Clemson Flashback: Dantzler puts Tigers on his back (Photo by Clemson Athletics)
September 29, 2001…..
A game still remembered for the phenomenal performance by quarterback Woody Dantzler on the road in Bobby Dodd.
The game started fast and never let up from there. The No. 11 Yellowjackets opened up the scoring on a 22 yard field goal. The No. 25 Tigers then responded with a Travis Zachery touchdown run from three yards out. Tech finished off the first quarter with another field goal, this time from 47 yards out, to trail Clemson 7-6 after at the end of the first.
The second quarter was dominated early by the Yellowjackets. Georgia Tech both passed and ran for a touchdown to take a 19-7 lead late in the first half. Then with time running out, and the ball at the GT 38, Woody Dantzler dropped back into immediate pressure by the Yellowjackets. Dantzler escaped the rush and took off down field, eluding the Tech defense, and scoring with no time on the clock, making it 19-14 at the half.
The two teams would combine for 58 points in the second half. In the third quarter Dantzler connected with Matt Bailey for a 55 yard TD early that gave Clemson a brief lead, but Tech countered with a 35 yard TD completion.
The Tigers responded by putting together a nice 13 play, 80 yard drive fueled by a 18 yard catch by Derrick Hamilton that got Clemson deep into Tech territory. The drive was then finished off with a four yard Travis Zachary TD run. The two point conversion failed and Clemson began the fourth with a one point lead, 27-26.
Clemson started the fourth quarter with another TD as Zachery capped 18 play, 80 yard drive with a four yard run to put the Tigers up 34-26. In a game that saw the two teams go back and forth, Tech responded with back to back touchdowns, and Clemson now trailed 38-34.
The Tigers then had one possession left to try to catch the Jackets. They were looking at a 4th and 14 scenario from their own 36 yard line when Dantzler was able to find a streaking J.J. McKelvey for a late touchdown, putting them up 41-38 with around two minutes left. The Yellowjackets were then able to move down the field and set up a 20 yard field goal with 6 seconds left in regulation that sent the game into overtime.
Tech would get the ball first and Clemson was able to hold them to a field goal. McKelvey then kept the Tigers following drive alive with a nice 3rd and 5 catch that helped keep Clemson moving. Then, as fate would have it, Dantzler’s 11 yard scamper into the end zone won the game for the Tigers and helped them escape Bobby Dodd with a huge victory over an 11th ranked Yellowjacket team.
Dantzler was fantastic in this one. He rushed 25 times for 164 yards and completed 18 of his 32 pass attempts for 254 yards. He threw for two TD’s and ran for two more. The McKelvey play in regulation was remarkable. Especially since it came late in the contest and on a 4th down play.
A game that a shootout in every sense of the word, and on this day, Clemson just had a little more firepower than Tech. It came in the form of a quarterback named Woody.
Another awesome find while researching this one was this radio call by the late great voice of the Tigers, Jim Phillips, calling Woody Dantzler’s game winning run in overtime.
*** There are two full games in this YouTube video. The first one is the 2001 game.