Another Nail-Biter in Clean, Old Fashioned Hate


Sixty minutes of football couldn’t end this year’s version of the rivalry between Georgia and Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets take home this year’s version with a 30-24 win in overtime.

The similarities in ending’s for these last two matchups are astounding, with the winning team getting momentum before the end of regulation. Last year, it was Georgia getting the late touchdown to send it to overtime and then defending a pass on fourth down to end the game. This year, it was Georgia Tech getting the 53 yard field goal from placekicker Harrison Butker as time expired.

This time Georgia Tech scores the winning touchdown on a Zach Laskey two yard run and then junior cornerback DJ White intercepted Hutson Mason to end the game.

This game saw so many crazy things happen. Georgia’s freshman running back tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both fumbled on the goal line. Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas also fumbled at the goal line, to then see Bulldogs senior defensive back Damian Swann run it back for a 99 yard touchdown. That was the largest fumble return in Georgia Football history. We also saw one blocked field goal for each team and then a blocked extra point in overtime.

All of those were huge parts of this game. That said, it seems the final seconds of the fourth quarter are what decided the game.

With just 18 seconds left in the game, Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell’s three yard touchdown catch on fourth and goal from the three yard line, looked like it was all but going to ice another win over their rivals from Atlanta. It was what happened next that threw this game into a tailspin for Georgia.

On the kickoff, Georgia decided to squib kick to Georgia Tech. The ball was fielded and returned to the Tech 43 yard line. Just a couple plays later is when Tech was able to set up their game tying field goal. Leading up to that point is what has fans scratching their heads. After the loss, Georgia head coach Mark Richt took the blame for calling that type of kickoff.

“When it came to the deciding to squib the kick at the end, basically giving them enough field position/opportunity to get position to get the kick, not a good decision there,” Richt said.

Richt preceded that quote by saying that he’s “probably as sick as I’ve ever been after a loss.” Later Richt was asked about that decision to squib the ball down the field. He says that there is a risk of kicking it deep does make the possibility of a kickoff return for a touchdown even greater. That said, he says they should have kicked it deep and let their coverage unit bring down the return man.

As you can imagine, players were heartbroken coming off the field following the loss. Some had tears and others had blank looks on their face heading for the dressing room. Senior linebacker Ramik Wilson played his final game at Sanford Stadium and was in a somber mood following this loss.

“That’s a good football team (Georgia Tech) and they kept converting (third downs),” Wilson said. “They’d get four yards a carry, four yards the next carry, and get another two (yards) to get a first down. We couldn’t get off the field on third down when we needed to make a stop. It prolonged the drive and they made plays.”

Georgia Tech converted eight out of 16 third downs in this game. That is actually eight percent below their national leading season average. The Jackets went four of seven on third down’s in the second half.

This was senior day for the Georgia Bulldogs and that fact stings all by itself for the players that were playing their final game inside Sanford Stadium. They did lose out on the chance to head to Atlanta next week for the SEC Championship game. Those chances ended with Missouri beating Arkansas last night. That might have been a letdown for the fans, but senior wide receiver Jonathan Rumph says that didn’t affect them.

“This was a big game for us,” Rumph said. “Every game is a big game. We put ourselves in that situation to have to depend on Arkansas. We couldn’t blame anybody but ourselves. That didn’t have anything to do with this, because we kept our focus and were ready for this.”

This year’s Georgia team still has a chance to win 10 games, when they play their bowl game. It is currently November 29. They’ll likely play again later next month or early in January. Senior quarterback Hutson Mason says that will be a long 30-plus days.

“It will be long man,” Mason said. “Pretty crappy way as seniors (to end it), we won some big games this year and put ourselves in opportunities to do something special. Obviously we didn’t control our own destiny. But, still to go to a (playoff committee) bowl game after today and it just didn’t happen. It stinks.”

Georgia will find out their bowl game destination next Sunday night, when the announcements are made. We do know that the playoff committee bowl games are out of the question. This means that Georgia could be making yet another New Year’s Day Florida bowl game.

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