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.

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

124 comments Add your comment

JY DAWGS

November 30th, 2013
9:37 pm

JY DAWGS

November 30th, 2013
9:38 pm

Just glad that the play of the year is not UGA Auburn….. Sorry Tide but that play will be shown for years

Roswell Dawg

November 30th, 2013
9:38 pm

Always great to beat the nerds. Frustrating to think we were two plays away from being 10-2>

zzggyy

November 30th, 2013
9:40 pm

How many times has a player ever scored TDs on 2 successive plays as TG II did in OT today?

UGA Season Ticket Holder since 1986

November 30th, 2013
9:45 pm

I don’t know who had the most fun. 1986 pulling the Dawg players up into the stands after a dramatic double overtime win over arch-rival Tech. Or Flat and dawgfan ranting and raving about how terrible and mediocre we are. If Flat and dawgfan had half the fun that 1986 had, they had a LOT of fun!!
Same old Tech.
hahahahahhahhahahahhahahhahahahhahahahhahahahahah.
Same Old Tech. hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.
We STILL run this State. 12-1.

Hawaii Dog

November 30th, 2013
9:46 pm

Hate to see Murray end his great career with an injury. But it will really benefit the Dawgs next year having Mason play these last couple of games. There will be a lot of new QB’s in the SEC next year. Georgia will have have the advantage in the early games.

Kobie

November 30th, 2013
9:47 pm

Just like you said before Bill, Aaron Murray is the leader of this team but Todd Gurley is the heart of the Bulldogs. They kept feeding him even though he was not gaining yards early and it paid off in the end when he was just punishing the Tech. Georgia is a much different team with Gurley healthy.

Dawg89

November 30th, 2013
9:49 pm

I had given up. I’m sure somewhere, Larry Munson had given up, too. You know that hurt the Teckerds. Where is GTBob? It hurts doesn’t it Bobsky???

GO DAWGS, and to you know where with teck.

Tom B Stone

November 30th, 2013
9:50 pm

Mason actually had 299 yards…pretty decent outing all things considered…GO DAWGS

Dawg89

November 30th, 2013
9:51 pm

And, Roll Tide – right on down the drain. For all you elephant fans out there, now you know how it feels.

UGA Season Ticket Holder since 1986

November 30th, 2013
9:51 pm

It was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sweet to haul Andrews (61) into the stands during the post game celebration. You earned it “Boss.” How sweet it is!!!!!!!!

Billy Ryckman

November 30th, 2013
9:53 pm

Johnson makes the same mistake again this year as he did a few years ago when Martinez was fired and Richt took over the defense. He panics and starts passing the ball when UGA could not stop the run. I can’t figure out his coaching. Mason looks good, too bad we have him for only one year.

coachgb

November 30th, 2013
10:00 pm

I think Mason proved we won’t have to live through another “Joe Cox” year but there certainly will be some growing pains. It wasn’t Bobo having him hold the ball too long, it was Mason’s decision making speed. Inexperienced QB’s are going to hold the ball a little longer and are going to leave the pocket a little sooner than guys that have been around a while. We have all been spoiled a little by Murray. He would have delivered alot of balls quicker and we would have seen more big plays in the passing game. Mason did a great job on the timing routes today but was a ittle slow on some of his down field reads. But overall he played well. Great headstart to next season.

LADawg

November 30th, 2013
10:02 pm

What could have been this season if the Dawgs were coached to play four quarters? Lose to Vandy and barely escape with wins against a terrible TN and a very medicore Tech team. Happy for win but sad this is what Dawg fans can expect every year.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 30th, 2013
10:05 pm

What a sweet way to end the regular season. Tremendous comeback by the Dawgs and I love swatting the Jackets. Mason performed with great consistency once he got going and got his legs under him. As Bill pointed out, one mistake in the second half and we would have been done.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 30th, 2013
10:10 pm

Completely agree with Billy R. Paul Johnson seems to choke when he has the game going his way and abandons his precious option game at strange times. Couldn’t happen to a nicer (not) guy.

dawgfan

November 30th, 2013
10:10 pm

I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. The closer the win the more pain for the Techies.

Dawg4life

November 30th, 2013
10:12 pm

We need to start calling Todd Gurley the Governor because he is cut throat and in charge on that team!

Rigger

November 30th, 2013
10:13 pm

Now that’s how you win the games.

Nice to see a UGA Qb in overtime willing to be a game manager instead of a playmaker, and boy, did it work. Gurley, gurley, gurley. Never would have happened under the old UGA QB.

