Georgia overcame a 17-point deficit in the second half against Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs couldn't overcome a pair of disputed calls by the officials.
After having one kick blocked, freshman Luke Manget booted a second-chance, 38-yard field goal in overtime to give No. 20 Georgia Tech an improbable 51-48 victory Saturday over the 16th-ranked Bulldogs.
But the most critical play came with nine seconds left in regulation, when Georgia's Jasper Sanks fumbled at Tech's 2-yard line even though television replays clearly showed he was down before the ball came loose.
"We gave the fans something to remember us by," said Tech quarterback Joe Hamilton, who made his final pitch for the Heisman Trophy by passing for 341 yards and four touchdowns and also leading his team in rushing with 94 yards.
Georgia (7-4) is still headed to a postseason game, perhaps the Music City Bowl. That provided little solace for the players who collapsed on the field after Manget's winning kick.
"We just got some bad breaks," defensive tackle Marcus Stroud said. "We never give up and that is something you can say about this team. We were down 17 points and we still battled back. I think that shows a lot about the character of this team."
Referee Al Ford, who headed up the Southeastern Conference officiating crew, defended the call on Sanks' fumble.
"I had two guys who saw the ball come loose," he said. "Neither of them saw the runner down and both said forward progress had not stopped. A Georgia Tech player recovered the ball, so possession went to Georgia Tech."
The Bulldogs also lost an apparent touchdown in the fourth quarter when the officials ruled Thad Parker was out of end zone on a 5-yard reception. Replays indicated he got a knee down inside the line befre tumbling out of bounds, but Georgia was forced to settle for a field goal that tied the game at 41.
In overtime, the Bulldogs got the ball first but failed to score. Quincy Carter, who threw for 345 yards, was intercepted in the end zone by Marvious Hester, who earlier had a critical fumble that let Georgia get back in the game.
Tech took over at the 25 and, facing a third-and-6 at the 21, decided to send Manget on the field a down early to attempt a 38-yard field goal. Georgia's kick-blocking specialist, Kendrell Bell, swatted away the ball, seeming to give the Bulldogs another chance to win.
"I thought it was over," said Manget, who wanted to attend Georgia but wound up with the Yellow Jackets. "My heart was sinking."
Tech's holder, George Godsey, recovered the loose ball at the 21 to give Manget another chance from the same distance. This time, his kick sailed high over the Georgia line and inside the left upright, providing the Yellow Jackets their most amazing victory in a series that began in 1893.
"When I realized I had a second chance, I knew I had to make it," Manget said. "I couldn't believe what was happening until George picked me up. He told me to get the ball up and make it."
Georgia Tech's gold-clad fans stormed on the field at Bobby Dodd Stadium, mobbing their team and ripping down both goal posts. The 5-foot-10 Hamilton was engulfed by into the crowd, which chanted "Joe! Joe! Joe!" after the final regular-season game of his stellar career.
"I am speechless, really," Hamilton said.
He wasn't the only one. The 94th game in the series was the highest-scoring ever, easily eclipsing the 68 total points that were scored in 1975. Georgia Tech had 550 yards and 29 first downs, while Georgia piled up 33 first downs and 542 yards.
Also, it was the fourth time in the last five years that the regular-season finale between these state rivals has been decided in the final minute or, in this case, beyond. Last year, Brad Chambers kicked a 35-yard field goal with two seconds left in regulation to give the Yellow Jackets a 21-19 victory.
Georgia, which trailed 41-24 after Hamilton's 5-yard touchdown pass to Conrad Andrzejewski with 3:20 left in the third quarter, began its comeback when Hester fumbled a punt at the Tech 10 on the Bulldogs' next possession.
Carter quickly made the Yellow Jackets pay with a 10-yard touchdown run, beginning a stretch of four straight possessions in which Georgia scored, transforming the 17-point deficit into a 48-41 lead. The go-ahead touchdown was a 30-yard pass from Carter to Jevaris Johnson with 5:12 remaining.
Then it was Tech's turn to rally. Hamilton threw a 32-yard pass to Dez White, who had nine catches for 165 yards overall. On third-and-goal from the 6, Hamilton gunned a touchdown pass to freshman Will Glover, who hung on despite a vicious hit with 2:37 remaining.
Georgi drove 63 yards to get in position for a chip-shot field goal as the clock was winding down. The Bulldogs tried one play too many, handing the ball to Sanks on first-and-goal at the 2 after he gained 25 yards on his two previous carries.
Sanks burrowed into the line, short of the end zone but both knees clearly down. The ball popped loose when Sanks' upper body hit the ground and Chris Brown picked it up for Tech, just in case.
After a brief discussion by the officials, Tech was given the ball and a chance to win in overtime.
"I will take this win any way I can get it," Tech cornerback Travares Tillman said.
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