ATLANTA (AP) — Vad Lee’s best game as a passer wasn’t enough to end Georgia Tech’s drought against Georgia.
Georgia Tech blew a 20-point lead in Saturday night’s 41-34 loss to Georgia in overtime to give the Yellow Jackets their fifth straight loss in the state rivalry. Georgia Tech lost despite Lee’s career-high 232 yards passing with two touchdowns.
Lee threw two touchdown passes to DeAndre Smelter as Georgia Tech, which usually emphasizes the run in its spread-option offense, attacked Georgia through the air. Lee completed 11 of 23 passes for 232 yards with two interceptions and had a 3-yard scoring run.
“We had a good game plan coming in,” Lee said. “We knew that we were going to try to hit some big pass plays, and we did in the beginning. If only we could have hit some of those plays toward the end where we could have finished.”
Instead, Georgia (8-4) had the big finish.
Todd Gurley ran for 122 yards and three touchdowns, including two scores after regulation.
Georgia Tech (7-5) has lost 12 of the last 13 games in the series. Georgia Tech’s only win in that span came in 2008, its first season with coach Paul Johnson.
“I wanted to play hard and win this game, especially for our seniors,” Lee said. “I can imagine how they feel right now not being able to beat Georgia. That game matters a lot here and it was special. The game was special with a great atmosphere and we really wanted to win.”
The Yellow Jackets blew leads of 20-0 in the second quarter and 20-7 at halftime.
“It was a tough game,” Johnson said. “I was proud of our guys’ effort. It was a hard game to lose. It was a gut-wrenching game. It would have been for either side.”
Gurley’s 25-yard touchdown run in the second and final overtime gave Georgia its first lead in quarterback Hutson Mason’s first start.
“We just kept fighting,” said Mason, a fourth-year junior who moved into the starting role after senior Aaron Murray’s season ended with a knee injury last week. “We came back and we just stuck together.”
Mason completed 22 of 36 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Lee’s fourth-down pass for Darren Waller was deflected by Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson and then batted out of the end zone by cornerback Damian Swann to end the game.
Jeremiah Attaochu had four of Georgia Tech’s five sacks as the Yellow Jackets tried to put pressure on Mason.
“We saw some things we could do early,” Attaochu said. “Of course they made some adjustments, but for the most part we were able to get decent pressure.”
Georgia won the toss to start overtime and chose to play defense. Smelter ran for 12 yards on a reverse to help set up Lee’s scoring run from the 2.
Georgia answered with a strong dose of Gurley, who ran for 8, 11 and 6 yards on the Bulldogs’ quick three-play touchdown drive.
Georgia Tech then elected to play defense to start the second extra period. Gurley ran straight through the Georgia Tech defense for a 25-yard touchdown run and the Bulldogs’ first lead at 41-34.
Georgia Tech’s Robert Godhigh was tackled by Leonard Floyd for a loss of three yards to set up Lee’s incompletion on fourth and 5 from the 6.
Georgia players then rushed the field, their dominance in the state rivalry intact.
Georgia Tech did not have a turnover until Lee, throwing off his back foot, had his pass intercepted by Josh Harvey-Clemons in the fourth quarter. Clemons returned the ball 18 yards to the Yellow Jackets 25.
Johnson said the interception was a rare bad throw by Lee, who he said “had a really good game.”
“He got pressure on the interception and that was the only one that I could think of that was really a poor decision,” Johnson said.
Attaochu’s fourth sack helped force Georgia to settle for Marshall Morgan’s 32-yard field goal for a 27-27 tie with 4:17 remaining.
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