Yellow Jackets overcome miscues, take down Bulldogs in overtime


When Georgia Tech and Georgia play football, you know it’s going to be a good game. Last year’s was extremely competitive–and ended with the Bulldogs taking a double overtime victory. This season, it was the Yellow Jackets who managed to come out on top in overtime, 30-24. How they got that win though? Good luck explaining it briefly to a friend.

I’ll try for you (not the brief part, the explaining part:

Georgia started things off with a touchdown on their first drive of the football game. Hutson Mason and Nick Chubb split the drive about evenly between themselves, and the Bulldogs wound up handing the ball to Chubb for a one-yard touchdown run that capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive that took all of four minutes and three seconds.

That score set the tone of the game for a bit, and for the rest of the first quarter, neither team would score. Georgia Tech punted a few times before the Dawgs put together another impressive drive with the clock winding down in the first quarter. Chubb broke a 65-yard run to bring UGA to the one-yard line, but fumbled two plays later with Georgia Tech’s Tyler Marcordes hopping on the ball.

That turnover would set up a long, methodical drive from the Jackets that eventually put�them on Georgia’s 20-yard line, within easy distance for a field goal and their first points of the game. But, UGA’s Ray Drew wasn’t having any of that, and blocked the kick entirely.

On the ensuing drive, Georgia Tech again got the ball back as Georgia seemed to be seconds away from another score. Sony Michel received a pitch on Tech’s 14 yard line and made his way to the right corner of the end zone before being taken down and stripped from Quayshawn Nealy. Isaiah Thomas, who forced the fumble on Chubb earlier, jumped on the ball as it rolled into the end zone.

With 3:04 left in the half, Justin Thomas and the Jackets had 80 yards to find the scoreboard–or head into the locker room with nothing showing.

Thomas, Synjyn Davis and Charles Perkins moved the ball down the field for the Jackets, before Thomas found Darren Waller on a seven-yard touchdown pass to tie the score at 7 and head into the half.

Just one half, and between the two teams there was already two huge fumbles and a blocked field goal. The second half turned out to be even crazier.

After the kickoff to start the second period, the Jackets manufactured another long drive, largely on the backs of Davis and Zach Laskey. Davis fumbled the ball himself during this drive, bu managed to get back on the ball and avoid a turnover.

Unfortunately, a few plays later–with the Jackets on the UGA 2-yard line–Justin Thomas couldn’t say the same thing. The Tech quarterback fumbled right on the goal line and Georgia’s Damian Swann found the ball and a wide open field in front of him. Swann picked up the loose ball and was off to the races, with the red Georgia crowd screaming for him the entire 99 yards.

Just when it looked like Georgia Tech was set to take their first lead of the game, the ball was on the other side of the field. Bulldogs up: 14-7.

Three drives later (after another blocked field goal, this one to the detriment of Georgia kicker Marshall Morgan by the hands of Adam Gotsis) the Jackets tied the game again after an eight-play, 63-yard drive that featured run plays exclusively, and was capped off by a four-yard Laskey touchdown.

The teams headed into the fourth quarter with the score tied at 14. If you weren’t keeping track, we’re already at four fumbles, two blocked field goals and a 99-yard fumble-recovery-touchdown.

Of course, these two teams still weren’t finished.

The Bulldogs struck first in the fourth quarter with a 19-yard field goal about five minutes in, taking a 17-14 lead.

After starting on their own 20 yard line on the following kickoff, the Jackets worked another long drive (just under seven minutes) and Zach Laskey punched another rushing touchdown in to give Tech its first lead of the game.

On the ensuing kickoff, Harrison Butker sent out a short(ish) squib kick, and the Georgia return team for some reason decided not to pick up the ball. When the play was over, somehow, a the Yellow Jackets had the ball on Georgia’s own 27-yard line. When the kicking team gets the ball back at that point on the field, something has clearly gone very wrong for the other team. Usually that comes from a fumble, but on this occasion, it seemed to be confusion from Georgia’s players as to who was actually going to return the football.

Regardless, with 4:22 left to play, Paul Johnson’s team was in a great position to milk some time off of the clock and even put the game away with another score. But of course that didn’t happen.

The Jackets turned the ball over just five plays later–if this surprises you, you haven’t been paying attention.

On third down, with 12 yards to gain, Justin Thomas was forced out of the pocket and faked a pass before fumbling the ball for the second time in the red zone.

Hutson Mason now found himself on his own 31-yard line with 2:41 left to play in the game–with the Bulldogs down 21-17. Plenty of time.

Mason picked apart the Jacket secondary on this possession, and worked down the field (with a few carries here and there from Michel and Chubb) before sending in a bullet to Malcolm Mitchell for a three-yard touchdown pass, and a 24-21 lead with just 18 seconds left to play.

18 seconds normally isn’t what the Yellow Jackets like to work with on offense, but after Anthony Harrell returned the kickoff 16 yards to Tech’s 43, there was a chance to get in field goal range. With just one play to work with, Thomas scrambled for 21 yards to get to Georgia’s 36-yard line and give Harrison Butker a chance at a field goal.

He didn’t disappoint, and put the ball between the uprights after Georgia tried to freeze him with a timeout. The ball just barely crossed the bar, but it did. No blocked field goals this time. 24-24.


Zach Laskey has proven himself as the team’s workhorse and top back this season, and with the Jackets taking the ball on the first OT possession, he reiterated that point–running the ball four times for 18 yards and his third touchdown of the game. And a 30-24 lead after the Bulldogs blocked another kick on the PAT.

Nick Chubb has also proven himself as Georgia’s top rusher (due to Todd Gurley‘s suspension and injury). But in overtime against the Jackets, he couldn’t get it going. Chubb rushed for five yards, was stuffed and then managed another yard before the team turned to the arm of Mason. He manufactured a drive late in the fourth quarter to put the Bulldogs back in the game, but on 2nd and nine he came up short and threw his last pass of the game to D.J. White–that’s Georgia Tech’s D.J. White.

Interception. Game over. Georgia Tech wins, 30-24. Madness.

After losing in double overtime last season at home, the Yellow Jackets managed to get their revenge in Sanford Stadium this season, and pick up their 10th win in the process.

As is the case in most Georgia Tech wins, the ground game is to be thanked first and foremost. The team ran for 399 total yards (averaging 5.7 yards per carry) while Laskey managed to outrun Chubb (who’s received some Heisman attention) 140-129.

Despite two huge fumbles from Thomas, and several key blocked kicks, the Jackets managed to take the rivalry in 2014, and what could easily be this year’s wildest college football game.