Georgia Tech loses Music City 25-17 to Ole Miss

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets started the Music City Bowl just

as they wanted, running on 11 of their 14 plays as they finished

the drive with a touchdown.

Then Mississippi essentially shut down their triple-option

offense from there and handed Georgia Tech yet another bowl loss

Monday 25-17.

”We never got in sync on offense at all,” Georgia Tech coach

Paul Johnson said. ”Never really got into any kind of rhythm. It

was just kind of haphazard. We hit some plays here and there, but

nothing to gain any consistency.”

Robert Godhigh ran for an 8-yard touchdown, and Vad Lee

connected with Darren Waller on a 72-yard TD pass as the Yellow

Jackets (7-6) tried to rally late. But the nation’s fourth-best

rushing offense that came in averaging 311.7 yards a game managed

just 151 yards and was outgained 477-298 in total offense.

Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace outrushed Lee 86-24 by

himself.

”They played about every kind of defense known to man,”

Johnson said of how the Rebels stopped Lee. ”They were just

popping gaps and lining up, and we were really just tossing the

ball.”

Georgia Tech (7-6) now has lost eight of its last nine

bowls.

Ole Miss (8-5) has won six straight bowls and 10 of the last 11

in making up for the lone loss in that stretch in the 2000 Music

City Bowl. The Rebels came in tied with Auburn and Florida State,

who play Jan. 6 for the BCS national championship, for the nation’s

longest bowl winning streak.

”I didn’t want to screw that up today,” Ole Miss coach Hugh

Freeze said. ”So I’m glad to win two bowl games in our first two

years. With what we inherited, I think says we’re heading in the

right direction for sure. It is a very positive step.”

The Yellow Jackets had other issues in the game.

Johnson said he shouldn’t have given punter Sean Poole the

option to run on a fake punt that ended with Poole tripping up 2

yards shy of the line of scrimmage at midfield. They also had a

chance to finish off a 10-point rally in the fourth quarter after

Adam Gotsis blocked a 32-yard field goal attempt, giving Georgia

Tech the ball with 4:36 left.

But an attempted reverse play with receiver Corey Dennis trying

to throw turned into a safety when he fumbled, and Ray Beno covered

the ball up in the end zone.

”We’d been waiting for a series-and-a-half to get the ball in

the middle of the field because I knew it was going to work,”

Johnson said. ”They made a play, and we didn’t. If it worked,

you’d be calling me a genius.”

Ole Miss finally punted back to Georgia Tech with 37 seconds

left. Senquez Golson intercepted Lee on the next play to seal the

victory for the Rebels in the bowl, sponsored by Franklin American

Mortgage Company.

”We were playing in spurts and really couldn’t finish,” Lee

said. ”That’s been the thing the whole year. I feel like we were

moving the ball and were doing some good things, but we just didn’t

finish.”

With a month to prepare, Ole Miss came up with some new

defensive looks for Georgia Tech.

”That’s why it’s so difficult to play them probably in a short

amount of time,” Freeze said. ”You’re going to be forced to play

some of your base stuff. We were able to get some different stuff

in.”

Harrison Butker capped a 64-yard drive with a 38-yard field goal

in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter, then D.J. White

intercepted a Bo Wallace pass intended for Donte Moncrief. On the

next play, Lee found Waller for a 72-yard catch-and-run for a TD

with 13:25 left.

”That was big,” Lee said. ”The game was slow to that point

and it kind of got everybody out of their seats, got our fans into

it, got the sideline going and it was huge. It was definitely a

confidence builder. The next drive we wanted to score and we were

moving the ball well, but something happened.”

Wallace finished running for two touchdowns and throwing for

another and finished with 256 yards passing. The native of Pulaski,

Tenn., was named the bowl’s MVP.