Tech Tops Dawgs: News and Notes

Tech Tops Dawgs: News and Notes

ATHENS - David Hale's news and notes from Georgia's game with Georgia Tech.

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES

After the game, Tech's players ran to the northwest corner of the stadium to celebrate with their fans, many of whom were congregated along the wall just beyond the end zone. Tech's players ripped branches from Georgia's famed hedges as mementos of the win, leaving the bushes surrounding the field tattered after departing.

"I just saw people coming back with pieces of the hedges in their mouths, in their ears, and then I looked over to our side, and we had our whole team over there grabbing hedges where our fans were," Georgia Tech safety Morgan Burnett said.

As to whether he thought Tech's players should be punished for damaging the hedges, Burnett said it might be a costly fine.

"I hope not," Burnett said, "because everybody on our team broke that rule."

DESTINATION UNKNOWN

With Saturday's loss, Georgia's bowl future remains up in the air. While there's a good chance the Bulldogs will still head to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla. despite falling to Tech, bowl officials weren't ready to make any commitments.

"As we all know, football season doesn't end until the last down is played, and that won't be until next week," Capital One Bowl official Billy Crozier said. "Look at last year, all the hypothetical that could have happened. There's more games to be played."

Should Georgia be the SEC team selected for the New Year's Day game, its opponent will likely be either Ohio State or Michigan State. Crozier said either matchup would be intriguing.

"Michigan was at our Champs Sports Bowl last year and brought a ton of fans, so that would be a tremendous matchup against an SEC team, and so would Ohio State," Crozier said.

GET OUT YOUR PASSPORT

Richt might be making travel plans that extend well beyond Georgia's bowl destination. After Georgia struggled on kickoffs yet again, Richt joked that he might have to scour Europe in hopes of finding a kicker with a strong enough leg to help Georgia win some field-position battles.

"We might have to go to Poland or something to find a guy who can kick it out of the end zone," Richt said. "We'll give him two scholarships."

Freshman kicker Blair Walsh booted two kickoffs out of bounds, and Tech began numerous drives with strong field position. It has been an ongoing battle for the Bulldogs, who have booted more kicks out of bounds than into the end zone this season.

"I'm very comfortable with Blair as our extra-point and field-goal kicker, it's just that kickoffs have not really landed where they ought to land on a consistent basis," Richt said.

HUDDLE UP

After Georgia Tech scored a go-ahead touchdown following Richard Samuel's fumble on a kick return, Richt called his entire team to a huddle at midfield.

The players formed a semicircle around their head coach, who barked orders from side to side, sending the team back onto the field with a new mission.

"That they weren't going to give up after halftime, that we can't go out there complacent, that we can't lag around," wide receiver Kenneth Harris said of Richt's speech. "We had to have the same intensity we came out with. That's what he was telling us, and we knew that, but they came out and made plays."

The offense followed with four plays and a punt, giving the ball back to Tech, which quickly added to its lead with a field goal.

OUT WITH A BANG

It has been a difficult season for senior tight end Tripp Chandler, who has battled injuries to his shoulder and knee as well as struggling in the passing game. He managed to get a bit of redemption against Tech, hauling in a one-yard touchdown pass on Georgia's opening drive – just his fifth catch of the year and his first score.

"It was definitely a special moment for me, and I'm sure it was for my family, especially considering the type of season I've had," Chandler said. "But it really doesn't seem like much now considering the outcome."

OUT WITH A WHIMPER

For Georgia's seniors, their final moments in Sanford Stadium were frustrating ones. Georgia had beaten its in-state rival seven straight times, and for seniors such as Harris and Dannell Ellerbe to conclude their careers with a loss was a bitter pill to swallow.

"It's always tough to walk away at a low point," Ellerbe said, "but to play them, your in-state rival, it's a bad feeling."

Defensive tackle Corvey Irvin was playing his final home game for Georgia, but as a junior-college transfer, he had only beaten Tech once. After the game, Irvin was visibly shaken by the loss and struggled to contain his emotions.

"I'm just hurting," Irvin said. "I'm not used to feeling like this. All my chapters – this is the end of my book. I've closed my book, and I wanted a happy ending for my story. I didn't want to go out like this, but you have to have thick skin about everything and get ready for whoever we got in the bowl game."

EVANS OUT

Safety Bryan Evans was on crutches with his right foot in a boot walking off the field. Richt said Evans' injury kept him on the sideline down the stretch, but wasn't sure of the severity.

"He sprained his foot," Richt said, "and just couldn't go anymore."

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