Georgia Tech falls to Georgia again, 31-17

From the first snap, the biggest plays just didn’t fall for Paul

Johnson and Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech, best known for its option running game, tried to

surprise Georgia with a trick play when receiver Tyler Melton took

the ball on a reverse, stopped and threw deep for running back

Embry Peeples. Melton’s pass floated and fell incomplete.

It was only the first missed opportunity for No. 25 Georgia Tech

in Saturday’s 31-17 loss to No. 13 Georgia.

Johnson’s Yellow Jackets couldn’t stay close in losing the state

bragging rights for the third straight year and the 10th time in

the past 11 years.

”We’re tired of being the little brothers in the state,”

linebacker Julian Burnett said.

Another telling sequence came later in the first half when

Johnson called a timeout just before Georgia’s Blair Walsh was

about to try a 41-yard field goal. Johnson called timeout only to

see Walsh miss the attempt after a high snap.

Thanks to Johnson’s timeout, Walsh had another chance, and this

time he made the kick to give the Bulldogs a 17-10 lead.

”It just seems like sometimes that’s the way it goes,” Johnson

said. ”There is nothing you can do about it. Sometimes it just

goes that way.”

Added Johnson: ”Trust me, if I’d have known they would have a

bad snap, I wouldn’t have called timeout.”

Georgia’s second chance for the field goal looked big when the

game was still close in the second quarter. Johnson would have been

second-guessed if the Bulldogs had won by only three points.

Instead, Georgia led by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Johnson won his first game in the rivalry in 2008, but has lost

three straight to Mark Richt’s Bulldogs.

”It hurts every time,” Johnson said. ”If you’re a competitor

and you lose, it hurts. I hurt for myself but I also hurt for the

kids because they wanted to win the game badly. It hurts that you

can’t find a way to do it.”

Georgia (10-2) scored 17 straight points to lead 31-10 before

Georgia Tech (8-4) scored its only points of the second half on

Orwin Smith’s 16-yard run with 6:32 remaining.

Georgia Tech’s other touchdown came on David Sims’ 5-yard run in

the second quarter.

Aaron Murray threw four touchdown passes for Georgia, which will

play top-ranked LSU in next week’s Southeastern Conference

championship game in the Georgia Dome.

Murray said the Bulldogs were careful to put the SEC

championship game aside until taking care of the state rivalry


”A lot of people were worried we were going to overlook it,”

Murray said. ”It’s too big of a game for us to overlook.”

The Bulldogs have won 10 straight after a 0-2 start.

Johnson said a key was his defense’s inability to reach Murray,

who was sacked only once.

”I think they did a nice job protecting the quarterback,”

Johnson said. ”We didn’t get to him too much. … You have to give

them credit for that. The bottom line is they made plays when they

had to.”

Murray extended his school record for touchdown passes in a

season to 32, hooking up with Michael Bennett and Chris Conley in

the first half, and Tavarres King and Aron White in the third


Georgia Tech rushed for 243 yards, but just 79 after halftime.

Tevin Washington threw a pair of interceptions.

Washington completed only 3 of 10 passes for 34 yards and had 41

yards rushing on 13 carries.

Freshman Synjyn Days replaced Washington in the fourth quarter

and completed 3 of 5 passes for 78 yards, including a 36-yard pass

to Stephen Hill to set up Smith’s touchdown run.

Johnson said there’s no quarterback controversy for Georgia

Tech’s bowl game: Washington is still the starter.

Georgia won without freshman star tailback Isaiah Crowell, who

was in uniform but didn’t play because of a left ankle injury.

The Bulldogs improvised. Defensive backs Branden Smith and

Brandon Boykin both lined up in the backfield, with Smith getting

five carries. Alexander Ogletree broke off a key 21-yard gain on

the first carry by a Georgia fullback this season. Receiver Malcolm

Mitchell had a 20-yard run.

Murray carried most of the load. The third-year sophomore

overcame an early interception – when he was hit on the elbow as he

threw – to complete 19 of 29 passes for 252 yards.

Murray got off to an ominous start. On Georgia’s first

possession, he was hammered as he threw by linebacker Steve

Sylvester, the ball fluttering into the arms of Louis Young for the