Special to the Journal
Atlanta, Ga - Georgia Tech will honor the 1951 and 1952 Yellow Jacket football teams at halftime of Tech’s game against Virginia Sept. 14 at Bobby Dodd Stadium. This marks the 60th anniversary of Tech’s 1952 national championship. The contest with the Cavaliers will kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET and be televised by ESPNU.
The two teams combined for a 23-0-1 record under legendary head coach Bobby Dodd. Both teams won Southeastern Conference titles and won their bowl games. The 1951 team defeated ninth-ranked Baylor 17-14 in the Orange Bowl. The 1952 team defeated seventh-ranked Ole Miss 24-7 in the Sugar Bowl to win a share of the national championship. The win over the Rebels gave Tech its third national title.
“It is truly an honor for us to welcome back this group of men that are so much a part of our history,” said Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich. “Back-to-back undefeated seasons, two SEC titles and a national championship pretty much says it all. Without question this was the greatest two-year run in the history of our program. We want to celebrate with them on this 60th anniversary.”
The 1951 team began the season unranked and reached as high as No. 3 in the polls before finishing fifth. The Yellow Jackets won their first six games before a 14-14 tie with Duke and won the SEC title. The game against the Blue Devils was the only contest in which Tech surrendered more than seven points in the regular season. The undefeated regular season was capped by a 48-6 win over Georgia in front of 40,000 fans on the Flats. Nine Jackets earned All-SEC honors with guard Ray Beck and defensive tackle Lamar Wheat named All-Americans.
Georgia Tech capped its undefeated season with a thrilling 17-14 win over ninth-ranked Baylor in front of 65,837 fans at the Orange Bowl when Pepper Rodgers’ last-second field goal secured a comeback victory over the Bears.
The 1952 team, captained by George Morris and Hal Miller, shut out four opponents and allowed more than seven points only twice all year en route to Tech’s fifth SEC championship and third national title. The Yellow Jackets defeated sixth-ranked Duke 28-7 in Durham and downed 12th-ranked Alabama 7-3 when Jake Rudolph tackled the Tide’s Bobby Marlow to preserve the unbeaten season and secure a Sugar Bowl bid. Tech finished the regular season with a 23-9 win at Georgia, the fourth straight win over the Bulldogs. A 24-7 win over seventh-ranked and previously unbeaten Ole Miss in the Sugar Bowl earned a share of the national title and extended Tech’s unbeaten streak to 26 games.
Fifteen Yellow Jackets earned All-SEC honors in 1952 and six – center Pete Brown, half back Leon Hardeman, end Buck Martin, offensive tackle Hal Miller, defensive back Bobby Moorhead and linebacker George Morris – earned All-America accolades.
Members of the team and their families will gather for a brunch Saturday morning before being recognized at the game against Virginia.