The first 55 minutes of this game were foreplay. Here’s what counted:
Georgia at 5:26 GA GT 1st and 10 at GT 39 DJ Shockley pass complete to Mohamed Massaquoi for 5 yards to the GaTch 34. 7 7 2nd and 5 at GT 34 Georgia penalty 10 yard holding on Leonard Pope accepted, no play. 2nd and 15 at GT 44 DJ Shockley pass complete to Leonard Pope for 11 yards to the GaTch 33. 3rd and 4 at GT 33 DJ Shockley pass complete to Mario Raley for 9 yards to the GaTch 24 for a 1ST down. 1st and 10 at GT 24 Georgia Tech penalty 5 yard offside defense on Elris Anyaibe accepted. 1st and 5 at GT 19 Thomas Brown rush for no gain to the GaTch 19. 2nd and 5 at GT 19 DJ Shockley pass complete to Bryan McClendon for 19 yards for a TOUCHDOWN. 13 7 Brandon Coutu extra point GOOD. 14 7 Brandon Coutu kickoff for 61 yards returned by Chris Dunlap for 22 yards to the GaTch 26. DRIVE TOTALS: UGA drive: 5 plays 39 yards, 02:08 UGA TD Georgia Tech at 3:09 GA GT 1st and 10 at GT 26 PJ Daniels rush for 5 yards to the GaTch 31. 14 7 2nd and 5 at GT 31 Reggie Ball pass complete to George Cooper for 17 yards to the GaTch 48 for a 1ST down. 1st and 10 at GT 48 Reggie Ball rush for 30 yards to the UGA 22 for a 1ST down. 1st and 10 at GA 22 Reggie Ball pass incomplete to Tashard Choice. 2nd and 10 at GA 22 PJ Daniels rush for a loss of 4 yards to the UGA 26. 3rd and 14 at GA 26 Georgia penalty 15 yard pass interference on Greg Blue accepted, no play. 1st and 10 at GA 11 Reggie Ball pass intercepted by Tim Jennings at the UGA 6, returned for 28 yards to the UGA 34. DRIVE TOTALS: GaTch drive: 6 plays 63 yards, 01:58 GaTch INT
Both teams struggled on offense throughout most of the game. At crunch time, Shockley drove his team for a TD to take the lead, and Reggie Ball was… Reggie Ball.
It’s not just that he threw the pick when it counted the most, or that he threw a bad ball that his receiver played badly as well. It’s that he and the Tech offensive brain trust ignored a strategy so obvious that even a five year old Tech fan knew what to call in that situation: first and ten on the Georgia 15 with the best offensive weapon in the country at your disposal, a six foot five wide receiver with incredible hands and body control, called for fade pattern after fade pattern after fade pattern. Instead, Ball chose to throw to a converted quarterback whose route running skills were more than a bit questionable.
Calvin Johnson finished the game with two catches for 14 yards. That made him the fifth leading receiver for Georgia Tech on the day. And it made Georgia a winner for the fifth straight year.