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Last-Minute Win for Georgia Tech

November 13, 1998|From Associated Press

CLEMSON, S.C. — Georgia Tech running back Joe Burns was thinking about only one thing during the last drive: "The season."

"We kept saying, 'We've got to score, we've got to score.' We knew if we wanted to win the [Atlantic Coast Conference] championship, we had to do it," said Burns, whose one-yard touchdown run with one minute remaining to play lifted No. 22 Georgia Tech to a 24-21 victory over Clemson on Thursday night.

With a victory at home next week against Wake Forest, the Yellow Jackets (7-2 overall, 6-1 in the ACC) clinch a tie for their first title in eight years.

For Clemson (2-8, 1-7), it was another discouraging loss in its worst season in 23 years. The Tigers were ahead, 21-17, in the fourth quarter and choked off one Georgia Tech drive.

But Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton got the ball back with 2:30 to go, finding Charlie Rogers for 28 yards and Dez White for 15 to Clemson's four. Two plays later, Burns burst in for the go-ahead score.

The Tigers' final possession couldn't get past their 23-yard line.

"If we didn't get it and we lost the ACC title, we wouldn't have anyone to point the fingers at except ourselves," said Hamilton, who was 17 of 32 for 190 yards. "That's what kept us going."

It was the second consecutive game Clemson lost in the final moments. Torry Holt's touchdown with 37 seconds to go gave North Carolina State a 46-39 victory at Clemson two weeks ago.

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