A look at Georgia Tech football and Duke football’s historic rivalry game that dates back to 1933.
On Saturday afternoon, the Georgia Tech football team will travel to Durham, North Carolina to take on the Duke Blue Devils. The meeting between the two programs will be the the 84th meeting all time, the Jackets hold a 51-1-32 lead over the Blue Devils.
The first meeting between the two programs occurred all the way back in 1933 when William Alexander was head coach of the Yellow Jackets. That was Alexander’s 14th season as Jackets head coach. On that day the Jackets shutout the Blue Devils 6-0. An interesting note regarding the series is each of the first three games, one team had been shutout. Following the Jackets 6-0 victory in 1933, the Blue Devils returned the favor in 1934, walking away with a 20-0 victory. In 1935, it was deja vu for the two teams as the Jackets once again won 6-0.
After the Jackets win in 1935, there was a long period of Duke dominance in the series. From 1936 to 1945, the Blue Devils won all but one matchup including a six-game win streak, the longest in the series for Duke. The win streak also came in the glory days for Duke football, as the 1930s and 1940s featured the best Duke football teams ever seen. From 1946 to 1984, the series would be rather back and forth, teams exchanging periods of dominance over the other.
Heading into the 1984 season, the series was deadlock at 25-1-25. But since then it has been nearly all Georgia Tech. In the 33 matchups since 1984, the Jackets have walked away with 26 victories, the Blue Devils have won just seven. It’s been the longest dominating period over the history over the matchup.
Since head coach Paul Johnson took over, the Jackets are 7-2 against the Blue Devils. The two losses came in 2014 and 2015, the first time the Blue Devils won back-to-back games since they won three straight from 1987 to 1989. The Jackets recent dominance over the Blue Devils overshadows what once used to be a great rivalry between the two programs.
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Overall, the rivalry between the programs has died down as Duke’s program slowly descended into a bottom feeder program in the ACC. While the Blue Devils have years where they can put it all together, they’ve struggled mightily since their glory days overall. The Jackets on the other hand experienced great times in the 80s and 90s and since then have been a rather average to above-average program. As Duke looks to rise under David Cutcliffe in the future, the Jackets will look to stay ahead of the curve and remain one of the better teams year in and year out in college football.