Key to beating Tech in overtime: Give it to ‘Big Boy’

When in doubt, put the ball in the hands of Todd Gurley. (Jason Getz / AJC)

When in doubt, put the ball in the hands of Todd Gurley. (Jason Getz / AJC)

A Dawg fan’s confession: During that nightmarish first half of Saturday’s game at Grant Field, in which Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets jumped out to a 20-0 lead and it seemed nothing could go right for Georgia, I thought we were looking at a potential blowout. I mean, a Tech team that makes its living running the ball in the triple option was just plain embarrassing the Dogs’ suspect defensive secondary through the air!

But as tough as it was to watch the Jackets having their way with the Dogs early on, I wouldn’t take anything for the way it ended, with Georgia and its rookie substitute quarterback storming back to once again break the Jackets’ hearts, this one in double overtime.

Spotting Tech three scores and still winning — it doesn’t get much sweeter than that.

As Hutson Mason noted after the game, the first 28 minutes weren’t pretty. The worst part definitely was the play of the Georgia secondary, with Jackets QB Vad Lee picking on cornerback Sheldon Dawson (starting for an injured Shaq Wiggins), who repeatedly kept letting Tech receivers behind him for big catches and wasn’t receiving any help from safeties Quincy Mauger and Josh Harvey-Clemons, who were selling out against the run.

The 68-yard Tech completion to a wide open Darren Waller on third-and-8 in the first quarter pretty much summed up most of what’s been wrong with the Georgia defense most of this season: poor pass coverage and they couldn’t get off the field on third down.

Tech’s coaches obviously had watched film of the Georgia-Auburn game, where an opponent known primarily for the run had a lot of early success passing against the Dogs. Unbelievably, in the first half Saturday, Tech had more yardage passing (171) than the Dogs had total offense (152).

Speaking of the Georgia offense, Mason, getting his first career start in place of injured Aaron Murray, started out very shaky and admitted he wasn’t trusting his protection — though I’d say that was with pretty good reason, as his offensive line and backs allowed him to be continuously pressured, resulting in sack after sack. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo wasn’t doing Mason any favors, either, as he had the QB standing back there way too long waiting for receivers to get open. And Tech was keying on Bulldogs tailback Todd Gurley, keeping the Dogs’ running game in check.

But Bobo eventually adjusted, making greater use of the short passing game, and Mason settled down and started looking like the confident quarterback we saw against Kentucky. Finally, the Dogs got back into the game in the last couple of minutes of the opening half, driving 86 yards for a score on which Gurley again did his Superman dive, breaking the plane of the goal line with the ball in one hand.

Hutson Mason got a slow start but finally got rolling for the Dogs. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Hutson Mason got a slow start but finally got rolling for the Dogs. (Jason Getz / AJC)

The Dogs opened the second half with a nice drive that featured a tremendous catch by tight end Artie Lynch for a 31-yard gain but unfortunately saw Georgia have to settle for 3 after a touchdown pass to Gurley was called back on a flag against the Dawgs — ironically for a chop block on a day when the cut-blocking Jackets saw no such penalties.

Georgia’s defense stiffened on a drive that saw Tech miss a field goal try, and then Mason led the Dogs to within 3 points on a scoring throw to Michael Bennett with 2:26 left in the third quarter. But the Jackets went back up by 10 points 4 and a half minutes into the fourth quarter.

On the next UGA drive Richt rolled the dice, converting on fourth-and-6 from the Georgia 39. Another big catch by Bennett set up a Gurley touchdown run and Tech’s lead dwindled to 27-24.

The Jackets finally made a big mistake, with Harvey-Clemons snagging a pick, but a sack of Mason meant the Dogs had to settle for another field goal, tying the game at 27.

With just 4:17 left on the clock and a Tech attack known for gobbling clock, things didn’t look good for Georgia. The Jackets started their next drive well, but bogged down and then pinned the Dogs at their own 2 with a punt with just 46 seconds left in regulation. Georgia ended up running out the clock, playing for overtime.

Oh, what a great decision that was, because, as Richt told Chuck Dowdle after the game, in overtime “we just kind of handed the ball to Big Boy,” meaning Gurley.

Georgia won the toss and decided to start overtime on defense. Tech methodically worked its way into the end zone in the first OT period, only to see Georgia tie it up again 34-34 on three consecutive runs by No. 3. Then, it was the Dogs’ turn to go first, and Gurley ripped off a scoring run on the very first play to take a 41-34 lead, its first of the entire game.

That’s how you play overtime: Gurley, Gurley, Gurley, Gurley.

