Originally created 12/30/00

Mistakes prove fatal for Tech

ATLANTA - All the things Georgia Tech didn't do en route to a 9-2 regular season, the Yellow Jackets did in their 28-14 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl Friday night.

They gave up sacks. Three of them.

They turned the ball over. Six times.

They squandered scoring opportunities. Three of them.

So it was that a Peach Bowl-record crowd of 73,614 saw LSU (8-4) overcome an early 14-3 deficit to dominate the second half and walk away with the win.

"We had three situations in the first half where we had a chance to score, and we kept shooting ourselves in the foot," said Tech coach George O'Leary, whose club finished 9-2. "In the second half, LSU outplayed us. Period."

LSU backup quarterback Rohan Davey came off the bench in relief of Josh Booty, completed 17-of-25 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns in the second half to spark the LSU comeback, and the Tiger defense held Tech to five first downs and no points after intermission.

Davey was named the game's most outstanding offensive player, while LSU linebacker Bradie James was the most outstanding defensive player.

Tech's meltdown thwarted the Jackets' chance at their second 10-win season in three years. The Jackets fell to 0-3 in the Peach Bowl, with losses to Purdue in 1978 and Mississippi in 1971. The six turnovers were the most by a Tech team in a bowl game.

"It's just tough, being the last game with all these guys and the coaches," said Tech offensive lineman Brent Key, who played his last game for the Jackets. "I love everything about Georgia Tech, and it really hurts to have this taste in my mouth."

It was a sordid end to a season of positive surprises for the Yellow Jackets, who saw their seven-game winning streak snapped.

Tech quarterback George Godsey connected on 19-of-36 passes but was intercepted twice and and sacked three times after not taking one the previous four games. He left with a sprained right knee after being driven to the turf on Tech's final possession.

LSU struck first courtesy a Godsey fumble at Tech's 25-yard line. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty cost the Tigers a first down inside the Jackets' 10-yard line, and they were forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal by John Corbello.

Tech answered with a nine-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Joe Burns' 32-yard run for a 7-3 lead.

Jermaine Hatch's 9-yard touchdown run, his first as a Jacket, came with 8:17 left in the first half and gave the Jackets a 14-3 lead.

It could have been greater. Tech, which excelled all year in scoring for momentum going into halftime, moved to the LSU 26 late in the second period, but Godsey fumbled the snap on first down and James recovered.

The Tigers took control of the game on their opening drive of the third quarter, moving 70 yards in nine plays. Davey connected with fullback Tommy James on a 3-yard pass to finish the drive, but Corbello's kick failed and Tech's lead was 14-9.

They regained the lead on the second play of the fourth quarter, a 9-yard pass from Davey to Josh Reed, who leaped to catch the ball and got his right toe down in bounds for an acrobatic score with 14:47 left.

Corbello's 49-yard field goal after a Tech fumble made it 20-14 with 13:30 left, and Davey connected with Banks on another 3-yard scoring strike at the 3:12 mark to put the game on ice.


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