Nov 30, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets wide receiver DeAndre Smelter (15) catches a touchdown pass in front of Georgia Bulldogs safety Josh Harvey-Clemons (25) and defensive back Quincy Mauger (20) during the first quarter at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA - Todd Gurley had his way in overtime and Georgia knocked off its rival once again. Gurley ran for two touchdowns after regulation and the Georgia defense broke up a fourth down pass play to seal a 41-34 victory at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Gurley, who accounted for four touchdowns - three on the ground and one through the air - had just exploded for a 25-yard touchdown to put Georgia (8-4) up 41-34. On the ensuing drive, Tech’s Robert Godhigh was stopped for a loss of three yards on third down, which set Tech back to the Georgia 6. On fourth-and-five, Vad Lee’s pass was broken up by Ramik Wilson and then knocked around again before falling harmlessly to the turf.
“That ball was up there for a while. I hit it as hard as I could trying to make a play to end this game,” said Wilson, the Southeastern Conference’s leading tackler. “That’s all I was thinking, knock it down.”
Georgia won for the fifth consecutive time in the series and seven straight time in Atlanta. Tech (7-5) hasn’t won a home game against its rival since the last time the teams played an overtime game, a 51-48 victory in 1999.
“It was a hard game to lose. Really not a whole lot to say about it,” said Tech coach Paul Johnson. “It was a gut-wrenching game. It’ll take a couple days to get over this one.”
Georgia had gotten to within 27-24 on Gurley’s two-yard touchdown run with 6:37 left in the fourth quarter, then Josh Harvey-Clemons intercepted Lee. The Bulldogs completely erased a 20-point deficit and pulled even on Marshall Morgan’s 32-yard field goal with 4:17 to play.
Tech had built a 27-17 cushion at the 10:34 mark of the fourth. Godhigh had a 23-yard carry to the Georgia 20 and Lee was 4-of-5 on the 14-play drive, including a seven-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Smelter.
Tech stunned its rival with a dominant opening quarter. The Yellow Jackets got a huge pass play on the game’s opening drive as Lee made a perfect pass to a wide open Darren Waller for a 68-yard completion to the Georgia 6. Two plays later, Lee rumbled in from three yards to give the Yellow Jackets an early advantage.
After Harrison Butker booted a 37-yard field goal for a 10-point lead, which was Georgia’s largest deficit in the series since going down by 10 in its last loss in 2008, Lee made another excellent throw into the corner of the end zone and Smelter came down with a 26-yard touchdown that made it a 17-0 game.
Butker made it 20-0 midway through the second with a 22-yard field goal, though the hosts could’ve had more. Tech settled for the freshman’s first field goal after getting to the Georgia 20, then Butker converted on the chip shot kick after a first-and-goal situation stalled at the 5.
“You can’t score a touchdown everytime you get the ball, you’d like to and that’s the goal, but it’s probably not too realistic,” said Johnson.
After a fairly dismal opening half, Georgia finally got on the scoreboard with under a minute to play in the second, pulling to within 20-7 with a seven-play drive.
Hutson Mason, making his first career start after Aaron Murray had a season-ending injury last week against Kentucky, had a 15-yard run to the Tech 9 and completed all five of his passes for 72 yards, capping a possession that lasted just 1:09 with a 10-yard touchdown toss to Gurley. The Bulldogs had just 66 total yards before that 86-yard march.
Mason, a junior, finished the game 22-for-36 for 299 yards.
“This is what it’s all about,” said Mason. “This was the kind of game I dreamed of being a part of.”
“After the last possession of the first half, we never really got pressure on (Mason),” Johnson said. “He had all day to throw the ball. That was a killer.”
A 13-point swing in the third quarter changed the complexion of the game. Morgan’s 40-yard field goal made it 20-10 and Tech tried to answer with a field goal of its own, but Butker was wide left from 43 yards.
On the ensuing drive, Georgia got to within 20-17 as Mason had an 11-yard completion to J.J. Green and on the play Tech was hit with a personal foul penalty that put the ball at the 10. Mason found Michael Bennett in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard score that made it a three-point game.