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Historical Analysis: Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl

Now we take a look at Tech's history in this game.

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Yesterday, we took a look at the historical series between Georgia Tech and Mississippi State, and now today, we're going to examine Tech's history in the Orange Bowl.


Georgia Tech's first trip to the Orange Bowl was a successful one. It came against favored Missouri and All-American quarterback Paul Christman by a final score of 21-7.

Christman was a good passer, but 147-pound Tech quarterback Johnny Bosch outplayed him completely en route to Tech's victory.

After Christman scored the first touchdown, the Yellow Jackets started scoring and never looked back. Their first touchdown came after a 63-yard drive capped off by Howard Ector's one-yard touchdown run.

In the second quarter, Rob Ison ran the ball nearly 60 yards to give Tech the only lead they would need for this game.

Tech scored their final touchdown after Missouri was forced to punt after turning the ball over at the one-yard line. After the punt return, Tech had the ball at the Tigers' 34-yard line, and from there, Early Wheby ran the ball the rest of the way for the touchdown.


Tech's second Orange Bowl didn't turn out quite as well for them. Frank Broyles threw for a record 304 yards, but the Jackets were only able to muster up 12 points in a loss to Tulsa, who scored 26.

This was a game of revenge for Tulsa, who Tech had beaten in the Sugar Bowl 20-18 the year prior.

Tulsa jumped out to a 20-point lead and never turned back.


In 1948, the Yellow Jackets entered in as two touchdown favorites over Kansas, but the Jayhawks kept it interesting, only losing 20-14.

After going into halftime tied at seven, the Yellow Jackets scored two third quarter touchdowns to take a 20-7 lead.

Tulsa stormed right back to make it a six-point game and nearly won the whole thing. Tulsa had driven all the way down to the one-yard line with only 37 seconds left in the game. Quarterback Lynn McNutt lined up to run a QB sneak, but fumbled it only to have it recovered by Tech's Rollo Phillips to seal the victory.


In 1952, it was a close game that came right down to the wire before Pepper Rodgers nailed a game-winning field goal to seal a 17-14 victory over Baylor.

The Bears came in and dominated the first half, leading the Yellow Jackets 14-7 at the break. With 6:53 left in the game, however, Darrell Crawford sent a 22-yard pass to Buck Martin for the game-tying touchdown.

A few minutes later, Tech intercepted a pass at midfield and returned it up to the nine-yard line. After two runs, they had only gained three yards, so Tech opted to pass. Incomplete.

They faced fourth down, so Bobby Dodd sent in second-team quarterback Pepper Rodgers to try the 22-yard field goal. It split the uprights giving Tech the victory.


This one was pretty bad. The Heisman-winning Steve Spurrier-led Florida Gators rolled Tech by a final score of 27-12.

Spurrier wasn't really the problem for Tech in this game. Halfback Larry Smith was. His 187 rushing yards, which included a 94-yard touchdown run following a Kim King interception, proved to be much more than the Yellow Jackets could handle.

There was really only one bright spot for Tech that whole day. Lenny Snow ran for 110 yards and also brought in a 52-yard reception.

Perhaps the saddest part of this game was that it was Bobby Dodd's last as a coach for Georgia Tech.


This one was also pretty bad. Paul Johnson's Yellow Jackets had had one of the best offenses in the country in only his first year as the head coach, but they were no match for Iowa's NFL talent-laden defense who won by a final score of 24-14.

Tech's offense was absolutely abysmal in this game, totaling season-lows in first downs (9) and total yards (155). Leading the defense was defensive end Adrian Clayborn who had nine tackles and two sacks.

The Hawkeyes' offense wasn't too shabby either. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed 17 of his 29 passes for 231 yards and two early touchdowns. True freshman running back Brandon Wegher also carried the ball 16 times for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Bonus: Mississippi State's Lone Orange Bowl: 1941

In its long history of football, Mississippi State has only ever been to one Orange Bowl, the one in 1941. In that game, they overcame a defensive struggle with Georgetown to win 14-7.

Late in the first quarter, the game was scoreless when Georgetown was forced to punt from their own endzone. Hunter Corhern broke through the line to block the punt, which Mississippi State recovered for a touchdown.

The Bulldogs were only able to muster up 119 yards of total offense, allowing Georgetown 221 yards, but were still able to come away with the victory thanks to that blocked punt.

What does this mean for us?

Tech is 3-3 in the Orange Bowl. Mississippi State is 1-0. Other than records, there was only one pattern that I noticed. Tech started out winning one game and then losing one game. After that they won two games prior to losing the next two. If that streak were to continue, Tech should win their next three Orange Bowl appearances before they lose again. And hopefully at that point, this streak will end.

But that depends on how superstitious you are.

How will Tech's history in the Orange Bowl influence this year's Orange Bowl?