(Saturday, December 31st)
Final Score: Utah 30, Georgia Tech 27 (OT)
El Paso, TX (Sports Network) - John White IV recorded an eight-yard touchdown run in the first overtime, lifting the Utah Utes to a thrilling 30-27 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Sun Bowl.
After the Yellow Jackets made a field goal to start the first OT period, Utah needed just six plays to find the end zone and claim victory. A false start penalty set up a 3rd-and-goal from the eight, but White took the ball up the middle for the game-winning touchdown.
"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."
White ended with 115 yards on 26 carries for the Utes (8-5), who improved to 13-4 all-time in bowl games. White became Utah's all-time single-season leading rusher with 1,519 yards. He needed 103 yards coming into the game to match the school record of 1,507 yards set by Carl Monroe in 1982.
Jon Hays completed 15-of-31 passes for 193 yards, three touchdowns and an interception for Utah, which is 7-1 in bowl games under head coach Kyle Whittingham.
Tevin Washington connected on 11-of-15 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown for the Yellow Jackets (8-5), who have lost seven straight bowl games. Washington also carried the ball 20 times for 96 yards.
Preston Lyons rushed for 138 yards and a score on 18 carries for Georgia Tech, which has made 15 consecutive bowl appearances.
Trailing by two scores, 24-10, the Utes scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Utah got the comeback started with a 10-play, 71-yard scoring drive. White ran for 15 yards and Shawn Asiata caught an 18-yard pass to move the ball to the Georgia Tech 38. After converting a 3rd-and-2, Asiata caught a 15-yard pass to set up a 1st-and-goal. On 4th-and-goal from the three, Hays found Kendrick Moeai in the end zone to make it 24-17 with 6:50 to play.
Following a trio of three-and-outs, Utah got the ball back with 2:21 left and no timeouts. Griff McNabb's 31-yard punt return set up the Utes at the 24 of the Yellow Jackets. A one-yard run, two incomplete passes and a delay of game set up a 4th-and-14. But Hays lofted a perfect pass down the left sideline to DeVonte Christopher for a 28-yard score and 24-24 game with 1:32 to play in regulation.
The Yellow Jackets moved the ball to the Utah 31 with two seconds left, but David Scully missed a 48-yard field goal.
Georgia Tech got the ball to start the first overtime period. Faced with a 3rd-and-2, Washington was stopped for no gain. Justin Moore made a 34-yard field goal to make it 27-24.
Asiata caught a nine-yard pass on 3rd-and-3 to set up a 1st-and-goal for Utah before White found the end zone three plays later.
"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," Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson said. "We had a lot of opportunities and we just couldn't capitalize. We didn't make enough plays and we missed three field goals."
After forcing Georgia Tech to go three-and-out, Utah scored a touchdown on its first possession of the game. Christopher caught a 35-yard pass on the second play to move the ball to the 38 of the Yellow Jackets. Luke Matthews added a 31-yard catch on 3rd-and-5 to move the ball to the two. Asiata caught a one-yard TD pass from Hays to make it 7-0.
Moore missed a 42-yard field goal on Georgia Tech's next drive, and Washington fumbled later in the period. But the Utes failed to capitalize off the turnover.
The Yellow Jackets tied the game early in the second quarter. Embry Peeples recorded a 16-yard run to move the ball to the Utah 36. On the next play, Lyons sprinted into the end zone. Georgia Tech converted a pair of third downs on the nine-play, 80-yard drive.
Moore missed another 42-yard field goal with three minutes left in the half. Utah's Coleman Petersen made a 25-yard field goal with 14 seconds left to make it 10-7 at the break.
A bad punt by Utah gave Georgia Tech great field position early in the second half. Peeples and Roddy Jones ripped off runs of 11 and 14 yards, respectively, to move the ball into the red zone. The Yellow Jackets kept the offense on the field on 4th-and-2, but a false start penalty brought the field goal team on. Moore made a 32-yarder to make it 10-10.
Georgia Tech's next drive covered 87 yards in just four plays. Peeples caught a 58-yard pass on the first play to move the ball to the 29. On 3rd-and-12, Stephen Hill caught a 31-yard TD pass from Washington.
On the first play of Utah's ensuing drive, Hays was picked off by Quayshawn Nealy. The linebacker sprinted 74 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown to make it 24-10 with under five minutes left in the third stanza.
These programs had only faced off once before. Utah upset the Yellow Jackets 38-10 in the 2005 Emerald Bowl...The Sun Bowl and Sugar Bowl are the second- oldest bowl games behind the Rose Bowl. The inaugural Sun Bowl was played in 1935...Georgia Tech was trying to claim its first bowl victory since defeating Syracuse 51-14 in the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl...The Yellow Jackets fell to 22-18 all-time in bowl games...The Utes had a nine-game bowl win streak snapped last year with a 26-3 loss to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl...Christopher caught four passes for 74 yards...Peeples carried the ball nine times for 59 yards...White was named the game's most valuable player.
12/31 20:59:47 ET