Georgia .............. 3 0 10 18 - 31 Virginia Tech (14).....0 21 0 3 - 24 Scoring Summary: 1st Quarter 10:49 GA - Coutu 39 yd FG 2nd Quarter 14:07 VT - Ore 1 yd run (Pace kick) 06:45 VT - Ore 1 yd run (Pace) 04:36 VT - Wheeler 53 yd pass from Royal (Pace) 3rd Quarter 06:10 GA - Coutu 51 yd FG 01:52 GA - Milner 6 yd pass from Stafford (Coutu) 4th Quarter 12:39 GA - Lumpkin 3 yd run (Milner pass from Stafford) 10:42 GA - Coutu 28 yd FG 07:30 GA - Southerland 1 yd run (Coutu) 03:41 VT - Pace 28 yd FG
#14 Virginia Tech blew an 18-point halftime lead, lost the momentum in the second half and never recovered in a 31-24 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Using Virginia Tech’s formula for success, Georgia mounted their comeback in the second half behind big plays by their special teams and defense, while their offense took care of the ball and took advantage of their opportunities.
A quick glance at the turnover margin will show why Georgia won the game. The Bulldogs turned the ball over just once, while the Hokies had four turnovers in the second half, all by quarterback Sean Glennon.
Glennon suffered through an abysmal second half performance. For the game, he was 13-of-26 for 94 yards, with no touchdowns and three interceptions. Glennon also had a critical fumble on a blindside sack in the second half.
Georgia dominated the line of scrimmage for most of the game. All-ACC tailback Branden Ore managed just 42 yards on 20 carries, with two one yard touchdown runs. The Hokies gained just 189 total yards as a team.
Georgia gained only 200 total yards, including just 73 on the ground and 133 through the air. But they took advantage of field position in the second half on their way to 28 points in the final two quarters.
Bulldog true freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford didn’t dazzle, but he didn’t lose the game. He was 9-of-21 for 129 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
Eddie Royal led the Hokies in receiving with four catches for 42 yards. He also threw a 53 yard touchdown pass to Sam Wheeler on a wide receiver pass. Royal also made a big play on special teams, returning a punt 54 yards that set up a touchdown in the second quarter.
At halftime, it looked as if the Hokies were going to roll. After Georgia took an early 3-0 lead, Tech ran off three straight touchdowns. The first came after Brenden Hill picked off a Matthew Stafford pass deep in Georgia territory at the 17 yard line. The Hokies drove to the one yard line, where Branden Ore punched it in on fourth down, and Tech went up 7-3 with 14:15 left in the second quarter.
Georgia went three and out on their ensuing drive and were forced to punt from their own 30. Eddie Royal made a big play on special teams, returning the punt 54 yards to the Bulldog 31 yard line.
It took Virginia Tech eight plays to punch it in from the 31, but they finally found the endzone on another Branden Ore run from the one yard line. Brandon Pace’s extra point made the score 14-3 Virginia Tech with 7:35 left in second quarter.
Once again, Georgia’s offense went three and out, and Virginia Tech took over on their own 47 yard line. The Hokies didn’t waste any time scoring this time. Sean Glennon fired a pass behind the line of scrimmage to Eddie Royal, who looked downfield and hit a wide open Sam Wheeler for a 53 yard touchdown, and the Hokies extended their lead to 21-3. Glennon’s pass to Royal was actually tipped by a defender, but Royal kept his composure, caught the ball cleanly, and hit Wheeler for the touchdown.
The Hokies held that lead until early in the third quarter, when Georgia began to win the field position battle. The Bulldogs were stopped at the Tech 49 yard line on their first drive of the third quarter, but that was enough to swing the field position battle in their favor.
Virginia Tech’s ensuing drive ended at their own 18 yard line, and after Nic Schmitt’s punt, Georgia took over on their own 46. On the first play of the drive, Matthew Stafford hit fullback Brannon Southerland on a 26 yard pass play over the middle, and the Bulldogs were in business.
