ANNAPOLIS, Md. - During the waning moments of Saturday's game against Navy, players from Georgia Tech finally broke their silence.
"A lot of people were talking about, 'Now we've got to get our minds ready for Florida State,"' said safety Cory Collins. "It's not going to be like this."
Of course, not much could match the thorough drubbing Georgia Tech administered in a record-shattering 70-7 win over the Midshipmen before 30,602 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
With the Seminoles just one week away, the Yellow Jackets showed that they're primed to make a statement. They scored their most points in a road game since 1913, when Georgia Tech beat Chattanooga, 71-6. They also put up their highest point total in any game since 1921, when they beat Davidson, 70-0. The last time they scored more came in a 74-0 win over Furman in 1919.
For players, however, the numbers mean nothing if the team fails to gain the respect it so eagerly craves.
"Some people say that we haven't played anybody, but they don't realize about Syracuse and the competition they have, and Navy, they don't quit," Collins said. "We've got to go out and attack them, and show everybody that it's not a fluke."
In this one, it took just a matter of moments for Georgia Tech to show it wasn't looking past the undersized and blatantly less talented Midshipmen. Twelve seconds, to be exact.
That's how long it took for Kelly Campbell to return Navy's opening kickoff 45 yards, leading to the first of five straight touchdown drives. Except for a missed 28-yard field goal attempt by Luke Manget, Georgia Tech scored every time it touched the ball in the first half, including 11- and 66-yard touchdown passes from George Godsey to Kelly Campbell and Kerry Watkins, respectively, and a 25-yard fumble recovery by Recardo Wimbush.
The Yellow Jackets (3-0) dominated both lines of scrimmage, outgaining Navy, 561-217, and forcing five turnovers. It was Navy's most lopsided loss in its 121 seasons, eclipsing a 70-14 loss to Michigan in 1976.
The final score was a shocker, especially considering that last year in Atlanta, Navy trailed Georgia Tech by only a 13-6 margin at the half.
"It tells us that we're maturing as a team, and that we're probably learning how to finish people," said tailback Joe Burns.
"I didn't know what Navy was going to be doing," said Georiga Tech coach George O'Leary. "They put 26 on the board against Temple (in a 45-26 loss), and any time you open up the field like that you have a chance to make big plays. They had the opportunities to make big plays and they did it."
Godsey finished 8-of-9 passing for 158 yards, while backup tailback Sidney Ford gained a career-high 129 yards on 22 carries. Burns finished with 70 yards on 11 carries.
Despite playing without starting quarterback Brian Madden, suspended for the first two games after allegedly conspiring with a teammate to steal a parking meter in downtown Baltimore, Navy routinely is among the nation's leaders in rushing yardage, using its option attack to frustrate opposing defenses.
The Jackets, however, were well prepared.
"For the past two weeks, that's what we've been seeing with Citadel, Syracuse and even a little bit from our team," said defensive end Greg Gathers. "That's what we've been seeing the whole time, so it was just a matter of coverage, being disciplined, staying on our assignments and just making sure we did everything right."
On a day when his team managed just 106 yards rushing, however, Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie said he thought Georgia Tech was trying to run up the score, specifically with a 42-yard pass from backup quarterback Andy Hall to tight end Will Heller with the Yellow Jackets already leading, 56-0, then later third-stringer Damarius Bilbo's 6-yard touchdown run off a bootleg with 32 seconds left.
"What goes around comes around," Weatherbie said.
O'Leary, however, quickly dismissed the notion.
"I have been at both ends of this kind of game, and it isn't fun," he said. "We just tried to do the right thing and run the ball. We played everybody, and our starters did what they had to do, offensively and defensively. We have other players who need to play and get better."
The Yellow Jackets lost their bid for a shutout when Raheem Lambert scored from a yard out with 3:38 left.
"A shutout is always good to have, but a win is a win," said Gathers. "It would've been nice, though."
Now, the focus shifts to Tallahassee, Fla., where Georgia Tech will attempt to post its first win against the Seminoles since 1975.
"I'm just excited," tailback Joe Burns said. "Our coaches are going to get together and come up with a great game plan. But we're going to have to come out and execute. We've got to come out with the same mentality we came out with today. Then after the game, we'll just sit back and look at the scoreboard, and see where we're at."
"We're ready to get up for Florida State," Collins said. "We've already talked about it in the lockerroom and on the sidelines. I think we're really ready to get after this team."
Who shined: QB George Godsey continued to throw up impressive numbers, despite only playing a half. The senior completed eight of nine passes for 158 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Over the past two weeks, Godsey is 22-for-25 for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
What worked: The offense, which handed Navy its most lopsided defeat since since the Midshipmen began playing football in 1879.
What didn't: Coach George O'Leary's postgame assessment. "We've still got a lot of work to get done," said O'Leary. "I don't know if you're ever ready to play Florida State."
What's next: Georgia Tech travels to Florida State at 7:45 p.m. Sept. 15 at Doak Campbell Stadium.
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