Georgia drops wild one to rival Tech in OT, 30-24
ATHENS, Ga. – In the first overtime game in the history of Sanford Stadium, the No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs fell 30-24 to in-state rival and 16th-ranked Georgia Tech in front of 92,746 fans and a nationally televised SEC Network audience at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, November 29. The Bulldogs end their regular season with a 9-3 record, while Georgia Tech improves to 10-2 on the season.
Nick Chubb, who finished with 129 yards on 25 carries, once again led the Bulldogs offensively. It was it seventh-straight 100-yard rushing game. Hutson Mason finished with 194 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 18-for-28 passing. His top target was Malcolm Mitchell, who finished with 56 yards and a touchdown on seven catches. Chris Conley did good work for the Bulldogs late in the game, finishing with 45 yards on three catches.
The Bulldog defense was led by Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera, who each finished with 19 tackles, including six solo stops. Damian Swann added 10 tackles. Lorenzo Carter and Leonard Floyd each had one tackle for loss. Swann came up with two fumble recoveries, including a goal line recovery that was returned for a school-record 99 yards and a score.
Georgia got on the board in a hurry, scoring on its opening drive. Chubb was the star of the drive, catching a 24-yard pass before rushing for 28 yards to set up 2nd-and-Goal at the Georgia Tech four. Two plays later, the Bulldogs went for it on 4th-and-Goal from the one. Chubb got the call and crossed the goal line for the score. Marshall Morgan connected on the extra point to give the Bulldogs an early 7-0 lead.
On Georgia’s third drive of the game, Chubb broke off a 65-yard run that got the Bulldogs down to the Georgia Tech one-yard line. Two plays later the ball was fumbled and recovered by the Jackets. The defense stepped up and force Georgia Tech to punt.
Georgia Tech looked to get on the board at the start of the second quarter, marching all the way down to the Georgia 20. As Tech tried for a 37-yard field goal, Ray Drew came leaping over the middle and blocked the kick. Swann picked up the ball and returned it for six yards. Georgia looked to take advantage of the blocked kick, but a fumble into the end zone resulted in a touchback for Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets drove the length of the field on the ensuing possession. A 7-yard touchdown pass to Darren Waller that tied the game at 7-7 capped off the drive. Highlighting the scoring drive was a 25-yard rush by Synjyn Days.
Georgia Tech got the ball to start the second half and drove all the way to the Georgia seven. With the Yellow Jackets looking to score, Swann ripped the ball from Justin Thomas’ arm and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown that put the Bulldogs up 14-7 after the PAT. The 99-yard return set a new Georgia record as the longest fumble return in school history.
The Bulldogs looked to add to its lead with just over six minutes left in the third quarter. Morgan lined up for a 49-yard attempt but the kick was blocked, resulting in Tech getting the ball at its own 37-yard line. It was the second blocked kick of the game. Georgia Tech turned the blocked kick into seven points, driving 63 yards on eight plays that tied the game up at 14-14.
The Bulldogs put together a 15-play, 73-yard drive that resulted in the Bulldogs taking a 17-14 lead after Morgan connected on a 19-yard field goal with 11:19 left to play. After the drive appeared to stall, Georgia lined up to attempt a field goal. Instead of the kick, holder Collin Barber pitched the ball over his head and Morgan took the ball 28 yards to the Georgia Tech three for the first down. He completed the drive six plays later with a short field goal.
Georgia Tech responded with a touchdown drive that went 80 yards in 13 plays that allowed the Yellow Jackets to take a 21-17 lead with just over four minutes left on the clock.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Yellow Jackets executed a perfect pooch kick, recovering at the Georgia 27. The Yellow Jackets picked up 10 yards before Thomas was sacked for a loss of 14 yards. During the play, Quincy Mauger stripped Thomas of the ball for a fumble that was recovered by Herrera at the Georgia 31.
The fumble recovery gave Georgia another chance. Mason started the drive with a pair of passes to Conley for a pickup of 20 yards. Sony Michel picked up another 10 yards that put Georgia at the Tech 21. Mason and Conley hooked up for another big gain, setting the Bulldogs up with 1st-and-Goal at the Georgia Tech five-yard line. Facing 4th-and-Goal with 22 seconds on the clock after a pair of incomplete passes and a short gain, Mason found Mitchell in the end zone for a three-yard touchdown pass that gave Georgia a 24-21 lead with 18 seconds left in the game.
The dramatics continued as Georgia Tech got a 16-yard kickoff return, coupled with gain of 21 yards on the first play of the drive. As time expired, kicker Harrison Butker was good from 53 yards, tying the game at 24-24 and sending it into overtime.
