GaTech wins OT thriller in Athens

Athens, GA (SportsNetwork.com) – Yet another Georgia Tech-Georgia clash came
down to the wire, and this time the Yellow Jackets survived in a Peach State
thriller.

Zach Laskey’s third touchdown run of the day accounted for the only score in
overtime, and the 16th-ranked Yellow Jackets escaped Sanford Stadium with a
memorable 30-24 victory over the No. 8 Bulldogs.

The roller-coaster finish saw Georgia Tech give up a go-ahead touchdown with
18 seconds left in regulation, only to have Harrison Butker force OT with a
clutch 53-yard field goal.

Butker’s extra point in overtime was blocked, but D.J. White picked off Hutson
Mason on the ensuing possession to give Georgia Tech (10-2) its first win over
its in-state rival since 2008.

The Yellow Jackets, who will play Florida State in the ACC title game next
week, had lost 12 of the previous 13 meetings with Mark Richt as Georgia’s
head coach, including a disappointment in double overtime last year.

Another heartbreaking loss seemed imminent after Justin Thomas lost a fumble
with 2:41 remaining, leading to Mason finding Malcolm Mitchell on fourth down
to put the Bulldogs in front, 24-21, with 18 seconds on the clock.

Richt made what turned out to be a poor decision, opting for a squib kick that
gave Georgia Tech the ball on its own 43-yard line. Thomas ran 21 yards before
going out of bounds with four seconds left, and Butker, whose previous career-
long was 49 yards, got just enough from 53 yards out to force OT.

Five straight runs — four by Laskey — gave the Yellow Jackets the lead, and
Mason’s ill-advised pass on 2nd-and-goal was picked off by White.

Laskey gained 140 of Georgia Tech’s 399 rushing yards, while Thomas passed for
just 64 yards and a touchdown on 6-of-16 attempts.

Mason finished with 194 passing yards for Georgia (9-3), which committed three
turnovers after totaling 11 in its first eight games.

The Bulldogs, whose hopes of reaching the SEC title game were dashed with
Missouri’s win on Friday, turned to Nick Chubb out of the backfield with star
running back Todd Gurley having undergone knee surgery earlier this week.

Chubb gained 36 of his 129 yards on the game’s opening possession and punched
one in from the 1-yard line to give Georgia the early lead.

The freshman nearly scored again in the opening quarter when he ripped off a
65-yard run. He was pushed out just before the goal line, and two plays later
he tried launching himself into the end zone and coughed it up.

A long Georgia Tech drive after the turnover came up empty when Butker had his
37-yard field goal try blocked midway through the second quarter.

Georgia was going in for another score but again fumbled it away. Sony Michel
lost the ball this time, and Georgia Tech recovered in the end zone.

The Yellow Jackets, in danger of being shut out in the opening half for the
first time since 2008, converted a pair of fourth-down tries and got on the
board on Darren Waller’s 7-yard touchdown grab with eight seconds left.

They were on the doorstep early in the second half, but Thomas, on 3rd-and-
goal, was stuffed up the middle and disappeared among the mass of bodies. No
whistle was blown for forward progress, and Damian Swann came out of the pile
with the football and raced 99 yards the other way for a touchdown.

Following a blocked Georgia field goal try, Laskey’s 4-yard touchdown run
pulled the Yellow Jackets even late in the third quarter.

Marshall Morgan kicked a 19-yard chip shot with 11:19 remaining, and Georgia
Tech responded with a 13-play, 80-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes
off the clock.

Laskey’s 8-yard touchdown run was followed by a pooch kick that the Yellow
Jackets recovered. They took over at the Georgia 27 with 4:22 remaining, and
Thomas’ turnover led to the dramatic conclusion.

Game Notes

This was the first overtime game in the history of Sanford Stadium … The
last time these rivals squared off with nine wins apiece was 1942 … Georgia
still leads to all-time series, 64-40-5.