Utah Utes football: Sun shines on Utes in comeback overtime win over Georgia Tech

Published: Saturday, Dec. 31 2011 10:00 p.m. MST

The outburst, capped by a PAT from Moore, made it 24-10.

It stayed that way until the exciting conclusion.

"There's no quit in these guys," Whittingham said. "They kept believing, coaches kept believing, and we found a way to win in the end."

The contest pitting teams from the Pac-12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference got off to a surprising start. Instead of a highly anticipated ground game — featuring Georgia Tech's spread option (No. 3 in the nation with 316.83 rushing yards per game) and White, the Pac-12's No. 2 rusher — both teams came out throwing.

The Yellow Jackets went to the air first, completing a 43-yard pass from quarterback Tevin Washington to Stephen Hill. The play, though, was nullified by offensive pass interference and eventually led to a punt.

Utah's offense also came out pass happy. Five of the Utes' seven plays on their opening series were throws from Hays. The last one was a 1-yard scoring strike to fullback Shawn Asiata with 9:54 remaining in the first quarter. Petersen then added the PAT to make it 7-0.

Georgia Tech responded with a 58-yard run by Preston Lyons to move into scoring position on the ensuing possession. The Yellow Jackets came up empty, though, when Moore's 42-yard field goal attempt caromed off the left goal post.

Things changed, however, early in the second quarter when Lyons rambled 36 yards for a touchdown as Georgia Tech evened the score at 7-7.

The Yellow Jackets had an opportunity to untie the score with just under three minutes to go, but Moore once again missed a 42-yard kick. This one was wide left.

Utah answered with a scoring drive to regain the lead at 10-7 with 14.6 seconds left in the half. A 31-yard reverse play from Hays to White to Reggie Dunn put the Utes on the Georgia Tech 8. Petersen wound up concluding the series with a 25-yard field goal that went through after hitting the right upright.

The Yellow Jackets managed to knot the score early in the third quarter, however, on a 32-yard field goal by Moore.

"It was a heck of a football game and you have to take your hat off to Utah for the way the came back in the game," said Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson. "We had a lot of opportunities and we just couldn't capitalize. We didn't make enough plays."

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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