There’s only 98 days left until Georgia Tech football begins their 2019 season and there’s no better time to remember the Jackets 1998 squad that was the ACC Co-Champions.
21-years ago, the 1998 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets took the field for the fifth time under head coach George O’Leary. The Jackets in 1998 would put together one of their best seasons of the 90s (obviously not the best) going 10-2 on the year and 7-1 in conference play. The Jackets would end up being the ACC Co-Champions with the Florida State Seminoles.
The Jackets season didn’t get off to the start that you may remember, the Jackets lost their season opener in 1998 to Boston College in a high scoring affair 41-31. At the time, Boston College was a member of the Big East. The Eagles would actually win their first three games of the season but would go 1-7 in the last eight weeks of their season and finish with a 4-7 record.
After the loss to Boston College, the Jackets ripped off five-straight wins. They beat New Mexico State (42-7), North Carolina (43-21), Duke (41-13), No. 23 NC State (47-24), and No.7 Virginia (41-38). That last victory over the Cavaliers was also the first week in 1998 that the Jackets were ranked, coming in at No.25.
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Following those five-straight wins, the Jackets took their second loss of the season when they took on the No.6 ranked Florida State Seminoles, their third-straight ranked opponent. It was a no-contest, with the Seminoles running away with a 34-7 victory. The Jackets did bounce back, however, winning their last four regular season games with wins over Maryland (31-14), Clemson (24-21), Wake Forest (63-35), and No.12 Georgia (21-19).
With their 9-2 regular season record, the then ranked No.12 Jackets earned a trip to the Gator Bowl where they took on No.17 Notre Dame. The two top-25 programs would have a great game before the Jackets pulled out a 35-28 victory.
All stats courtesy of The Georgia Tech athletic department and RramblinWreck.com.
QB Joe Hamilton: The 1998 season was Joe Hamilton’s junior season on The Flats and he put together a preview of what fans and media would see in his senior season which won him a ton of accolades. Hamilton as a junior completed 56% of his passes for 2,166-yards, 17 touchdowns and 8 interceptions.
WR Dez White: Dez White had a tremendous season in 1998, leading the Yellow Jackets in receiving. White that season had 46 receptions for 973-yards and 9 touchdowns. He had an incredible yard per catch of 21.2. He also had almost 700-yards in kick returns and added in one touchdown on a kick return.
RB Charlie Rogers: Charlie Rodgers was a tremendous threat out of the backfield for the Yellow Jackets with the ability to run with the ball but also with the ability to be a receiver. Rogers finished with 439 rushing yards and 233 receiving yards for a total yardage of 672-yards which ended second best on the team.
RB Phillip Rogers: Phillip Rogers also had a pretty good 1998 season with 466 rushing yards and 144 receiving yards for a total of 610-yards. He also had four touchdowns on the season.
LB Deluanta Cameron: Cameron led the Jackets in tackles with 90 including 10 tackles for a loss. He also had four sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles.
DE Jesse Tarplin: Tarplin In 1998 has 72 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and 9.5 sacks.
DE Felipe Claybrooks: The Jackets defense was deep in 1998 and that’s easy to see as Claybrooks was a third sting DE in the final depth chart but still managed 37 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, and 10 sacks. His 10 sacks led the entire defense.