Georgia Tech can't overcome fumble against Dogs

Associated Press Modified: November 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm •  Published: November 24, 2012

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia Tech wasn't panicking when No. 3 Georgia needed only four plays to score its first touchdown.

The Yellow Jackets, who averaged 47.7 points in three straight wins before Saturday's game, aren't afraid of a shootout.

The damaging momentum shift came when Georgia Tech was 1 yard away from a tying touchdown and running back Robert Godhigh was stripped of the ball by Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo, who returned the fumble recovery to midfield.

Eight plays later, Georgia (11-1) had its second touchdown to set the pace for its lopsided 42-10 win over the Yellow Jackets.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said the turnover provided a "huge" shift and the Yellow Jackets (6-6) couldn't respond.

"You've got to give him some credit for doing it, but it was a killer," Johnson said. "We just couldn't overcome it. We couldn't match them score for score, which is what we've been doing."

Johnson talked to his players during the week about avoiding turnovers and making the most of possessions.

"I was just trying to fight for extra yards and I was doing that," Godhigh said. "The guy just came and stripped it from me.

"I was just trying to make a play for the offense and get more yards and he just got me. ... We got down in the red zone and that was all we had talked about all week, turnovers, and I lost the ball on that first drive. That just kind of messed it up for the offense."

Georgia Tech senior quarterback Tevin Washington said the fumble "shifted momentum" but wasn't the only reason for the team's fourth straight loss in the rivalry.

"It's very frustrating," Washington said. "We've been pounding all week to take care of the ball, do the little things right and we'd give ourselves a chance to be in the ballgame. When you go out there, I feel like we just laid an egg."

Georgia Tech will have to regroup for next week's Atlantic Coast Conference game against Florida State. The Yellow Jackets won the Coastal Division with a 5-3 conference record after Miami self-imposed a bowl ban for the second straight year.

Linebacker Quayshawn Nealy said frustrations affected the defense, which has struggled all season, late in the game.

"We've got to stick together because some guys were fading apart during the last bit of the game," Nealy said. "We've got to stick together and hold tight because we've got something big coming up next week."