Hutson threw an awful interception in the 1st half, must just be something all UGA Qb’s do, throw a int a game. Worked against GT, won’t work against better teams like Clemson, Auburn, etc. Hated, hated, hated, that play, Really disappointed Mason has thrown 2 int’s in the last 2 games. Might need to open up the QB competition in the Spring to QB’s that can protect the football.

But the defense forced 2 turnovers, and when you win the turnover game, you usually win the ballgame, so at least Hutson only threw 1 int, and thankfully, his defense bailed him out this time.

Defense missed an easy fumble recovery near the goalline, that was sloppy. Got to get those turnovers.

UGA is now 5-0 when we won the turnover battle in 2013.

Rigger

November 30th, 2013
10:16 pm

Hutson’s on track to throw an int every game, so looking at 12-14 int’s in 2014, and losing the turnover battle in 2 of those SEC games as a result, leading to another 8 win season in 2014.

Hutson is NOT the answer to BCS type of Qb play.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 30th, 2013
10:17 pm

Rigger,

You have a mental defect that is beyond description. You REALLY need to go away and never post here again.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 30th, 2013
10:20 pm

JY Dawgs,

Alabama may have gotten us off the hook somewhat but I tend to think that both plays will be shown together, whenever the Auburn miracles are discussed on TV. I don’t think any team has ever had two back to back miracles like that and certainly not in those circumstances. They are the luckiest team of all time.

Dawg89

November 30th, 2013
10:26 pm

Yes, Auburn is lucky. Even the most delusional fan can’t possibly think that kind of luck will continue.

Old Dawg

November 30th, 2013
10:27 pm

I knew this was going to be a close game, but I had no idea it would end like this. UGA’s defensive secondary played terribly in the first half, and I honestly thought this was the year GT and Johnson earned a win.

Thank the football gods that Hutson Mason got on track in the second half and the defense made plays when it counted…I really enjoyed watching the Dawgs stop the option pitch, a play that can have explosive results. It didn’t happen today.

One last note: the SEC was 3-1 against the ACC. That should quiet the folks who think the Almost a College Conference is on par with the SEC!

BOB

November 30th, 2013
10:29 pm

With a defense that allows 30+ points a game how can Georgia expect to become champions of the SEC ,let alone the nation?

DawgVoiceofReason

November 30th, 2013
10:29 pm

Dawg89,

Who said Auburn’s luck will continue?

ShowMeYurTD's

November 30th, 2013
10:30 pm

Thank you Gurley! Hope he stays around another year; don’t know why he would though. I’ve seen some really great coaching today, Gus, Spurrier, A &M Guy, and Mizzou guy. I love my dawgs but sick once again we’re not going to the NC.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 30th, 2013
10:34 pm

So much for the theory that having Saban as your head coach assures that your team won’t make huge mental mistakes and that the coach is so detail oriented that he won’t make poor decisions that cost his team games. Also, his emphasis on “every phase of the game” didn’t prevent his formerly rock solid kicker from having a complete mental collapse as a kicker. Lot’s of myths busted tonight.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 30th, 2013
10:37 pm

ShowMe,

You do realize that Gurley is only a sophomore, don’t you? He is not eligible for the NFL until after 3 years. He will be back, barring injury, etc., for another year as a Dawg.

True Tech fans are aware of reality

November 30th, 2013
10:42 pm

Reality for the usual run of the mill UGA teams that wind up 7-4 or 8-4 or say, 6-6 is that there is just NO RESPECT of any ACC Tech team. That is why this UGA team, one of the WORT UGA TEAMS, in the last 45 years, had NO REPECT of GT. None. 0 .

The early result was 20-0 GT but UGA finally woke up and DOMINATED GT in the last 25 minutes of regulation time.

GT, it is what it is.

The Saban myth is broken

November 30th, 2013
10:46 pm

In Alabama, there IS a new sheriff in town, named Gus Malzahn. . It damned sure ain’t Saban.

U of Alabama was OUTCOACHED and I love it!!!

Jon Heisman

November 30th, 2013
10:49 pm

You got lucky. Tech outplayed the pups most of the day.
And since we beat you in basketball AND baseball, we actually run this state!!

jeeperscrow

November 30th, 2013
10:51 pm

Hutson will never be Joe Cox as long as he has Todd Gurley healthy…Cox never had the advantage of having the best running back in the nation with him on the field. Plus Mason will have a TON of top receivers to go to next year as well.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 30th, 2013
10:55 pm

The reason Coach Richt went for it on 4th and 6 with 9 or so minutes left in the game was because he didn’t have confidence in the defense being able to stop Tech’s offense. He new we needed to score on that drive. He deserves a lot of credit for recognizing the game situation and making the tough decision. There have been some times when he hasn’t done that.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 30th, 2013
10:57 pm

Jon Heisman,

The only thing you Techies run is your mouths.