Getting their second turn in OT, the Jackets again seemed to be working their way to paydirt, but on third-and-2 at the Georgia 3, the Dogs swarmed and buried a pitch. And then, on fourth-and-5 from the 6, Lee tried a slant to Waller but Ramik Wilson tipped the ball up in the air and then Damian Swann batted it out of the end zone. The Bulldog Nation collectively held its breath, with visions of the miracle play at Auburn playing in their heads, but the ball harmlessly hit the dirt and once again Richt’s Bulldogs had wrecked ole Tech.

Gurley definitely was player of the game, running 20 times for 122 yards and catching four passes for another 36 yards as he scored four touchdowns. But Mason solidified his position as Georgia’s starter for next season, making 22 of 36 passes for 122 yards and three scores, with one interception.

In a year of down-to-the-wire close games, Georgia-Georgia Tech stayed true to form. But, in the end, as center David “Boss” Andrews tweeted after the game, “We still run this state.”

You gotta know the way this one ended really hurts for Tech fandom. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Feel free to share your own thoughts on the latest installment of Clean Old Fashioned Hate. …

Got something you want to discuss concerning the Dawgs? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

124 comments Add your comment

short memories

December 1st, 2013
5:54 pm

Great win though against a mediocre tech. Richt will never win the big one. But he hangs on to extend the misery. Does just enough to give people false hope. We all know it will never happen under Richt.

short memories

December 1st, 2013
5:55 pm

Wake Forest played a better game against Vanderbilt yesterday.

DawgVoiceofReason

December 1st, 2013
6:21 pm

Short
That’s very interesting since WF lost their game while we won ours. Not really sure you know what you’re talking about.

pete

December 1st, 2013
6:29 pm

Fire Grantham!!!

JB at home

December 1st, 2013
6:30 pm

Just got home from family Thanksgiving. Boy, what a win. Go Dawgs. Kudo’s to Tech for playing their heart out. Hate to see one of the worst passing teams rip our secondary, but two regulars, although true freshman, were out. Didn’t have a dog in the Iron Bowl fight, But interesting that a coach only 4 or 5 years removed from the High School ranks, out coached Saban. The return was set up by COACHING…..and the lack of Bama’s response was also. And for all who are scared of the ” Fulmer syndrome” for the Dawgs one day, Just look at what a new staff did at Auburn. It’s all coaching down there with the turn around. For Christmas I want a new DC and DB coach. The line coach Wilso did a great job this year. It was the strength of the defense. Go Dawgs.

JB at home

December 1st, 2013
6:52 pm

Two rumors on the DawgVent… One is from a football writer who was told by Richt that the entire staff will be back….The other is really interesting. That Muschamp is gonna throw a mil or 1.2 at Bobo to come to Florida to install Richt’s offense and be OC….THAT will never happen. Bobo is ALL Dawg. Bobo leaves Athens to be a HC somewhere maybe…..and he may get a shot in the ACC soon. Lot’s of coach’s fired every year……And this Franklinn at Vandy… I’m sold. The guy will be gone from Vandy soon.

dawgfan

December 1st, 2013
7:52 pm

It’s official. Richt has absolutely no interest whatsoever in taking this program to the next level because “continuity is a good thing.” So is accountability coach.

Richt is a joke. I’m sorry.

DawgZilla

December 1st, 2013
7:59 pm

Rigger…
Stop using words like “we” and “our”. YOU ARE NOT A DAWG and WE don’t won’t you in OUR fan base.
You’re an idiot and should strongly consider removing yourself from society.

DawgZilla

December 1st, 2013
8:01 pm

Should read “don’t want YOU”.
Made a typo…get over it, I did.

Bulldawg35

December 1st, 2013
8:21 pm

I’m happy for he win…I love how gurley ripped their hearts out in OT. But I can’t believe we are going too keep Grantham!! What is Mcgarity thinking????

dawgfan

December 1st, 2013
8:42 pm

Are you talkin’ to me? Touch a nerve? Richt is a joke football coach. Our defense was the laughing stock of the SEC this year, but what is “the dean of SEC coaches” going to do about it? Absolutely nothing. Continuity is a good thing.

You Kool Aiders are getting what you pay for with this clown. When we pizz away season after season with this hack I don’t want you Kool Aiders acting all surprised and making a bunch of excuses. It’s what you wanted. Don’t go running to mommy when people like me come around to say I told you so. It’s on your hands. Deal with it.

I’m checking out.

JB at home

December 1st, 2013
8:46 pm

Richt keeping Grantham would like a company keeping a Sales Manager who was losing market share every year. I don’t get it. You can bet the private sector doesn’t put up with poor results. Geez.

