Georgia Tech Plays #1 Georgia Tough, But Falls 31-23

By Don Stone,

   This game in front of a Bobby Dodd Stadium crowd that was about 70% red and black could have had quite a different outcome if several plays had gone another way.

  A fumble on the Dawgs’ first play by Daijun Edwards was recovered by Kenan Johnson at UGA37. Four plays later, QB Haynes King was in the end zone. And, once again, Georgia was down 7-0.

  Georgia was fortunate early on that it didn’t start off worse. A 31 yard pass to Eric Singleton, Jr. was reversed on an offensive interference call. Instead of being at the UGA43, the ball was moved back to the Tech 29 and GT had to punt.

   Later in the first quarter, a Carson Beck pass deflected off 3 defenders before being intercepted by LaMiles Brooks at the GT 17 and returned 19 yards to the 33. The play was reversed ruling that the ball hit the ground first.

  On the next play, Beck hit Dominick Lovett in the end zone for a 29 yard TD to tie the game at seven.

  Another bit of good fortune for UGA happened later in the second quarter. On a 3rd and 2 at the UGA20, Malik Rutherford got an apparent first down run that was brought back on a holding call on Abdul Janneh. The Yellow Jackets settled for a field goal to make it 14-13.

  Still more calls that went Georgia’s way. Tech went for it on 4th and 7 at the UGA45. Another big penalty on a pass interference call on Smael Mondon put it at the UGA30. But, it was ruled the ball was tipped, negating the call. The result was a turnover on downs at UGA45.

  The Bulldogs were off to another slow start, due in part to the offense not seeing the field much. Partly because of the fumble in their first drive, Georgia basically only had time for one drive in the first quarter. Time of possession was GT 10:05, UGA 4:55.

  Things finally stabilized for the nation’s #1 team with a 75 yard scoring drive at the start of the 2nd quarter to go ahead for the first time 14-10.

  An 11 play 64 yard drive capped with an Edwards three yard score helped the Dawgs pull away just before the half.

  A Peyton Woodring field goal was followed by a Kendall Milton 4 yard touchdown extending the lead to 31-13 as the third quarter came to an end.

  Georgia Tech added 10 more to make it look closer at 31-23.

  The Bulldogs would be concerned that they gave up 363 yards of offense, 205 on the ground 81 by King. That will be put to the test next week against Alabama, who also has a good running quarterback.

  But, that was offset by 437 yards of their own including 157 rushing yards in a great game by Milton. 

   It was the 12th straight win in the rivalry. With it, UGA set an SEC record with an amazing 29th straight victory.

   I was surprised to see that the last time Georgia Tech had beaten Georgia in Bobby Dodd Stadium was 1999. I remember that game and watched it go into overtime from the press box.

   As an aside, that was probably my own personal best month of watching football. From there, I went to Tampa to watch Georgia in the Outback Bowl go down to Purdue 25-0 only to mount the biggest comeback in college football history at the time to beat Drew Brees in his last NCAA game 28-25.
  A few weeks later, I was at the Georgia Dome to watch my hometown team, the St. Louis Rams, hold on to beat Tennessee in the final play of the Super Bowl.

  But, I digress. Back in the press box, we were watching the amazing finish of the Alabama-Auburn game just before our game started. It set up what should be a great SEC Championship Game next Saturday as Georgia (12-0, 8-0 SEC) takes on Alabama (11-1, 8-0 SEC).

  I’ll be there again at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It’s a 4:00 p.m. start on CBS…part of a great weekend of games with #6 Oregon and #4 Washington in the Pac-12 Championship Game, #9 Louisville and #5 FSU in the ACC Championship Game and #2 Michigan and Iowa in the Big Ten Championship.

   Georgia probably needs a win to advance to the College Football Playoffs. #8 Bama definitely does. The way it looks now, if UGA wins, they would likely face Florida State with Washington and Michigan facing off. But, anything can change. It will be a great weekend to see how it all plays out.

  Georgia Tech, meanwhile, awaits their matchup for the team’s first bowl game since 2018. All of that will be announced on Sunday,