Horror between the Hedges

The University of Georgia played their final regular season game of the 2014 season at home last weekend against their hated rival, Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs came into this game winning 12 of the last 13 times that these two teams have competed. Many thought that the favored Georgia team would extend their win streak by one more, but the Yellow Jackets had intentions of their own. The game resulted in what was one of the most exciting matches ever held between the two rivals.

The Bulldogs got off to an early touchdown lead against the Jackets, and their defense was allowing Tech’s triple option offense little space to go anywhere. Georgia had two more opportunities to add points, but freshmen running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both had fumbles within a few feet of the goal line. This gave Georgia Tech the chance for a comeback, and come back they did. The Yellow Jackets hand the ball and were up by 4 with only a few minutes left. Trying to run clock off and in a position where they were going to kick a field goal at worst, they were stunned by Georgia defenseman forcing their quarterback to fumble and recovering the ball. Hutson Mason began a drive back down the field with about two minutes left, knowing that kicking a field goal was not an option. The Dawgs made it all the way to the goal line and had the ball on the three-yard line. It was fourth and goal with a little over 20 seconds remaining. Hutson threw a quick pass to Malcolm Mitchell for a touchdown. The Georgia crowd and team erupted in celebration at their come-from-behind win.

There were 18 seconds left on the clock as the Georgia Tech fans began to make their way out of the stadium, all while enduring the torrent of “nerd” insults and with 90,000 Georgia fans chanting “SEC” at the top of their lungs.

The Georgia special teams unit kicked off and performed a squib kick in order to eliminate any chance of a kick return. The problem is that they performed what was the worse squib I’ve ever witnessed, kicking the ball only about 20 yards down the field. Tech had one chance to get the ball in field goal range, and as the Georgia team dropped back in coverage, the Jacket’s quarterback took off for a 15 yard run. With just enough time left, the Yellow Jacket’s kicker just barely made it through the uprights and tied the game up to go to overtime.

The Jackets los the toss and had to go on offense first, but they easily drove down the field and scored. Georgia defenseman, Ray Drew, blocked his second kick of the day by tipping their extra point. The Georgia fans hummed with excitement knowing that all they had to do was score a touchdown and convert the extra point. Hutson Mason quickly threw an interception to end the game and to send the Georgia home crowd home in disappointment and disbelief.

The beauty of a true rivalry game showed itself on Saturday in that anything can happen when two teams who harbor true dislike for each other meet on the gridiron. An athletic Georgia defense looked utterly outmatched against Tech’s run offense. A Georgia running game that was elite all season literally dropped the ball (twice), and then did not even show up in the second half. Strange things happen, and last Saturday between the hedges was a prime example.

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