November 11, 1998
CLEMSON, S.C.–(AP) The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets look to maintain their position atop the ACC when they visit the conference-rival Clemson Tigers on Thursday night.
Georgia Tech (6-2, 5-1 ACC) shares first place with Florida State, which can clinch at least a tie for the conference title with a win over Wake Forest on Saturday.
Although his team’s title chances may be fading, Tech coach George O’Leary will have his players motivated.
“This is a big game, but they’re all big when you win,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary and his Yellow Jackets have had some memorable contests against Clemson (2-7, 1-6).
“I would say that along with Georgia, Clemson is our biggest rival because they are so close, and I know our players like going up there and playing,” O’Leary said. “We’ve had close games and they’ve always been hard-fought games.”
The Tigers have played well at home against Tech, winning seven of their last nine on their own field. However, the Yellow Jackets lead the series 40-20-2 and defeated Clemson in Atlanta last year.
Tech, coming off a bye week, will need an effective game from quarterback Joe Hamilton, who has battled injuries this season.
“The open week came at a great time for us because we’ve been nicked up a little bit,” O’Leary said. “Joe is back to full strength this week and there’s no question the week off has helped him.”
Hamilton has thrown for 1,614 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Wideout Dez White has 36 catches for 839 receiving yards and eight TDs.
Tech’s “Rambling Wreck” defense is led by defensive end Jesse Tarplin who has eight sacks.
Clemson, also idle last week, will be no easy task. Quarterback Brandon Streeter leads the ACC in passing, throwing for 1,614 yards and 14 TDs. Streeter also set school records for completions and yardage in a home loss to N.C. State two weeks ago.
Receiver Brian Wofford has 465 yards on 31 catches and tailback Travis Zachery leads the team with 488 rushing yards.
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