Nov. 27, 2004
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) – David Greene led No. 8 Georgia to an early lead over Georgia Tech, then returned at the end with an aching left thumb to make sure the Bulldogs held on for a 19-13 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Greene injured the thumb on his throwing hand in the first quarter after tossing a 28-yard touchdown pass to Fred Gibson. The senior quarterback was not expected to return, but he came back in with just over seven minutes remaining and the Bulldogs (9-2) struggling to hang on to their fourth straight win over the Yellow Jackets.
Greene completed a couple of passes on a 40-yard drive that set up Brandon Coutu’s first career field goal, a 44-yarder with 2:22 left.
After completing a pass for no gain, Ball was sacked for an 11-yard loss by Quentin Moses. At that point, the Yellow Jackets appeared to lose track of the downs.
Ball raced up to the line to spike the ball, stopping the clock but leaving Georgia Tech with fourth-and-21. On the next play, he rolled right under heavy pressure and just lofted the ball out of bounds to avoid the sack.
The Yellow Jackets looked stunned when the official signaled a first down going the other way. The offense slowly walked off the field, and Georgia took a knee to end the game, which was played in miserable conditions.
With temperatures in the 40s, a heavy rain fell through most of the first half, sending many of the fans home at halftime.
Georgia is expected to play in either the Cotton or Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day, while Georgia Tech may get into the Champs Sports Bowl even with the loss. Virginia can’t play in Orlando’s second bowl because it conflicts with exams.
Greene became the Southeastern Conference leader in career yards passing, surpassing Peyton Manning. Greene, the winningest quarterback in major-college history, now has 11,264 yards with a bowl game still to go after completing 6-of-12 for 80 against the Yellow Jackets.
The Yellow Jackets had superb field position throughout the third quarter. With D.J. Shockley at quarterback, the Bulldogs were held to minus-15 yards and the Yellow Jackets didn’t run any plays from their side of the field.
Rotating Ball and Damarius Bilbo on each possession, the Yellow Jackets cut the deficit on P.J. Daniels’ 1-yard touchdown run and a pair of field goals by Travis Bell. But they couldn’t run with much success and twice failed to convert on fourth down in the final period.
At least Georgia Tech made it close at the end this time. The Bulldogs won the last three years by an average margin of 25 points.
The Bulldogs appeared to be cruising to another blowout when Andy Bailey kicked a 36-yard field goal and Shockley threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Brown in the second quarter.