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Dawggone good comeback

Georgia rallies from 25-point deficit to knock off Purdue

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Posted: Saturday January 01, 2000 09:04 PM

  Hap Hines Georgia kicker Hap Hines is hoisted in the air by teammates after kicking the game winner in overtime. AP

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Georgia didn't take any chances in the Outback Bowl.

Hap Hines kicked a 21-yard field goal in overtime to complete the greatest comeback in bowl history, as the No. 21 Bulldogs pulled out a 28-25 victory over No. 19 Purdue after trailing 25-0 early in the second quarter.

Georgia coach Jim Donnan might have given his team a chance to win with a touchdown, but he remembered a bitter overtime loss to rival Georgia Tech in the regular-season finale.

The Bulldogs (8-4) passed up a chance to kick the winning field goal in the waning seconds, only to lose the ball just short of the end zone on a disputed fumble. Tech went on to a 51-48 victory in the extra period.

This time, Donnan ordered a field goal attempt on second down with the ball sitting squarely in front of the goal posts. Hines came through with the winning kick.

"For you people who weren't at the other game, we ran one more play," Donnan said, "and it will probably haunt us for the rest of our lives."

A year ago, Georgia fell behind 21-0 against Virginia in the Peach Bowl before rallying for a 35-33 victory. This time, they came back from an even greater deficit to earn a spot in the record books.

"That's two years in a row we've gotten down like the Titanic," Donnan said. "That's as close to looking like the game was fixed as I've ever seen, the way we were jumping offsides and making a lot of silly mistakes."

The previous record for greatest come-from-behind victory in a Division I-A bowl was 22, shared by BYU and Notre Dame. BYU defeated SMU 46-45 in the 1980 Holiday Bowl after trailing 35-13 and the Fighting Irish rallied from a 34-12 deficit in the 1979 Cotton Bowl to beat Houston 35-34.

Purdue (7-5) suffered three losses during the regular season by a combined 16 points, but this was the most disappointing defeat of all.

"This game is how our whole season has gone," said Drew Brees, who threw for 378 yards and tied an Outback Bowl record with four touchdown passes. "We are very strong in the first half."

The Boilermakers, who led 25-0 before the second quarter was five minutes old, couldn't keep it going after halftime. Travis Dorsch missed three field goal attempts after botching an extra point in the first half, leading Purdue to try -- and fail to convert -- a pair of 2-point conversions.

Those points were critical when Quincy Carter guided Georgia on a 13-play, 94-yard drive for the tying touchdown. Randy McMichael made a spectacular catch on an 8-yard scoring pass from Carter with 1:19 remaining.

"It goes without saying that it's my best drive," said Carter, a sophomore who was 20-of-33 overall for 243 yards and also ran for 41 yards.

The maligned Georgia defense, which received a mock cheer from its fans when it finally stopped Purdue in the first half, held the Boilermakers scoreless over the final 40 minutes of regulation and stuffed them in overtime, too.

"We've taken a lot of abuse," said Jamie Henderson, who had a key interception against Brees late in the first half. "But we don't worry about that. They can get all the yards in the world as long as they don't score."

The Bulldogs surrendered 30 first downs and 528 yards, but Josh Mallard came up with a critical sack of Brees in overtime before Dorsch was wide right on a field goal from 43 yards.

Georgia took possession at the 25 and quickly moved into easy field goal range when Patrick Pass broke loose on runs of 10 and 19 yards.

The Bulldogs ran two more times to the 3 before Hines kicked the game-winner. The diminutive senior was carried off the field on his teammates' shoulders after the second overtime bowl game in college football history. The first was in the 1995 Las Vegas Bowl, when Toledo defeated Nevada 40-37.

"The game was over before I stepped on the field," Hines said. "I went out there expecting to make it."

Trailing 25-18, Georgia took over at its 6 with 7:28 remaining and drove for the tying touchdown. The Bulldogs converted a third-and-12 early in the drive and Carter threw a 21-yard pass to Terrence Edwards on fourth-and-12 at the Purdue 28 with 2:25 to go.

On third-and-goal at the 8, Carter scrambled right under heavy pressure and finally heaved the ball toward the end zone. It was tipped by safety Adrian Beasley before McMichael snatched it off the shoulder of another Purdue defender, linebacker Willie Fells.

The Boilermakers seemed headed toward a rout, scoring on their first three possessions.

Brees, who completed 36-of-60 passes, hooked up with Chris Daniels on the first two scoring plays. Daniels, who grew up across the bay in Clearwater, scored on touchdowns of 3 and 11 yards.

After the second TD, however, Dorsch missed his first extra point of the season. He was 38-of-38 to that point.

Brees followed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Vinny Sutherland, but the Boilermakers failed to convert a 2-point conversion. They went for two again after Chris James hauled in a 32-yard scoring pass with 10:38 left in the second quarter. That conversion didn't work, either.

Georgia cut the deficit to 25-10 by halftime. Edwards went 74 yards on a reverse for a touchdown and Hines kicked a 32-yard field goal.

Carter scored on an 8-yard run in the third quarter, while Dorsch missed from 40 and 38 yards.

"It's going to be a long offseason," the Purdue kicker said. "I'll be watching a lot of tape and rededicating myself."

Related information
Stories's Bowl Breakdowns's Outback Bowl page
CNNSI's Bowl Picks
Purdue-Georgia Game Summary
Georgia TE Randy McMichael talks about his reaction after catching the tying TD. (47 K)
Bulldogs kicker Hap Hines is happy for his teammates after winning the Outback Bowl. (54 K)
Georgia coach Jim Donnan thought his team showed some character. (107 K)
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