ATHENS – Georgia didn’t need much help to beat Georgia Tech, but the Bulldogs received plenty. The result was predictable – a 42-10 loss for the Yellow Jackets on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
Seeking perhaps the biggest upset in the history of the rivalry, Tech turned the ball over twice, botched offensive plays, tackled poorly and gave the Bulldogs generous field position.
The No. 3 Bulldogs did the rest, plowing through Tech’s defense and proving themselves the superior outfit for the 11th time in the past 12 years. It’s the most one-sided 12-game stretch in series history, replacing 10-2 runs that spanned 1971-1982, 1972-1983 and 1986-1997.
The loss brought to a halt Tech’s second-half run in which the Jackets rallied from a 2-4 start with four wins in five games to gain bowl eligibility and a spot in the ACC Championship game. After this dispiriting defeat, Paul Johnson will have to re-train his team’s focus on what could be even a greater challenge – Florida State in the ACC Championship game next Saturday night in Charlotte, N.C.
Tech will play the once-beaten and 10th-ranked Seminoles with a 6-6 record. Georgia (11-1) will likely play Alabama in the SEC championship at the Georgia Dome with a likely spot in the BCS championship game on the line if Alabama stops Auburn later in the day Saturday.
Tech’s chances took a direct hit even before kickoff when A-back Orwin Smith was ruled out with an ankle injury suffered last Saturday in the win over Duke. With Tech’s most productive offensive player sidelined, the Jackets gave more touches to A-back Robbie Godhigh and tried to establish the interior running game with B-backs David Sims and Zach Laskey Tech actually moved the ball effectively – at halftime, the Jackets had 238 yards of offense and were 4-for-8 on third downs. But the Jackets lost the ball on the opening possession when Godhigh was stripped by Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo near the goal line. Rambo intercepted quarterback Vad Lee on a deep ball to A-back B.J. Bostic to end the fourth possession. The fifth possession, the last of the half, was capped by a missed field goal from 36 yards.
The Bulldogs’ offensive line manhandled the Tech defensive front, clearing wide lanes for running backs Todd Gurley and keeping quarterback Aaron Murray safe in the pocket.
Georgia averaged 10.6 yards per play in the first half, scoring four touchdowns in its five possessions before halftime. It didn’t hurt that the Bulldogs’ average starting point on its five drives was just past its 40-yard line.
- Ken Sugiura of the AJC staff