Georgia won the toss and elected to start on defense. Georgia Tech got the ball on the 25-yard line and worked its way into the end zone for the score. As Butker came on to kick the extra point, Ray Drew came up with a block that made it a 30-24 game. It was the third blocked kick of the game.
In Georgia’s overtime possession, Chubb got the call on the first two plays, picking up five yards. Mason connected with Conley on third down for a gain of 10 yards, giving the Bulldogs a fresh set of downs inside the 10. With Georgia looking for the winning touchdown, Mason’s pass was intercepted by D.J. White, which sealed Georgia Tech’s 30-24 win.
Georgia will await its bowl fate, as the destination announcement is set for Dec. 7.
Overtime Between The Hedges: For the first time in Sanford Stadium history, the Bulldogs played an overtime game. After today’s 30-24 defeat, the Bulldogs are now 6-5 in overtime (4-2 at an opponent’s field, 2-2 at neutral sites, 0-1 at home). The Bulldogs went 2-0 in overtime last season on the road including a 41-34 victory in double OT at Tech. Today, Tech scored first, and then the PAT was blocked by senior Ray Drew. However, Georgia’s OT possession ended with an interception, the first by Hutson Mason in 163 attempts dating back to the third quarter against Vanderbilt on Oct. 4. Georgia’s series lead is now 64-38-5 including 12-2 under Mark Richt. The Bulldogs are now 39-2 at home in non-conference games at Sanford Stadium with both losses to Tech (in 2008, 45-42). Today saw Georgia’s five-game winning streak in the series end.
Senior Defenders Star in Final Home Game: Senior linebackers Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera finished with a career-high 19 tackles each to lead the defense. Senior Damian Swann accounted for a defensive touchdown with a school record 99-yard fumble return and finished with 10 tackles. It was the longest fumble return for a TD in school history and longest since Sean Jones took one 92 yards at No. 13 Tennessee in 2003. Coming in to this season, a 99-yard fumble return ranks as in a tie for fourth longest in NCAA history and the longest since a 100-yarder in 1999 by Kevin Thomas (UNLV). Senior Ray Drew became the first Bulldog since 2000 (Jamie Henderson versus Vanderbilt) to block a field goal and a PAT in the same game.
Successful Fake Field Goal: On 4th and 12 at the Tech 31, Georgia attempted its first fake field goal since 1998, and it resulted in a successful 28-yard rush by placekicker Marshall Morgan. The drive ended with a 19-yard field goal and a 17-14 edge with 11:19 left. Before today, Georgia’s last fake FG was against Auburn in 1998 and it resulted in an interception in the endzone. The last successful fake FG before today was in 1997 against Tennessee as the holder Drew Cronic completed a 21-yard pass to Patrick Pass.
Touchdown Drive To Open The Contest: On the opening drive, senior Hutson Mason was 4-for-4 for 39 yards while freshman Nick Chubb accounted for 36 yards rushing on six carries and scored on a 4th and 1. It capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive in 4:03 for a 7-0 edge. In the first half, the Bulldogs converted two 4th-and-1 plays, making them 10-for-12 (83%) on fourth down this year. Georgia’s seven points is the lowest in the first half since the Florida game when it trailed 14-7. In the first half, Mason was 8-for-9 for 88 yards and finished 18-for-28 for 194 yards with one TD and one interception.
Points Off Turnovers: The Bulldogs got 14 points off two Tech turnovers. Georgia fumbled twice at the Tech 1 yard line, and it led to seven points, and it threw an interception in overtime to end the contest. Opponents have tallied 19 points off 11 Bulldog miscues this year. Tech got no points off the first Bulldog turnover (Nick Chubb) as senior Ray Drew blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt, and it was recovered by senior Damian Swann at the Bulldog 41. It was Georgia’s first blocked field goal since Auburn last year by Leonard Floyd. Late in the second quarter, freshman Sony Michel fumbled as it rolled in to the end zone for a touchback. It led to a touchdown to make it 7-7. In the second half, Swann forced and recovered a fumble at the Bulldog 1 and scampered 99 yards for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
Coming in today, Georgia ranked second in the nation with a +16 turnover margin (1.45/g). The Bulldogs now have scored 104 points off 26 turnovers. Today, it finished minus one in turnovers and ends the regular season +15. In the fourth quarter, Amarlo Herrera recovered a fumble by Tech QB Justin Thomas at the Bulldog 31 with 2:41 left and trailing 21-17. The Bulldogs went 69 yards in 12 plays in 2:23 capped by a 3-yard TD from Mason to Malcolm Mitchell for a 24-21 edge with 18 seconds left. Mitchell finished with seven catches for 56 yards and a TD.
