PEACH BOWL : Virginia Gets a Kick Out of Stirring Ending
Demetrius Allen said he was thinking field-goal range when he fielded a kickoff after Georgia had suddenly forged a 27-27 tie with Virginia on a fumble return with only 69 seconds remaining.
He was thinking too small.
Allen hit the left sideline, barely avoiding going out of bounds, and raced 83 yards for a touchdown with 57 seconds left that boosted the Cavaliers (9-4) to a 34-27 victory over the Bulldogs (6-6) in the Peach Bowl Saturday night.
“We came close all year, but we were always a block or two away,” he said. “When I got past the kicker, I knew it was over.”
Allen’s return spoiled the final game for Coach Ray Goff, whose firing was announced a week before Georgia’s regular-season finale against Georgia Tech, a victory that got the Bulldogs into the Peach Bowl.
“It’s not going to be my last game,” Goff said. “I hope it’s not. I plan to coach again. I told the players to win it for themselves.”
Goff then talked about Georgia’s future under new Coach Jim Donnan.
“This team is going to be successful next year, and I’m excited to follow them and listen to them on the radio,” said Goff, who was 46-34-1 in his seven seasons at his alma mater.
The Bulldogs gained the 27-27 tie with 1:09 remaining when Jason Ferguson scooped up Patrick Jeffers’ fumble and returned it 10 yards.
Allen also scored on an 83-yard pass from Mike Groh in the second quarter, getting behind the defense for the catch at the Georgia 40.
“At least it didn’t go down to the last second,” Virginia Coach George Welsh said. “We’re used to it, but we’ve lost most of them.”
Tiki Barber ran for 103 yards in 20 carries, scoring on a one-yard run and setting up a field goal with a 55-yard punt return.
Hines Ward led Georgia’s rally from an early 14-0 deficit, passing for 413 yards. He scored Georgia’s only offensive touchdown on a one-yard keeper.
Kanon Parkman kicked four field goals for Georgia and Rafael Garcia had two for the Cavs.