Harrison Butker kicked a career-long 53-yard field goal on the final play of regulation Saturday, and D.J. White picked off a pass in overtime to preserve No. 15 Georgia Tech’s 30-24 victory over No. 9 Georgia in a game filled with bizarre plays.
Georgia Tech (10-2, No. 16 CFP) trailed 24-21 after Hutson Mason threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Mitchell on fourth down with 18 seconds left. But the Yellow Jackets wound up with good field position after a squib kickoff, Justin Thomas scrambled 21 yards into field goal range, and Butker’s kick barely cleared the crossbar.
Zach Laskey put Georgia Tech ahead with his third touchdown run of the game in overtime, but Butker’s extra point was blocked. The Bulldogs (9-3, No. 9 CFP) had a chance to win it as they faced second-and-goal at the 9.
Mason again tried to hit Mitchell on a quick slant.
This time, White stepped in to make the interception, ending a game that featured a bit of everything.
Georgia fumbled twice at the Georgia Tech 1, ruining almost certain touchdown drives, but then snatched the ball away at its own 1 when it looked like the Yellow Jackets were about to take it in. Damian Swann took that one 99 yards the other way for a touchdown, the longest fumble return in Georgia history.
Each team blocked a field goal, and Georgia pulled off a fake field goal that kicker Marshall Morgan nearly took to the end zone. Georgia Tech looked to be in position to clinch the victory after Georgia failed to field a pooch kickoff, allowing the Yellow Jackets to recover deep in Bulldogs territory with just over 4 minutes remaining.
But Thomas made another huge mistake, losing control of the ball as he attempted to pump fake on a scramble. Amarlo Herrera recovered for Georgia, which drove for the go-ahead touchdown.
All was forgiven when Georgia Tech held on for its first win the series known as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” since 2008, and only the second in the last 14 meetings.
The Yellow Jackets celebrated wildly on the “G” in the middle of the field, then sprinted toward their band and a small section of gold-clad fans in a corner of Sanford Stadium. Some players snapped off twigs from the storied hedges as keepsakes.
Georgia, which had been eliminated from a shot at playing in the Southeastern Conference championship game a day earlier when No. 17 Missouri rallied to beat Arkansas 21-14, walked off the field in a daze after another stunning setback.
This loss may cost the Bulldogs a shot at playing in a major bowl such as the Peach.
For Georgia Tech, which will face top-ranked Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game next week and could be headed to the Orange Bowl, the victory made up for a double-overtime loss a year ago. The Yellow Jackets squandered a 20-0 lead in that game and lost 41-34.
Laskey, the fullback in Georgia Tech’s option offense, rushed for 140 yards on 26 carries. He scored on runs of 4, 8 and 2 yards, while Darren Waller hauled in the Yellow Jackets’ other TD on a 7-yard pass from Thomas.
Georgia freshman Nick Chubb had his seventh straight 100-yard game, most of those filling in for star running back Todd Gurley. But Chubb was largely shut down after halftime, gaining only 12 of his 129 yards over the final two quarters and overtime.
Mason was 18 of 28 for 194 yards. His touchdown pass to Mitchell appeared to be the game-winner, but the fifth-year senior walked numbly off the field after his final throw at Sanford Stadium went to the other team.