Chubb Carries The Load Again: In the first half, freshman Nick Chubb had 117 rushing yards on 14 carries including a 65-yard gain, and he finished with 129 yards plus had three catches for 36 yards. Since moving in to a starting role, Chubb now has had seven straight games with at least 100 yards rushing. He is the first to do that since Herschel Walker in 1982 had 11 games in a row counting the bowl game. As a freshman in 1980, Walker had eight 100-yard rushing games but only four in a row.
For Starters: Senior linebacker Amarlo Herrera made his team-high 42nd career start including 27th in a row while senior center David Andrews extended the team’s longest consecutive string of starts to 39. Freshman Christian Payne made his first career start. He was one of two fullbacks that started.
Today’s Captains: The 2014 Senior Class served as the game captains, and the four Bulldogs who went out for the coin toss were David Andrews (C), Hutson Mason (QB), Ray Drew (DL) and Ramik Wilson (MLB). A total of 27 senior student-athletes were recognized during pre-game a ceremony.
Up Next: Georgia (9-3 overall, 6-2 SEC) will learn its bowl destination on Sunday, Dec. 7 when the pairings are announced. The Bulldogs will be making their 50th all-time appearance in a bowl and that ranks tied for fourth nationally. Additionally, Georgia will now have been to 18 straight bowl games, which extends its school record.
Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt
Overall thoughts on the game …
“I’m very proud of the players and how they played heroically. I’m disappointed the way it ended. … They guys played with a lot of heart and soul and put us in position to win. I’m so proud of the way they played and I’m sad it ended the way it did.”
On the squib kick …
“I’m disappointed in my decision to squib kick. That gave them the field position to get it in range and kick it. That was a poor decision on my part. That was no one’s decision but mine.”
On needing touchdowns more than field goals today …
“That’s usually the case in a game like this. They were calculated risks, but they were things we believed we could get done, so we took the risks and most times it worked.”
On Tech’s third-quarter time of possession …
“They had a lot of time of possession. They had a long drive, then we ripped it out and scored and we had to go back out and play defense again. That’s just part of the game. They did a good job of being methodical running the ball. We got some stops when we needed to, but we just didn’t get it done in the end.”
On the last play of the game …
“It was a slant route and the guy jumped it. He did a good job of undercutting it.”
On plays at the goal-line today …
“Goal-line plays were very interesting. We fumbled twice and we ripped one out and scored. The goal-line offenses for both struggled at times. It was unusual.”
On the fake field goal …
“We knew if they came hard off the edge there would be a chance to get it. Unfortunately, we didn’t score a touchdown, but we were in a lot better shape when we kicked a field goal. It was a calculated risk, but it was one we had repped and had faith in and executed it well.”
On Georgia’s last scoring drive in regulation …
“We believed if we got the ball again, we had a chance to score, and sure enough we did. It was a dramatic drive, scoring on fourth down. It looked like it was over, but obviously it wasn’t.”
QB Hutson Mason
On Georgia Tech’s offense controlling the game clock…
“There aren’t a whole lot of offenses that effect you as an offense also, but [Georgia Tech]’s does. They don’t give you too many possessions and you look up and half the quarter is gone. Against something like that you have to take advantage of opportunities and turn them into touchdowns instead of field goals.”
On the go-ahead touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell…
“I was running a read-pass combo and I was reading the WILL linebacker. I just saw that the guy that was covering Malcolm [Mitchell] was way over the top and I trusted Malcolm to be in the right place at the right time. It’s a trust route and I threw it to the spot and he got it.”
PK Marshall Morgan
On the fake field goal…
“[Adam Erickson] gave me a solid flip over his head and I ran around the corner and saw that it was completely corner. I think it was Jay Rome that gave me a huge block in the open field and we were able to get the first down.”
On his reaction when the play was called…
“I was very surprised. We had practiced it a lot and it was good in practice but I was definitely shocked when Coach Richt made the call. But we executed it well.”
DB Damian Swann
On today’s loss…
“We didn’t capitalize. We had opportunities but we didn’t capitalize on them. We don’t lost to them. We aren’t supposed to lose to them so it hurts. When we lose we have to hear about it for the next year. This hurts.”
On his fumble return for a touchdown…
“[Justin Thomas] followed the fullback and he ran up his back. When he did that the ball kind of came free and I saw it. I just tried to get into the play before they whistled it dead and I was able to come away with the ball.”
DE Ray Drew
On the way the game panned out…
“It’s football. Stuff happens and they were able to win on the scoreboard today.”
On losing his last collegiate home game…
“When you’re a winner you like to win. Losing hurts no matter what. But when it’s your last college home game and against a big rival, it just adds gasoline to the fire. It’s hard to compare this to anything else. This is on a whole other level.”