“We knew we were going to get the ball in [the endzone],” freshman running back Nick Chubb said. ‘Malcolm made a great catch. He held on to it, put us ahead in the game.”
A wave of red and black flooded from the sidelines to the field, ready to celebrate a 10-win season and yet another victory over their in-state rival. The celebration didn't last long.
Georgia's 12-play, 69-yard drive for glory was erased by the 53-yard kick by sophomore Harrison Butker, sending the game into overtime.
“The last two minutes was a dogfight,” freshman running back Sony Michel said. "That’s what we play this game for, and it came down to it and both teams fought hard.”
In overtime, the Jackets were the first to strike, minimized to just six points with a blocked extra point by senior Ray Drew. With a second overtime victory over Georgia Tech in sight, Mason had to command just one more drive downfield.
But the fairytale ending was not meant to be for Mason and the rest of the seniors.
“As you’re going out on to the field you realize that this could be pretty special way to end your senior year,” Mason said. “Thought that was the sweetest way to write your story, but it didn’t happen”
Mason ended his career in Sanford Stadium with an intercepted pass, intended for, you guess it, Mitchell.
Georgia Tech, who will be going to the ACC championship next Saturday, swarmed the field, celebrating their first win in the rivalry since 2008. Meanwhile, Georgia was suffering a double-loss of sorts.
The past 24 hours have not been kind to the Bulldogs. Just yesterday they watched as Missouri, a team they shut out at Columbia, claimed the SEC East title. Then today, an old rivalry, which they were favored to win by 12 points, crumbled in their fists as Tech commanded the clock and created turnovers.
“Today we played our hearts out,” Mason said. “ We just kept fighting, gave ourselves an opportunity to win there at the end. You’ve just got to credit Tech. They found a way to win.”