SatillaDawg

November 30th, 2013
11:03 pm

I was nervous, too, Bill. But the Dawgs really showed some grit and fought their way back into the game.

Great victory for the team, the coaches and the Bulldog Nation.

Mason looks like the real thing. And Gurley is a beast.

Kudos to Bennett, too. Clutch play at a crucial moment.

Go Dawgs! Sic ‘Em! Woof, Woof, Woof!

dawgfan

November 30th, 2013
11:05 pm

Missouri=SEC East Champs.

Oh what could have been…

DawgVoiceofReason

November 30th, 2013
11:12 pm

Spurrier wins the battle over Clemson but loses the War. Yet another year with no championship for USC and the Evil Genius AND they lost to the Dawgs this year!

ShowMeYurTD's

November 30th, 2013
11:32 pm

My bad. Gurley a Junior, thank you God! Go dawgs

ShowMeYurTD's

November 30th, 2013
11:33 pm

Next yr junior…..stay healthy Todd

Flo-Ri-Duh

December 1st, 2013
12:09 am

Hutson Mason has a ways to go to fill Aaron Murray’s shoes.

Mizz-Who? is the best team in the SEC when Franklin plays. The Game Crocks were lucky enough to win with Mizz-Who? having to start a freshman QB. Steve Arrogance comes up short again/

Au-Barn say “I rather be lucky than good.” Mizz-Who? is going to end Au-Barns sting of pure luck.

Dawgs defense was less than impressive but finally made a few plays.

RED DOG 77

December 1st, 2013
12:10 am

Well you never know, but Georgia would appear to have a great chance at winning the SEC in14. Hutson Mason should improve on his decision making process with a bowl, spring, and Summer practice…………and Lord knows our D should improve…………looks like the teams to beat next year are Missouri and Auburn………….We’ll see………….Go Dogs………………RED

Topp Dogg

December 1st, 2013
12:43 am

GT still sucks and will for another year.

Senator

December 1st, 2013
1:03 am

Frankly, if you think honestly about Hutson’s performances, he’s thrown 2 interceptions in his last 50 passes.

At this rate, Hutson will leavwe Joe Cox and Aaron Murray’s 14 int in 1 season records in the dust and finish with @20 int’s.

We’ll lose 4-5 games as a results of losing the turnover battle, since Hutson is also a turnover machine, let’s call him Joe Cox Jr.

Whatever happened to St. Simons

December 1st, 2013
1:07 am

This was Tech’s best chance to beat UGA since 2009…..I do not think Paul Johnson will beat UGA again…..it was a nice experiment, but the Paul Johnson era is over.

Senator

December 1st, 2013
1:18 am

With Huston’s 56 qbr rating vs 83rd pass defense GTech, looks like Lemay, Bauta, or Ramsey will be the 2014 Qb. Can’t imagine Mark Richt wanting another season like 2013 where UGA is at the bottom of turnover margin in the SEC. Enough of the Joe Cox Jr, Huston Mason, let’s find a QB who can move the ball without throwing picks.

HotDawg

December 1st, 2013
1:21 am

Nice comeback win Dawgs. It will be nice to see an entirely healthy team play next season. Or at least a team without a hideously, abnormal amount of injuries. Let’s hope.

HotDawg

December 1st, 2013
1:27 am

Dawgs were again without safeties trey matthews and corey moore today. We haven’t had a healthy secondary all year. This did have much to do with their failures on defense. I believe this unit has the skills and ability to play exceptional when healthy enough to gather that chemistry of playing together as a group weekly.

HotDawg

December 1st, 2013
1:32 am

Senator, glad your not a coach or decision maker.
jeez, one game and your already pleading for a backup.
weren’t you pleading for mason over murray also?
Don’t make stupid troll comments.

UGA Season Ticket Holder Since 1986

December 1st, 2013
2:03 am

Even when the score was 0-20, we were taunting the Tech fans in their own house that Tech would find a way to lose the game and they stood there and AGREED WITH US!. We could not conceive of losing the game (even at 0-20) and Tech could not conceive of winning it. (even at 20-0). They were just waiting for the proper moment to collapse. And they did. As always. Same old Tech. Every true Georgia fan needs to spend one game pulling Georgia players up into the stands at Grant Field after an exciting win over the NATS. What GREAT fun that was!