JB at home

December 1st, 2013
8:49 pm

The guy at Auburn ( Gus Malazan) is going to be a problem for the SEC. Just wait till be loads the boat with top notch talent down there. Imagine Paul Johnson with Athletes. He’ll never have them. Auburn will.

JB at home

December 1st, 2013
8:49 pm

Enter your comments here

dawgfan

December 1st, 2013
8:53 pm

I’m sure that sales manager was just “young” and needed more time to “mature.” Never mind that this was his 4th freaking year on the job and he has yet to demonstrate any ability whatsoever to do his job effectively. He should be back because continuity is a good thing. If you get rid of him you’ll have to find somebody else. That requires work and time away from shooting Carpets of Dalton commercials. We don’t want that.

It’s comical.

Macclenny_dawg

December 1st, 2013
9:11 pm

As I watched the 1st half yesterday and I couldn’t help but laugh. Cardiac Dawgs under Richt. Finish the drill. Just as I expected come back and win. Its the Richt way. Play only a half of football. Never make the tough decisions just hope things get better. Grantham should be gone!!! Next year more of the same. A bunch of close games with about 4 losses. No blowouts. Sick of Richt!!!

Asgard

December 1st, 2013
9:38 pm

So once again the Fulmer Cup-winning football factory playing their Special Admits defeats the student scholars from Tech.

Mobile Dawg

December 1st, 2013
10:19 pm

Malzohn may well turn the tide in the state of Alabama, he’s flipped three recruits that were committed to Bama in the last three weeks. He has already made it competitive again. After the Iron Bowl win his momentum should only increase as far as recruiting goes.

What can you say about Mark Richt as a HC and the UGA program. We were in Atlanta for Thanksgiving and had the choice, Grant Field or Jordan Hare. We drove to Auburn to tailgate with friends and were lucky enough to score tickets at a reasonable price and witnessed one heck of a football game, as a bonus UGA scores were provided regularly via the jumbotron.. Been a Dawg for 44 years and I’ve lost interest in Georgia football under Richt. I suspect that I’m among a growing group that will continue to let our voice be heard. Continuity…..I’d honestly rather see results.

dawgfan

December 1st, 2013
10:21 pm

The “student scholars” who couldn’t figure out how to hold on to a 20 point lead. Sorry Techie. No sympathy points this year for you clowns. Try that crap again next year. Maybe you’ll have some luck getting people to feel sorry for you then. That looks like a cut paste job from the past 12 out of 13 years anyway.

Georgia Tech=JOKE.

Bulldawg35

December 1st, 2013
10:32 pm

I can’t damn believe that auburn has a first year coach and first year qb and they’re playing for the sec title and maybe more!!!! Why in the world did Richt allow Marshall to go too attend auburn???? It’s damn time Richt starts show much better results!!!! Now Richt is going too keep Grantham! How disgusting is that???

UGA Season Ticket Holder Since 1986

December 2nd, 2013
6:45 am

Bulldawg35 – We LET the kid go to Auburn because he was thrown off the team for stealing from his teammates. Auburn is fine with that. LSU is fine with their sexual offender. We have schizo trolls who on the one hand whine and complain about a Georgia kid who gets a ticket on his scooter and then wonder why we LET criminals leave the program. Madness.

dawgfan

December 2nd, 2013
7:22 am

Nick Marshall isn’t the problem. The problem is that Auburn has hired a coach that is smarter than Richt and undoubtedly works harder than Richt. That describes pretty much every coach in the SEC though so nobody bats an eye at it.

Continuity is a good thing.

UGA Season Ticket Holder Since 1986

December 3rd, 2013
10:43 am

If you have a complaint, write it on your contribution check. Oh, you don’t make contributions. It takes no courage at all to want to spend OTHER PEOPLE’S twenty million dollars buying out contracts and hiring new coaches. I hear that Tennessee is still paying off the debt from contract buyouts from two coaches ago. It would be an interesting story and lesson for the all the trolldawgs if true. Trolldawgs are too busy cutting and pasting their anti-Murray rants into anti-Mason rants. We’ll be in Jacksonville having a GREAT time and you’ll be alone, still in your mother’s basement, living your mediocre life ranting about how you hate mediocrity. Trolldawg = mediocre person living a sad, pathetic, mediocre life that they hate.

Dr C

December 4th, 2013
8:57 pm

Tech trolls posing on here bashing Mason….tell us about the first big time football game you started in college and how you did…no jitters, no interceptions, and threw for 800 yards?….yeah, right. If it wasn’t so funny reading your drivel, I would suggest you try playing football. Mason was so awful in his debut that he beat a team wanting to win more than anything in their lives after being 20 points down…yeah, he was awful!!!