College football: Georgia 30, Georgia Tech 24
ATLANTA ó Georgia took a page out of Georgia Tech’s playbook, rushing for 339 yards to upset the seventh-ranked Yellow Jackets 30-24 Saturday night and put a real damper on the ACC championship game.
Washaun Ealey rushed for 183 yards, while Caleb King rambled for 166 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs (7-5) reclaimed state bragging rights in a disappointing year and handed the Yellow Jackets (10-2) a huge setback in what has been their best season in nearly two decades.
Georgia Tech’s loss completed a dismal day for the two teams that will meet next week in Tampa, Fla., for the ACC title. Earlier, Clemson was blown out by South Carolina 34-17.
Just as they did a year earlier, the Yellow Jackets put themselves in a deep hole in the first half, falling behind 17-3 to a Georgia team that opened huge holes for its running back tandem. Ealey, a freshman, had already set a new career high early in the second quarter.
Unlike 2008, when Georgia Tech rallied from 16 points down for a 45-42 victory that snapped a seven-year losing streak to the Bulldogs, the Jackets couldn’t come all the way back. The nation’s second-best rushing team was held to 205 yards on the ground.
After Blair Walsh missed a potentially clinching field goal from 55 yards out, only his second miss of the season, Georgia Tech converted a fourth down at the Georgia 46 with plenty of time to run it the rest of the way.
But coach Paul Johnson abandoned the triple option, taking three straight deep shots through the air ó all incomplete ó to leave the Yellow Jackets facing fourth-and-10. Quarterback Josh Nesbitt, who returned to the game on a gimpy ankle after being injured in the first half, found Demaryius Thomas wide open along the sideline for what would have been enough for the first down.
But Georgia Tech’s top receiver let the ball slip through his hands with no one around.