Tech football falls to UGA 42-34

Photo by Joey Cerone/Student Publications
On Nov. 27, the Tech football team traveled to Athens, Ga. for its annual game against rival Georgia. In a sloppy game where each team fumbled four times, UGA came away with the victory, 42-34.
The game could not have started better for the Jackets, as senior kicker Scott Blair’s kickoff hit the ground without being returned. The Jackets dove on the loose ball, setting up great field position for the offense’s first drive.
Tech ran three different running backs with little success on its opening drive and ran into a fourth down. The Jackets called a timeout to talk over whether they should go for the first down or kick a field goal. Head Coach Paul Johnson elected to go for a first down, and sophomore A-back Orwin Smith got stuffed at the line, giving UGA the ball and early momentum.
UGA could not take advantage of the turnover on downs and punted three plays later. Junior safety Jerrard Tarrant returned the punt 19 yards, giving the Jackets great field position again. After a long drive, Smith fumbled inside UGA’s 10-yard line, and UGA recovered.
This time, UGA took advantage of Tech’s lack of focus. After two catches by receiver A.J. Green, quarterback Aaron Murray hit receiver Kris Durham on a crossing pattern on third down. After scampering 66 yards down the sideline, Durham was in the endzone, and UGA held an early 7-0 lead.
A block in the back penalty halted Tech’s ensuing drive, and the Bulldogs got the ball back. Murray delivered two more accurate passes before throwing to his tight end Orson Charles who was in one-on-one coverage. Charles caught the pass behind senior cornerback Mario Butler and found himself with an open path to the endzone.
“We were trying to put pressure on Aaron Murray, but we had to drop guys into coverage. Hats off to Murray for stepping up and making the plays with our defenders in his face,” Butler said.
Six strong runs from senior B-back Anthony Allen set up a one-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Tevin Washington, cutting the lead to seven with 13 minutes left in the half.
Murray found Charles with another long pass on UGA’s next drive. The gain put the Bulldogs in the redzone for the first time, but they could not capitalize as Murray was stopped on a fourth down play on Tech’s five-yard line.
Feeding off of the defense’s big stop, Washington orchestrated a 14-play drive that included a 22-yard run from junior A-back Roddy Jones and a 12-yard pass to Smith. Jones finished off the drive with a rushing touchdown to tie the game.
The game was not tied for long as UGA found a running attack for the first time in the half. Running back Washaun Ealey ran for 47 yards on only two carries, and Murray passed for his third and final touchdown of the first half.
Tech got the ball to start the second half and junior A-back Embry Peeples scored a 19-yard touchdown that was set up by a 44-yard pass to sophomore receiver Stephen Hill.
“We had been running the toss and running the ball inside all night, and that was the first play-action pass that we threw. They bit on it really hard, so it was wide open,” Washington said.
Georgia got the ball back but fumbled the ball away two plays later. Tech only managed one first down on its next drive before punting the ball away. Georgia fumbled the punt, but then Jones fumbled again for Tech four plays later.
UGA took the ball at its own 36-yard line, and Murray connected with Green on three straight passes for 48 total yards. Ealey capped off the drive when he ran for a score on a fourth down play from Tech’s one-yard line.
“[Green] has changed most of the games that he has been in this year. He is obviously a high quality player… He is hard to guard, but Murray made some [good] throws under pressure… That is usually the difference in the game when a quarterback steps up and makes plays,” said defensive coordinator Al Groh.
Tech got the ball back, but on the second play of the drive, Washington tried to pitch the ball to Jones on the option. Unfortunately, Jones was not able to catch it and fumbled.
“The defender got there at the same time as the pitch. I got my hands on it, and I should have probably caught it, but the guy just made a good play,” Jones said.
UGA’s defensive end Justin Houston recovered the fumble and ran 18 yards for a touchdown to give the Bulldogs a 14-point lead.
The Jackets needed to score on their next drive, and after 12 plays, Washington scored another one-yard touchdown to cut the lead to seven. Washington ended the game with 73 yards on 23 carries.
Georgia had to punt on its next drive and Tech got the ball with eight minutes left in the game.
Allen ran five times on the next drive including what would have been a game tying touchdown. Blair lined up for the extra point that would have tied the game at 35, but Blair missed the kick wide left.
“That’s the way football goes. You are always one play away from winning the game, and if a [missed PAT] happens, it happens. You just have hope that it doesn’t happen… We depend on Scott a lot this year, and we want him to keep his head up,” Allen said.
Tech let Georgia score another touchdown later in the game to keep the game within one-score, but Tech could not get the score needed to tie the game. Georgia went on to win the game 42-34, their fifth win in six years in the rivalry.
Tech will next play in a postseason bowl game that has yet to be determined.


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