EL PASO, Texas — John White took his final hand-off of the day, followed his lead blocker and set off a celebration.
White plowed into the end zone from 8 yards out to give Utah a 30-27 overtime victory against Georgia Tech on Saturday in the Sun Bowl.
“They trusted me with the ball, so I saw Shawn Asiata blast somebody and I knew I was going to go in,” White said. “As soon as the ball crossed the plain I looked up to the ref and saw his hands go up and knew it was a touchdown so I just wanted to go celebrate with my teammates.”
Justin Moore kicked a 34-yard field goal for Georgia Tech to take a three-point lead in overtime, but White, on his 26th carry, ran in the game-winning score. He finished with 115 yards.
The Utes (8-5) tied it in regulation when Jon Hays hit DeVonte Christopher with a 28-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-14 with 1:32 left in the fourth quarter.
“There’s no quit in these guys,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “They kept believing, coaches kept believing, and we found a way to win in the end.”
Coach Paul Johnson was disappointed with Georgia Tech’s play in the fourth quarter.
“We couldn’t block in the fourth quarter and the plays we needed to make just didn’t happen,” he said. “It feels like somebody kicked you in the gut. When you are competitive, it really hurts”
The Yellow Jackets (8-5) drove to the Utah 31 with 2 seconds left, but David Scully missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt as time expired to send the Sun Bowl to overtime for the first time in its 77-year history. Moore had earlier missed two 42-yard tries.
“I thought (Scully) hit the ball good and I actually thought it went in, but I guess it was a few feet to the right,” Johnson said. “We didn’t make enough plays and we missed three field goals.”
Georgia Tech lost its seventh consecutive bowl appearance and Utah improved to 7-1 in bowls under Whittingham.
Georgia Tech’s Preston Lyons rushed for a career-best 140 yards on 18 carries and Tevin Washington passed for 137 yards and ran for 97.
“We should have put the game away in the fourth quarter,” Johnson said. “We didn’t let up. We ran most of the same plays in the fourth quarter that we ran in the rest of the game.”