» «
Kickoff Classic XIX
Georgia Tech vs. Syracuse
August 26, 2001 - Giants Stadium

    Helen Strus, KOC, 201-460-4355
    Sue Edson, Syracuse, 315-443-2608
    Mike Stamus, Georgia Tech, 404-894-5445


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Jan. 31, 2001 -Georgia Tech and Syracuse will meet in Kickoff Classic XIX on Sunday, August 26 at 2:00 p.m. at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The game will be nationally televised by ABC Sports.

"Once again the Kickoff Classic is proud to present two of America's outstanding football programs," NJSEA President and CEO James A. DiEleuterio, Jr. said. "This will only serve to enhance the game's reputation of being the showcase for America's finest college football players and coaches."

Georgia Tech is coming off a 9-3 record and a second-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2000 as the Yellow Jackets exceeded all expectations in what most had predicted to be a rebuilding year. Led by all-ACC quarterback George Godsey, the Jackets earned their fourth straight bowl berth, a first for the program since the 1950's.

Godsey, who passed for 2,906 yards and 23 touchdowns, record-setting receiver Kelly Campbell and tailback Joe Burns are among the seven returning starters to a Tech offense that averaged 435.4 yards and 33.8 points a game. Nine starters return on defense, including big-play defensive ends Creg Cathers and Nick Rogers, who combined for 22 sacks. The Jackets, who have averaged nine wins over the last three seasons, welcome back 36 of their top 44 players on offense and defense.

Tech and the Orangemen will meet on the gridiron for the first time, but Rambling wreck head coach George O'Leary is no stranger to Syracuse. Winner of the 2000 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award and the ACC Coach of the Year for the second time in three years, O'Leary began his college coaching career with the Orange. He served as defensive line coach and assistant head coach at Syracuse from 1980-86 before coming to Tech in 1987 as defensive coordinator.

The 2000 Syracuse defense provided plenty of highlight reel material, while the Orange offense relied on 1,000-yard rusher Dee Brown and his backfield mate, James Mungro, for a spark in SU's 14th-consecutive winning season. SU, which finished with a 6-5 overall record and a 4-3 mark in the Big East Conference, is one of just four schools to have an active streak of 14 winning seasons.

Defensive end Dwight Freeney paced the SU front four with 13 sacks in seven games, before he was sidelined by illness. The Orange defense finished the season ranked 18th in the nation. SU was 12 in pass defense and tied for 23rd in scoring defense. Brown saved his best performance in an SU uniform for last, establishing a Carrier Dome record by gaining 239 yards on the ground and becoming the first 1,000-yard rusher since 1989.

In 2001 head coach Paul Pasqualoni will welcome the return of six defensive starters, including Freeney at defensive end, linebackers Clifton Smith and JR Johnson, free safety Quentin Harris, strong safety Keeon Walker and cornerback Willie Ford. On the offensive side of the ball eight starters will be back, including quarterback R.J. Anderson, fullback Chris Davis, receiver Malik Campbell, tight end Graham Manley and offensive linemen PJ Alexander, Sean O'Connor, Nick Romeo and Joe Burton.

This will mark the third appearance for Syracuse in the Kickoff Classic and second for Georgia Tech. SU shut out Wisconsin 34-0 in 1997 and was defeated 34-16 by Southern California in 1990. Penn State defeated Georgia Tech 34-22 in the 1991 Kickoff Classic.

Last year, Southern California defeated Penn State 29-5 in Kickoff Classic XVIII.

Two teams that played in the Kickoff Classic have gone on to win the national championship - Florida State in 1993 and Nebraska in 1994. In addition, five defending national champions have appeared in the Classic - Penn State (1983), Miami (984), Brigham Young (1985), Notre Dame (1986) and Georgia Tech (1991).

Georgia Tech and Syracuse will each receive a minimum guaranteed payout of $650,000 or 30 percent of gross revenues, whichever is greater, for playing the game.

The Kickoff Classic is managed by the NJSEA under the auspices of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Beneficiaries of the game are the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, the American Football Coaches Association, NACDA, and the Independent College Fund of New Jersey.

In the 18-year history of the game, the NFF and the College Hall of Fame have received over $7 million in Kickoff Classic proceeds, much of which has been distributed in post-graduate scholarships to deserving scholar athletes. The Independent College Fund of New Jersey has received over $475,000 from its participation with the game.

Tickets will go on sale Monday, April 30. Ticket prices have not yet been determined. Tickets will be available at the Continental Airlines Arena Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets. To charge by phone, call (201) 507-8900 or (212) 307-7171, Event Information (201) 935-3900 or www.meadowlands.com. Group Sales (25+): 201-460-4370.