This game is “Clean Old-Fashioned Hate”! Everyone from the fans in Athens to the SEC referees that were calling the game tried to hate on the Yellow Jackets.
But when you are driven to be great, people must overcome hate and obstacles in order to achieve their goals.
That is what Paul Johnson and his resilient Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets did in beating the Georgia Bulldogs 30-24 in overtime.
This game had everything, turnovers, controversial calls, long clutch kicks, last minute heroics, emotion swings, I mean everything.
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Georgia marched down the field quickly to open up the contest with a 10 play 75-yard drive capped off with a Nick Chubb 1-yard run to go up 7-0. The drive was so clean that some had to wonder if it was going to be a blowout due to the lack of defensive resistance on that drive.
Tech’s defense regrouped in a major way though an held UGA offense scoreless for the rest of the first half.
Georgia Tech’s offense had to go through a feeling out process in the first half. Then they final found the formula before the intermission with a 14 play 80-yard drive that ended with a Darren Waller 7-yard touchdown reception from Justin Thomas to tie the game at seven apiece.
The second half is when the “hater-ade” was being consumed by the SEC referees that were in charge of the game.
The Jacket drove down the field to open the second half and get down to the 1-yard line. Paul Johnson decides to run a QB sneak behind Synjyn Days to get it in the end zone and Justin Thomas is stopped short. It is clear that Thomas’ forward progress had been stopped and these refs did not blow a whistle.
The result was Damian Swann of UGA stripping the ball and returning it 99-yards for a Bulldogs touchdown.
Everyone from Stone Mountain to Valdosta knew that forward progress was stopped and the refs let it go anyway.
The Yellow Jackets shook it off and gathered themselves in time to put together an eight play 63-yard drive that was finished off by Zach Laskey’s 4-yard scamper to tie the game at 14-14.
Nov 29, 2014; Athens, GA, USA; Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson shown on the field prior to the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
After Georgia’s Marshall Morgan kicked a 19-yard field goal to help the Bulldogs take a 17-14 lead to start the fourth quarter, Tech was able to mount what seemed be the drive to gain control of the game.
The Jackets ate up 6:51 and drove 80-yards which ended with a Zach Laskey TD that gave the Jackets a 21-17 lead.
Tech fans thought the deal was going to be sealed when the ensuing kickoff was short and the Yellow Jackets managed to recover it while the Bulldogs were asleep at the wheel.
All Tech needed to do was hold on to the ball and the game was done. This is when more “hater-ade” was sipped by the SEC refs. Everyone in the world saw that Justin Thomas pumped and his arm had come forward.
If anything the play should have been ruled either an incomplete pass or intentional grounding. But that “Dawg Flavored Hater-ade” had gotten into the refs blood stream real good at this point and it was called a fumble.
UGA proceeded to drive 69-yards and scored a touchdown in 2:23 to take the lead 24-21 lead leaving 18 seconds on the clock.
Everyone thought the game was over until a 21-yard scamper by Justin Thomas set up a 53-yard field goal by Harrison Butker to tie the game at 24-24.
This new lease on life was all Georgia Tech needed. UGA gave Tech the ball to open overtime and the Yellow Jackets in turn cashed in with a Zach Laskey 2-yard touchdown . The extra point was blocked making the score 30-24.
On Georgia’s possession right on cue the interception that Georgia Tech fans had been wait for finally came. D.J. White picked off a Hutson Mason pass that ended the game.
Zach Laskey was workhorse rushing 26 times for 140 yards and three touchdowns.
Synjyn Days, who was hurt in this game, rushed 15 times for 94 yards and a touchdown. Tech ran the ball for 413 yards against the UGA defense.
Tech did let Nick Chubb get off for 131 yards on 25 carries. They allowed 203 total rushing yards to Georgia but they were not enough.
“Resilient” is the word to describe this Jackets team and 10-2 is the record they will carry into the ACC Championship with a ranking that will have them close to breaking into the Top 10.
Florida State is not ready for what Tech is going to bring. Paul Johnson’s team is focused and unified.