Carter, Gary shine for 'Dogs
Georgia rallies to beat Virginia in Peach Bowl thriller
Posted: Saturday January 09, 1999 08:59 PM
ATLANTA (CNN/SI) -- If George Welsh had his way, his Virginia Cavaliers wouldn't return to Atlanta -- ever.
In October, Virginia blew a huge lead and allowed Georgia Tech to rally for a 41-38 win only after Todd Braverman missed a last-second field goal.
Two and a half months later and a few miles down the road at the Georgia Dome, the Cavaliers saw almost the same exact thing against Georgia.
The No. 19 Bulldogs rallied from a 21-0 deficit, then held on for a wild 35-33 victory over 13th-ranked Virginia when Todd Braverman's 48-yard field goal attempt drifted just wide of the upright with 19 seconds remaining.
The win was payback for Georgia after losing a close battle to Virginia in the 1995 edition of the game.
"We were just trying to stop the bleeding," Georgia coach Jim Donnan said. "By the end of the game, more good things happened than bad. The best thing was that missed field goal."
Quincy Carter accounted for three touchdowns and Olandis Gary ran for 110 yards and two scores as the Bulldogs (9-3) took advantage of countless mistakes by Virginia's kicking game. Georgia blocked a punt to set up a touchdown and Braverman missed two field goals and an extra point.
"We gave up 28 points in the second half -- that was the bad part," coach George Welsh said. "You can say we missed a field goal and all that, but you [can't] give up 28 points in the half."
In the 1995 Peach Bowl, Georgia bounced back from a 24-6 deficit against the Cavaliers, tying the game at 27 with just over a minute remaining. But Petey Allen returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown and a 34-27 victory for Virginia.
"I remember watching that game on television and thinking about coming to Georgia," said Gary, wound up transferring from Marshall and playing two years for the Bulldogs. "This time, we came out victorious."
The Cavaliers (9-3) provided a thrilling finish after Georgia went ahead 35-27 on Carter's 1-yard sneak for a touchdown with 7:01 remaining.
Aaron Brooks threw an interception in the end zone with just over four minutes to go, but Virginia got the ball back and Brooks broke loose for a 30-yard scoring run with 1:34 left.
On the 2-point attempt, Brooks escaped heavy pressure but his pass at the goal line for Terrence Wilkins was batted down by Jeff Harris.
The Cavaliers weren't through. Devon Simmons recovered an onside kick at the Virginia 47 and Thomas Jones moved his team into field goal range with a 26-yard run.
"I knew I was going to have a chance to redeem myself after the onside kick," said Braverman, who earlier had missed that extra point as well as a 44-yard field goal. "It just wasn't my day."
Like his first two misses, Braverman's final attempt also sailed wide right, missing its target by a foot or two.
"I thought it definitely had a chance most of the way," he said. "It just kept drifting right a little bit. It's just one of those things."
This marked the 15th year in a row the Peach Bowl was decided by seven points or less.
Carter, a 21-year-old freshman who spent the last two years playing minor-league baseball, actually had a hand in six TDs -- three for Georgia, three for Virginia.
He threw three interceptions in the first half, all leading to Virginia scores: Anthony Southern's 2-yard run and TD passes by Brooks of 43 yards to Wilkins and 24 yards to Jones. But Carter completed 15 of his last 20 passes for 205 yards.
"There's just one word to describe Quincy Carter -- leader," Gary said. "'That's what he came out and did. He never got down, he kept his cool, he kept plugging away and we stayed with him. Quincy is not the kind of player to quit."
Larry Mann sparked Georgia by blocking Donnie Scott's punt late in the first half, setting up Carter's 11-yard TD pass to Tony Small.
The Bulldogs tied it in the third quarter on Carter's 14-yard pass to Champ Bailey -- an All-American junior likely playing his final college game -- and Gary's 15-yard scoring run.
Bailey, who took part in 113 plays on offense, defense and special teams, said he would announce a decision later after talking to his parents. 'I can't say right now that I will leave or stay,' said Bailey, who suffered cramps in the interview room.
Wilkins put the Cavs back ahead with a brilliant, 67-yard touchdown reception, the highlight of a six-catch, 161-yard game. He beat Bailey over the middle and got away from two attempted tackles by Kirby Smart, Georgia's All-Southeastern Conference safety.
But Braverman missed the extra point, leaving the margin at 27-21 and eventually forcing the Cavs to go for two late in the game.
Georgia went ahead for the first time when Gary dove over from the 2 with 12:52 remaining and Hap Hines converted the extra point, making it 28-27.On Georgia's next possession, Carter threw a 52-yard pass to Michael Greer, who made a great diving catch down the sideline. Carter finished the drive by sneaking in with 7:01 left.
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