Georgia Tech's Preston Lyons runs past Utah's Conroy Black, center, and Mo Lee on his way into the end zone during the Sun Bowl on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Lyons' breakout game was all for naught, however, after the Yellow Jackets squandered a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, then missed a field goal in regulation that would've won it before falling in OT, 30-27.
EL PASO, Texas — John White took his final hand-off of the day, followed his lead blocker and set of a celebration.
White plowed into the end zone from 8 yards out to give Utah a 30-27 overtime victory against Georgia Tech on Saturday in the Sun Bowl.
"They trusted me with the ball, so I saw Shawn Asiata blast somebody and I knew I was going to go in," White said. "As soon as the ball crossed the plain I looked up to the ref and saw his hands go up and knew it was a touchdown so I just wanted to go celebrate with my teammates."
Justin Moore kicked a 34-yard field goal in Georgia Tech's overtime possession to take a three-point lead, but White finished a 115-yard rushing day with the game-winning score on his 26th carry.
The Utes (8-5) tied it in regulation when Jon Hays hit DeVonte Christopher with a 28-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-14 with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter.
"There's no quit in these guys," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "They kept believing, coaches kept believing, and we found a way to win in the end."
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson was disappointed with his team's play in the fourth quarter.
"We couldn't block in the fourth quarter and the plays we needed to make just didn't happen," Johnson said. "It feels like somebody kicked you in the gut. When you are competitive, it really hurts"
The Yellow Jackets (8-5) drove to the Utah 31 with 2 seconds left, but David Scully missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt as time expired to send the Sun Bowl to overtime for the first time in its 77-year history. Moore had earlier missed two 42-yard tries for Tech.
"I thought (Scully) hit the ball good and I actually thought it went in but I guess it was a few feet to the right," Johnson said. "We didn't make enough plays and we missed three field goals."
Georgia Tech lost its seventh straight bowl appearance and Utah improved to 7-1 in bowls under Whittingham.
Georgia Tech's Preston Lyons, who came in with only 39 carries, rushed for a career-best 140 yards on 18 carries and Tevin Washington passed for 137 yards and ran for 97.
Utah grabbed a 7-0 lead on Asiata capped the game-opening drive with a 1-yard run.
With David Sims out of with an injury and Orwin Smith also ailing, Georgia Tech relied heavily on Lyons, who put the Yellow Jackets on the board with a 36-yard run up the middle tie the game at 7.
Lyons finished the first half with 129 yards on 12 carries.
"Defensively we were real soft against the running game in the first half," Whittingham said. "They had a nice scheme and showed us stuff we didn't practice. It took us a while to adjust to that and we gave a bunch of rushing yards in the first half however only seven points, which is the bottom line."
Coleman Peterson banked in a 25-yard field goal with 14 seconds left in the first half to give the Utes a 10-7 lead.
A 27-yard punt by Utah set up Moore's 32-yard field goal to tie it in the third quarter.
The Yellow Jackets scored again on their next possession. Washington hit Embry Peeples with a 58-yard pass, then found Stephen Hill for a 31-yard touchdown to make it 17-10.
Moments later, Quayshawn Nealy picked off a pass by Hays and returned it down the sideline 74 yards for a touchdown with 4:14 left in the third quarter.
"We should have put the game away in the fourth quarter," Johnson said. "We didn't let up. We ran most of the same plays in the fourth quarter that we ran in the rest of the game."
Hays hit Kendrick Moeai with a 3-yard touchdown pass with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter to make it 24-17.
Hays went 15 for 31 for 193 yards.
Georgia Tech Bowl History
Dec. 31, 2011 Sun Bowl_Utah 30, Georgia Tech 27, OT
Dec. 27, 2010 Independence Bowl_Air Force 14, Georgia Tech 7
Jan. 5, 2010 Orange Bowl_Iowa 24, Georgia Tech 14
Dec. 31, 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl_LSU 38, Georgia Tech 3
Dec. 31, 2007 Humanitarian Bowl_Fresno St. 40, Georgia Tech 28
Jan. 1, 2007 Gator Bowl_West Virginia 38, Georgia Tech 35
Dec. 29, 2005 Emerald Bowl_Utah 38, Georgia Tech 10
Dec. 21, 2004 Champ Sports Bowl_Georgia Tech 51, Syracuse 14
Jan. 3, 2004 Humanitarian Bowl_Georgia Tech 51, Tulsa 10
Dec. 31, 2002 Silicon Valley Classic_Fresno St. 30, Georgia Tech 21
Dec. 27, 2001 Seattle Bowl_Georgia Tech 24, Stanford 14
Dec. 29, 2000 Peach Bowl_LSU 28, Georgia Tech 14
Jan. 1, 2000 Gator Bowl_Miami 28, Georgia Tech 13
Jan. 1, 1999 Gator Bowl_Georgia Tech 35, Notre Dame 28
Dec. 29, 1997 Carquest Bowl_Georgia Tech 35, West Virginia 30
Dec. 25, 1991 Aloha Bowl_Georgia Tech 18, Stanford 17
Jan. 1, 1991 Citrus Bowl_Georgia Tech 45, Nebraska 21
Dec. 31, 1985 Hall of Fame Bowl_Georgia Tech 17, Michigan St. 14
Dec. 25, 1978 Peach Bowl_Purdue 41, Georgia Tech 21
Dec. 18, 1972 Liberty Bowl_Georgia Tech 31, Iowa St. 30
Dec. 30, 1971 Peach Bowl_Mississippi 41, Georgia Tech 18
Dec. 19, 1970 Sun Bowl, Georgia Tech 17, Texas Tech 9
Jan. 2, 1967 Orange Bowl_Florida 27, Georgia Tech 12
Dec. 31, 1965 Gator Bowl_Georgia Tech 31, Texas Tech 21
Dec. 22, 1962 Bluebonnet Bowl_Missouri 14, Georgia Tech 10
Dec. 30, 1961 Gator Bowl_Penn St. 30, Georgia Tech 15
Jan. 2, 1960 Gator Bowl_Arkansas 14, Georgia Tech 7
Dec. 29, 1956 Gator Bowl_Georgia Tech 21, Pittsburgh 14
Jan. 2, 1956 Sugar Bowl_Georgia Tech 7, Pittsburgh 0
Jan. 1, 1955 Cotton Bowl_Georgia Tech 14, Arkansas 6
Jan. 1, 1954 Sugar Bowl_Georgia Tech 42, West Virginia 19
Jan. 1, 1953 Sugar Bowl_Georgia Tech 24, Mississippi 7
Jan. 1, 1952 Orange Bowl_Georgia Tech 17, Baylor 14
Jan. 1, 1948 Orange Bowl_Georgia Tech 20, Kansas 14
Jan. 1, 1947 Oil Bowl_Georgia Tech 41, St. Mary's 19
Jan. 1, 1945 Orange Bowl_Tulsa 26, Georgia Tech 12
Jan. 1, 1944 Sugar Bowl_Georgia Tech 20, Tulsa 18
Jan. 1, 1943 Cotton Bowl_Texas 14, Georgia Tech 7
Jan. 1, 1940 Orange Bowl_Georgia Tech 21, Missouri 7
Jan. 1, 1929 Rose Bowl_Georgia Tech 8, California 7