Originally created 10/06/01

Georgia Tech wary of Duke, despite recent history



RALEIGH, N.C. -- Duke has lost 16 straight games, a school record and the longest streak in the nation. The Blue Devils are last in the Atlantic Coast Conference in five major team categories and have lost by an average of 25 points per game this season.

Duke should be a pushover for a team like 17th-ranked Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets won't be taking this game lightly.

Georgia Tech (3-1, 0-1) has won six straight and 10 of 11 against Duke, but has struggled on the road against the Blue Devils. Georgia Tech's margin of victory has been 30 points in the last three home games against Duke, but it's just eight in the last three games in Durham.

"Playing in their stadium is almost like a scrimmage, because there's not many fans there and you're so far from the stands," Georgia Tech defensive tackle Merrix Watson said. "We haven't had too much fun up there the past couple of times."

To keep from stumbling against Duke (0-4, 0-2), Georgia Tech's defense will have to rebound from a lackluster performance against Clemson last week.

After allowing 21 points in its first three games, Georgia Tech gave up 502 total yards in a 47-44 overtime loss to Clemson. Quarterback Woodrow Dantzler did most of the damage, throwing for two touchdowns, rushing for two more and piling up 418 total yards.

Clemson also converted 15 of 22 third-down attempts.

"You can rehash it all you want, but it still comes down to third down and the success ratio against a team like that," Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary said. "That was the difference in the game."

Duke doesn't have anyone like Dantzler, but it does have two players that Georgia Tech must contain.

Running back Chris Douglas is nearly as elusive as Dantzler, ranking first nationally in all-purpose yards with 212 yards per game. Quarterback D. Bryant has developed into a solid quarterback, ranking fifth in the ACC in yards passing per game and sixth in total offense.

"They've basically come out and done a great job against most of the teams they've played," Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary said. "They're a much improved football team, there's no question."

The Georgia Tech game will end a tough stretch for Duke. It will be the third straight ranked opponent for Duke at home, marking the first time the Blue Devils have started a season with home games against three top-25 teams.

The three opponents - Florida State, Northwestern and Georgia Tech - are a combined 9-2.

"If you can play well and do some good things it can boost your guys' morale somewhat," said Duke coach Carl Franks, whose team plays 2-2 Wake Forest next week. "But when you're in the position that we are and you need to go win a football game it's pretty tough."

It doesn't get any easier for Duke against Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets' offense ranks eighth in the nation at 40.5 points per game, and leads the ACC in total offense, passing offense and passing efficiency.

Quarterback George Godsey is second in the nation in pass efficiency with a 180.4 rating, and has hit 69 percent of his passes for 820 yards and six touchdowns. Wide receiver Kelly Campbell leads the ACC with 6.3 receptions per game.

"They are a potent offense," Franks said. "They've got the ability to put a lot of points on the board. ... It's going to be a big challenge for us."