Nesbitt scores in OT, No. 10 Ga. Tech survives

BY foxsports • November 7, 2009


ATLANTA (AP) -- Josh Nesbitt scored on a 3-yard run in overtime after Georgia Tech pulled off a gutsy play on fourth down, leading the No. 10 Yellow Jackets another step closer to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game with a 30-27 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.

Jonathan Dwyer rushed for a career-best 189 yards and went over 1,000 yards for the season, but it was Nesbitt and the guys on the defensive side who bailed out the Yellow Jackets (8-1, 6-1) at the end.

After the defense stifled Wake Forest (4-6, 2-4) on the first possession of OT, forcing a field goal, Georgia Tech drove to the 5 where it faced fourth-and-less-than-a-yard. The Yellow Jackets (8-1, 6-1 ACC) initially tried to draw Wake offsides, but was forced to burn a timeout when that didn't work.

Instead of sending on Scott Blair for a chip-shot field goal to extend the game, coach Paul Johnson decided to go for the win right there. Even though his team failed to convert of four time on fourth down in regulation, the Yellow Jackets offense trotted back on the field.

Nesbitt powered up the middle for a 2-yard gain and scored on the very next play, going in standing and then flipping the ball high into the air to celebrate. The entire team poured onto the field to celebrate underneath the goal posts.

Georgia Tech would clinch a spot in the ACC title game with a win at Duke next Saturday. The Yellow Jackets haven't won an outright conference championship since 1990, the year they shared the national championship with Colorado.

It was another excruciating loss for the Demon Deacons, who must win their final two games to become eligible for its fourth straight bowl trip. Five of their defeats have come by a total of 13 points, two of them going to overtime.

Georgia Tech jumped to a 10-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game, but Wake Forest dominated the second quarter and led 17-10 at halftime. The Yellow Jackets kept making dumb penalties, contributing to all three Wake Forest touchdowns.

Dwyer broke off a 59-yard touchdown run on Georgia Tech's first offensive snap of the second half, tying the game at 17, and the defense took over from there. Wake Forest managed only one first down on its four possessions after the break, and Georgia Tech went ahead 24-17 when Nesbitt scored on a 12-yard run with 8:19 left in regulation.

But Riley Skinner, who had only been cleared to play on Friday after sustaining a concussion the previous week in a loss to Miami, finally cranked up the Demon Deacons' offense. Wake Forest drove 74 yards in seven plays, capped off by Skinner's 11-yard touchdown pass to Devon Brown with 4:27 remaining.

After Georgia Tech was stopped again on fourth down, Wake Forest appeared to be driving into range for a winning field-goal attempt. But Skinner was sacked by Derrick Morgan on third-and-7 from the Georgia Tech 35, and Wake Forest decided to punt it away and settle for OT.

Skinner was 26 of 40 for 263 yards and two touchdowns. The Demon Deacons were held to 28 yards rushing, while Georgia Tech piled up 412 on 62 carries out of its spread option.