The drive eventually died after Chris Ellis sacked Stafford on the Tech 34 yard line, but Georgia kicker Brandon Coutu nailed a 51 yard field goal to make the score 21-6 with 6:34 left in the third quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Georgia made the play that turned the game in their favor. Bulldog head coach Mark Richt called for an onside kick, and it worked to perfection, with Georgia recovering at their own 48 yard line. On the first play of the drive, Virginia Tech was flagged for a 15 yard facemask penalty, which gave the Bulldogs the ball at the Tech 37 yard line.
Georgia scored seven plays later when Stafford hit tight end Martrez Milner on a play-action pass for a seven yard touchdown over the middle. Georgia hit the extra point, and Virginia Tech’s lead was cut to 21-13, and they took that lead into the fourth quarter.
Then Sean Glennon had the worst quarter of his Virginia Tech career. Glennon turned the ball over on the Hokies’ first four possessions of the fourth quarter, and Georgia used the turnovers to complete the comeback.
The first turnover came when Glennon escaped pressure in the backfield, but fired an ill-advised pass downfield, and it was intercepted by linebacker Tony Taylor. The Bulldogs took over on Tech’s 48 yard line, and it didn’t take them long to strike.
On the first play of the possession, Stafford ran a play-action fake and hit tight end Martrez Milner on a deep passing play against Aaron Rouse. Milner was tackled on the two yard line, and three plays later Kregg Lumpkin found the endzone on a three yard run to make the score 21-19.
Georgia went for the two point conversion, and Stafford found Milner in the back of the endzone to tie the game at 21 with 12:43 left in the game.
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On the first play of Tech’s next possession, Glennon was hit with a blindside sack and fumbled, and the Bulldogs recovered on the Hokies’ 19 yard line. They couldn’t manage to pick up a first down, but they settled for a Brandon Coutu field goal that gave Georgia the lead 24-21 with 10:53 remaining.
On Tech’s next possession, a Sean Glennon pass to the right was tipped just past the line of scrimmage and intercepted again by Tony Taylor. Taylor returned the pick to the one yard line.
Tech’s defense stood valiantly, but the Bulldogs finally pushed across the goal line on a fourth down run by Brannon Southerland. The extra point gave Georgia a 31-21 lead with 7:33 left in the game.
Glennon’s final interception came on Tech’s next possession, but Georgia could not capitalize. After the Bulldogs shanked a punt that went out of bounds at their own 28 yard line, Tech was able to tack on a field goal with 4:24 left in the game that made the score 31-24 Georgia.
The Hokies went for the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, but failed. They got the ball back with 1:25 left on their own 20 yard line, but lost five yards over the next four plays, and the Bulldogs went on to take the victory.
With the disappointing loss, Virginia Tech finishes the season with a 10-3 record. Georgia improved to 9-4.
STATISTICS VT UGA ---- ---- First downs 9 9 Rushed-yards 26-42 31-71 Passing yards 147 129 Sacked-yards lost 2-11 1-2 Passes 4-27-3 9-21-1 Punts 4-48.8 7-37.7 Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0 Penalties-yards 8-78 4-31 Time of possession 29:37 30:23 Att: 66,233 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Virginia Tech, Ore 20-42, K. Lewis 2-5, Glennon 4-(-5). UGA, Lumpkin 12-39, Ware 6-24 Southerland 6-5, Stafford 7-15. PASSING-Virginia Tech, Glennon 13-26-94-3. UGA, Stafford 9-21-129-1. RECEIVING-Virginia Tech, Royal 4-45, Ore 4-11, Morgan 2-14, Wheeler 1-53, Boone 1-10, Clowney 1-8 Harper 1-6. UGA, Milner 3-49, Massaquoi 2-18, Southerland 1-27 Raley 1-24, Durham 1-11, Ware 1-0.