CAPITAL ONE BOWL: GEORGIA 34, PURDUE 27
Dawgs survive close call to win in OT
Georgia saw a 24-point lead get away.
Published: Friday, January 2, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 2, 2004 at 12:48 a.m.
ORLANDO - Kregg Lumpkin stood along the sideline, head drooping. The freshman was disconsolate about the stunning fumble that cost Georgia a chance to wrap up the Capital One Bowl.
He wanted another chance.
He got it in overtime.
Lumpkin redeemed himself by scoring on a 1-yard, fourth-down dive in the first overtime, giving No. 11 Georgia a 34-27 victory over No. 12 Purdue on Thursday.
``I was just happy they were going to give me another chance,'' Lumpkin said. ``I was thinking, 'Don't fumble, just score.' ''
The Bulldogs (11-3) built a 24-0 lead in the first half. The Boilermakers tied it with a 17-point fourth quarter. Georgia finally won it when Lumpkin slipped into the end zone, then Tony Taylor made a game-ending interception.
``We've never been in overtime, so we tried to force it into overtime,'' said Georgia coach Mark Richt, able to joke about the hectic finish. ``And our scoring average was down, so we were able to get a few more points.''
Richt wasn't in such a good mood at the end of regulation. The Boilermakers (9-4) tied it up thanks to a remarkable turn of events with just over a minute remaining.
Purdue was out of timeouts when Richt called a run on second down instead of ordering quarterback David Greene to take a knee. The coach was trying to avoid a punt with a few seconds left, but he quickly regretted his decision.
Lumpkin got hemmed up deep in the backfield and tried to run the other way, but Shaun Phillips stripped the ball. After a wild scramble, Niko Koutouvides recovered for Purdue at the Georgia 34.
``What we talked about was getting down without going out of bounds,'' Lumpkin said. ``I should have just fallen down when I saw that guy. I wish I had.''
Ben Jones kicked a 44-yard field goal with 49 seconds remaining to keep the game going, tied at 27.
It was reminiscent of the ``Miracle of the Meadowlands,'' a 1978 NFL game in which the New York Giants fumbled trying to run out the clock. Philadelphia scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for the winning touchdown.
This time, Georgia had a chance to make up for its mistake in overtime. As the teams prepared for the extra period, Richt noticed Lumpkin standing along the sideline, his head down.
``I looked at him and said, 'Hey, you can't be down now. We might need you to win this football game.' ''
How prophetic. Taking the ball first, the Bulldogs got to the 3 with the help of a pass interference penalty on Bobby Iwuchukwu, then went for it on fourth down from inside the 1. Lumpkin managed to slide through a crease for the touchdown.
Purdue had a chance to keep the game going. Georgia appeared to get the clinching stop when Kyle Orton threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-goal from the 8, but the Bulldogs were offsides.
Orton's final pass was intercepted by Taylor in the end zone, setting off a wild celebration by the Georgia players after a game that lasted nearly four hours.
``We don't have moral victories at Purdue,'' coach Joe Tiller said. ``It was a loss for us, a tough loss.''
Tiller wasn't happy about the penalty in overtime.
``The ball was probably 10, 12 yards over the receiver's head,'' he said. ``Last time I checked, Shaquille O'Neal isn't playing receiver for Georgia.''
The game was similar to the only other meeting between the schools, the 2000 Outback Bowl.
In that one, Purdue built a 25-0 lead early in the second quarter, but was stunned by one of the greatest comebacks in bowl history. Georgia rallied for a 28-25 victory in overtime.
Greene passed for three touchdowns in the first half and the Bulldogs seemed on the verge of their own blowout. He finished 27-of-37 for 327 yards and was the game's MVP.
But Greene's performance was overshadowed by Purdue's thrilling comeback, led by Orton. The quarterback ran for two TDs and threw a 3-yard scoring pass to Anthony Chambers with 1:41 remaining, pulling the Boilermakers to 27-24.
When the onside kick went out of bounds, the game was over, right? Not so fast.
Jones, who had missed an overtime kick in a loss to Ohio State, got a chance when Lumpkin fumbled. The kicker came through with his second field goal of the game.
Orton was knocked out briefly with a dislocated thumb on his non-throwing hand and finished with a plate in his shoe, having sustained a sprained toe. But he led the Purdue rally, completing 20-of-34 for 230 yards.
``That's probably the worst pain I've felt,'' Orton said. ``Coming back out and showing the guys that I wanted to play with them, no matter that I was hurt, I think it kind of energized us a little bit.''
Georgia's Billy Bennett kicked a pair of field goals, giving him 87 for his career and 31 for the season - NCAA records.
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