ATLANTA, Ga. — Despite shutting down Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense for most of the game, limiting the home squad to a single touchdown and 276 total yards, Georgia had to hold off a late rally by the Yellow Jackets to prevail this afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium, 13-7.
“It was a great victory,” said head coach Mark Richt following the win. “I’m proud of our players, ﬁrst and foremost. It was a great team effort. Our coaches did a wonderful job. Our fan base showed up in big numbers.”
On the first possession of the game, Georgia’s Sony Michel scored on a 34-yard run when faced with 4th down and two yards to go. Michel, who finished with 149 yards on 24 carries, also became only the 13th different Bulldogs player in history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a single season.
“It was a great call and there was great blocking,” Michel said regarding his touchdown run. “The hole was there and there wasn’t much I had to do. It was a great play call.”
From that point, much of the game was dominated by the the Bulldogs’ defense, which limited Georgia Tech to 2-of-13 on third down, a 28:42 time of possession, while forcing three turnovers in the contest. Notably, the Bulldogs fell 3:24 short of registering the first shutout suffered by a Georgia Tech squad since the 1997 season.
Leading 7-0 entering the second half, the Bulldogs forced a fumble from Tech in Georgia territory during the third quarter. The Bulldog offense promptly marched down to the field and cashed in with a 19-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan to build a 10-0 lead.
Later in the quarter, the Bulldogs added on with a drive that started in the final minute of the stanza, featuring a 33-yard gallop down the middle by Michel. Marshall Morgan’s 37-yard kick split the uprights at 14:10 left in the game, and the Dogs held a 13-0 advantage.
In the final quarter, Georgia’s defense held strong until a late drive that was aided by an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Bulldogs on a third down. Two plays later, Tech quarterback Justin Thomas passed 15 yards to Ricky Jeune for a touchdown. For the most part, Thomas struggled mightily, completing just 6 of 18 passes for 82 yards and two interceptions, while rushing for minus-three yards on nine carries.
Following the ensuing kickoff, and leading 13-7 while possessing the ball on their own 7-yard line, the Bulldogs stepped up when quarterback Greyson Lambert completed a 25-yard pass to tight end Jeb Blazevich. Lambert had one of his best games of the season, completing 18 of 25 passes for 224 yards.
Still, Georgia was forced to punt, but not until the Bulldogs had run six plays while burning more than three minutes off the clock. With only seconds remaining in the contest, the Jackets’ last-ditched effort resulted in Thomas being picked off by Malkom Parrish on the final play of the game.
“I’m not aggravated at all, I’m happy,” Richt declared when asked if he was “aggravated” that his team essentially dominated this afternoon, yet escaped with a mere six-point victory. “Any victory is a great victory, especially when it’s your in-state rival. … I can’t get frustrated with what happened. I can only be happy that we won and be proud of our guys…”