to increase the Tech lead to 13-3 with roughly nine minutes to play in the opening half. The second field goal was setup on the kickoff that followed the first when N.C. State’s Cotra Jackson lost a fumble to Chris Reis at the Wolfpack 32 yard line.
Rivers returned to lead N.C. State to a score, completing four of five passes, including a 15 yard touchdown strike to Jerricho Cotchery to cap off the march.
Burnett followed with another field goal to make it 16-10, and the Jackets would later cover 55 yards in 9 plays to increase the lead to 22-10 with just 15 seconds to go before halftime. Nate Curry accounted for the score with a 5 yard catch from Ball, but Burnett failed on the extra point attempt to leave the Yellow Jacket lead at twelve.
After the break, Rivers led the Wolfpack to the Yellow Jacket 3 on the opening drive before the Ramblin’ Wreck defense forced another Kiker field goal to make it 16-13. Kiker then missed a field goal from the Tech 11 on the next N.C. State drive, and the remainder of the third quarter passed without any additional scores.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Ball led the Yellow Jacket offense 69 yards in 8 plays to increase the Tech lead to 29-13 with his four yard scoring run. A stalemate then ensured for the majority of the quarter before N.C. State took over at its own 33 with less than two minutes to play. Rivers eventually led his offense to a score and cut the Tech lead to eight with a successful two point conversion. The effort was futile, however, as just six seconds remained on the clock, and the Tech special teams would recover an onside kick to seal the victory.
The Wolfpack went on to win its next four games before falling in consecutive weeks to Florida State and Maryland to finish the regular season at 7-5. The performance earned them a trip to the Tangerine Bowl, where they would eventually drop the Kansas Jayhawks 56-26 in Orlando to finish the year at 8-5, overall.
NCS – 17
GT – 26
NCS – (-8)
GT – 89
NCS – 31-47-344
GT – 24-38-283
NCS – 0
GT – 0
NCS – 2-1
GT – 6-1
NCS – 10-105
GT – 4-40