In the heat of the moment Georgia Tech safety Corey Griffin said his defensive blunder against Pittsburgh last season would “haunt (him) forever.”
In a slugfest up at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Griffin was one of the deciding factors in the outcome the game. Late in the fourth quarter, he deflected a pass right to a Pittsburgh player, who would run for a long touchdown and help the Panthers to a narrow 37-34 victory.
One year later, Griffin and the rest of the Georgia Tech defense is ready to put that play and that game behind them.
“They have got away from us two years in a row now,” Griffin said. The Panthers have won by a field goal in the final minutes of each of their last two games against the Yellow Jackets.
“One thing we have been hyping on is we have to finish,” cornerback Lance Austin said. “The way the game ended last year is definitely in the back of our minds, but we can’t harp on it too much.”
Griffin probably thinks aboutt he end of that game more than the rest of his teammates because it was his outstretched hand produced one of the more bizarre plays in his football career.
the Yellow Jackets led the Panthers 34-27 with 4:02 left in the fourth quarter -- the team’s first lead of the day. Facing a third-and-9 the Panthers ran a deep slant from their 26-yard line.
Griffin had a bead on Panthers quarterback Nathan Peterman’s pass, however he tipped it straight into the hands of tight end Scott Orndoff who ran in the 74-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.
“I was staring down the quarterback the entire time and I saw where he was going with the ball and I kinda broke on it late and I couldn’t get both my hands up and it kinda came off of my hand and fell into (Ordnoff’s) hands,” Griffin said. “You always want to try and make a play on the ball and it just fell their way.”
As did the game. The Yellow Jackets failed to covert on a fourth-and-1 on the ensuing drive from their 34-yard line, which resulted in a game-winning field goal by the Panthers as time expired.
“Short-term memory,” Griffin said with a smile, “I’m a (defensive back), move on to the next play.”
He jokingly added that he had forgotten all about the play until media members brought it up. That just goes to show the senior’s mindset heading into Saturday’s contest.
He is loose, relaxed and not letting a mistake last season carry over into this year. When asked if that play gave him any motivation for this year’s game against the Panthers, Griffin simply said, “Nah, not really.”