Originally created 11/05/99

Tech-Virginia doesn't need subplot



ATLANTA - The subplot everyone will focus on Saturday afternoon when Georgia Tech travels to Charlottesville to take on University of Virginia will be the battle of the nation's leading passer and rusher -- Tech's Joe Hamilton versus UVA's Thomas Jones.

But actually, this game doesn't need a subplot. The Tech-UVA matchup has almost always guaranteed fans their money's worth.

Tech (6-1, 4-1) and UVA (4-4, 3-3) have met 16 times since 1983, when Tech joined the ACC. In seven of those games the margin of victory was seven points or less, along with one tie.

Many think the 1990 contest, which Tech won 41-38 on its way to claiming a share of the national championship, was the best game in the history of the ACC. Virginia was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 at the time, and the Cavaliers jumped out to a 28-14 halftime lead. But the Yellow Jackets rallied, and Scott Sisson kicked a 32-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining to give Tech the win.

Last season's game was eerily similar, with Tech coming back from 21 points down to win, 41-38. UVA, which missed a 54-yard field goal with 21 seconds left that would have sent the game into overtime, lost despite out gaining the Yellow Jackets 600 yards to 370.

It was the eighth-best total yardage performance in Virginia history, as Jones rushed for a season-high 207 yards and two scores, but it wasn't enough to offset a record-setting game by Yellow Jacket receiver Dez White who caught six passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns.

After the game, Jones was quoted as saying that Tech "got lucky." But Yellow Jacket strong safety Chris Young doesn't see it that way.

"It wasn't about being lucky," said the sophomore. "We got our extra wind, and we didn't give up. We kept fighting."

Though Young appeared a bit perturbed by Jones' assertion, he doesn't want to pour any more fuel on a fire that burns pretty well on its own.

"I'm not going to say anything," Young said.

WHAT, US WORRY?:

Even though Tech is ranked No. 7, with its only loss coming at the hands of No. 1 Florida State, and it has the nation's top offense and possibly the Heisman Trophy winner -- Joe Hamilton -- who also happens to be the nation's leading passer, the Yellow Jackets could still be shut out of one of the four Bowl Championship Series games.

FSU will take the ACC's automatic bid, and so Tech's fate will rest in the hands of the bowl selection committee, which could opt for a more "established" program from say, the Big 10.

Tech coach George O'Leary said he hasn't thought that much about the rankings and where his team fits in.

"We don't talk about it," O'Leary said of his assistant coaches and his team. "We made a pact with the team at the beginning of the year that we would play 11 one-game seasons. I think you need to worry more about playing the best way you can each Saturday. (BCS chances) can be short-lived if you don't take care of business on Saturday."