John Dewberry and Roddy Jones are 26 years apart, but they have something in common.
They did their best to ease Georgia Tech’s pain during a 50-year-plus period in which the Yellow Jackets have struggled mightily against Georgia.
A confident quarterback turned real estate mogul, Dewberry led Georgia Tech to victories over Georgia in 1984 and ’85.
Jones, who now works for the ACC Network, had a memorable touchdown run and rushed for 214 yards in the Yellow Jackets’ win in Athens in 2008.
Believe it or not, those are three of Tech’s 13 wins over the Bulldogs in the last 52 years.
Both Dewberry and Jones are from metro Atlanta, Dewberry going to Milton High School and Jones to Chamblee.
Dewberry brought the Fulton County school its first real taste of winning, beating rival Roswell three straight times.
Jones is the all-time leading rusher in DeKalb County history with 5,055 yards.
Dewberry actually signed with Georgia and coach Vince Dooley after Georgia’s 1980 national championship season, but stayed there only one year and transferred to Tech.
After sitting out the 1982 season because of the transfer rules, he became the Jackets’ starting quarterback after an 0-4 start.
As a junior in ’84, Tech went 6-4-1 and beat a ranked Georgia team 35-18 in Athens.
The next season, Tech upset Alabama early in the year and then defeated another ranked Georgia team 20-16 on its way to going 9-2-1.
Dewberry threw for 4,193 yards and 22 touchdowns, and also ran for 630 yards and nine scores in three seasons at Tech.
He played for Calgary in the Canadian Football League before starting successful real estate firms. He’s also an influential Tech alum.
Jones chose Tech over Clemson and Maryland.
He was redshirted in 2007, but broke into the lineup the next year, which was Paul Johnson’s first as coach.
Tech defeated Georgia 45-42, a game in which Jones had a memorable 54-yard score where he tiptoed down the sideline to give Tech a 10-point fourth-quarter lead.
Jones started a school-record 52 games and finished with 1,864 yards and 19 touchdowns.
He became part of Tech’s radio team in 2014.
Where they live: Dewberry splits time between homes in Charleston and Atlanta. He is engaged to Jaimie Brown and will be married in Italy in July. Jones lives in Atlanta and is not married.
What they do: Now 53, Dewberry founded Dewberry Capital in 1989 and has grown the company into one of the leading commercial real estate firms in the Southeast. Jones, who is 27, works fulltime for Interface, selling commercial modular carpet. He spends his weekends as a sideline reporter for the ACC Network.
On why Dewberry didn’t stay at Georgia: “I didn’t practice very well, lost my confidence and my father never felt I was going to get the chance to play quarterback.’’
On why he got a chance to play at Tech: “We were 0-3 and going up to play Clemson, and it was about an hour before the bus left and I went into coach (Bill) Curry’s office and slammed my fist on his desk and said, ‘I know I haven’t practiced well, but you don’t have a quarterback here. You don’t have a leader.’ ”
On beating Georgia: “I had a writer call me and tell me once that Tech was 2-48 when Tech teams went into games where Georgia was ranked. What we accomplished had never been done in the history of the series up to that point. And I was two fingers short of a third win (1983), when Tony Flack picked me off (Tech lost 27-24) in the end zone. ’’
On what Tech did for Dewberry: “It challenged me academically. And what I helped do for them was make them believe that we can win. Just because you have high academic standards doesn’t mean you can’t have high athletic results.’’
Jones on the win over the Bulldogs: “We were thin at A back. It was just me and Lucas Cox, and Luke was the bigger guy and did a lot on the perimeter, and I was smaller and faster. I actually thought the biggest play in the game was when Jonathan Dwyer opened the second half with that long TD run.’’
On his long scoring run: “It was third-and-7 and I was trying to get the first down and I remember moving around two guys trying to tackle me and getting to the sidelines. I didn’t know if I was out of bounds or not, but wasn’t going to stop running. We all thought they were going to review it, but they never did. I remember seeing a photo a couple of years later which showed about an inch of green grass between my foot and the sideline.’’
On Johnson: “The one thing we knew about him was he was always going to be honest with his players. If you were not getting the playing time, you knew why.’’
On his getting his degree from Tech: “I am proud of it. I love telling people I graduated from Georgia Tech, as I think it is one of the most underrated degrees in the country. I think it stacks up with Harvard, Duke and Yale. It is probably more difficult to get a degree from Tech than those schools.’’