Nov. 26, 2005
ATLANTA (AP) – D.J. Shockley threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Bryan McClendon with 3:18 remaining and Tim Jennings clinched the victory with an interception at the goal line, giving the 13th-ranked Bulldogs a 14-7 victory over No. 20 Georgia Tech on Saturday night.
Georgia (9-2) defeated its state rival for the fifth year in a row.
Both teams scored in the first quarter, then slogged it out much of the night in a field-position battle. Finally, Georgia Tech (7-4) cracked.
Thomas Flowers, who had two big punt returns in the second half, broke off a 33-yarder that gave the Bulldogs possession on the Georgia Tech 39. Shockley converted a key third down with an 8-yard pass to Mario Raley, then went all the way to the end zone.
On second-and-5 from the 19, Shockley laid the ball out perfectly for McClendon, who hauled in the pass despite tight coverage by Dennis Davis.
Georgia Tech quickly moved into position to force overtime. Reggie Ball threw a 16-yard pass to George Cooper and ran for 30 yards into Georgia territory. The Yellow Jackets caught a huge break when Ball threw into quadruple-coverage, but drew a pass interference penalty when Greg Blue clothes-lined star receiver Calvin Johnson a split-second before the ball arrived.
With first down at the Georgia 11, Ball went for the tying score but telegraphed his pass for Darius Bilbo. Jennings read it all the way, making the game-winning interception right in front of the end zone with 1:11 to go.
Georgia spent much of the third quarter swinging around a big disadvantage in field position, which began when McClendon slipped down at his own 2 after catching the second-half kickoff.
The Bulldogs went three-and-out on their first possession, giving Georgia Tech the ball at the Georgia 48, but the Yellow Jackets couldn’t do anything offensively. Georgia gradually worked out of the hole, getting a big boost on Flowers’ 30-yard punt return late in the period.
Shockley completed 15-of-34 for 198 yards, while Ball was held to 155 yards passing and had three turnovers – two interceptions and a fumble.
Georgia Tech took the opening kickoff and marched right down the field. Ball had runs of 13 and 11 yards, sandwiched around a 28-yard pass to James Johnson. Finally, on second-and-goal from the 2, Ball threw a high pass toward the left corner of the end zone, giving Calvin Johnson enough time to make a spectacular diving catch with cornerback DeMario Minter trailing hopelessly behind him.
Minter even clapped his hands after the catch, acknowledging the brilliance of Georgia Tech’s star receiver. But Johnson made only one more catch for 14 yards.
It was the Yellow Jackets’ first lead over their state rival since 2001, when Joe Burns ran for a 37-yard touchdown with just over five minutes left in the third quarter. Georgia reclaimed the lead less than three minutes later – and didn’t give it up for four years.
Georgia tied it up before the first period was over, driving 82 yards in eight plays. Kregg Lumpkin accounted for 31 yards on four carries, while Shockley completed passes of 25 yards to Leonard Pope and 23 yards to Mohamed Massaquoi. Brannon Southerland finished it off by powering into the end zone from the 1.
What looked like an offensive shootout in the making suddenly turned defensive.
KaMichael Hall made a diving interception off a deflected pass from Shockley. Ball was picked off by Paul Oliver and also had the ball jarred loose on a run. When the teams did get in position to score, their kickers couldn’t convert.
Georgia’s Brandon Coutu missed from 48 yards early in the second quarter, while Georgia Tech’s Travis Bell was wide left on a 47-yarder with 12:53 left in the game.