Far be it for Hutson Mason to second guess his head coach. But Georgia’s senior quarterback is forthright and honest. So when he was asked about Richt’s decision to have Marshall Morgan squib the Bulldogs’ last kickoff on the ground rather than kick it deep, he admitted he didn’t like it.
“I was surprised,” Mason said. “But I don’t make those decisions. Obviously after they kicked it they had good field position and about 13 seconds. They made a play. They made the plays. The kid still had to make a 53-yard field goal and he made it and that’s not easy.”
The bounding kick was was fielded by Tech’s Anthony Harrell after a big bounce and he returned it 16 yards to the 43 before being tackled by Ben Souther and Morgan. Quarterback Justin Thomas then needed just a 21-yard run to the Georgia 36, which set up a chance for the game-tying kick with four seconds remaining.
Tech’s Harrison Butker, whose previous long field goal was 49 yards, made the kick to send the game into overtime.
Richt said after the game he felt sick about the decision to squib the kick and wishes he could’ve done it over. He did his best to explain his reasoning.
“If you kick it deep, there’s a chance they could set up a return and take it to the house,” Richt said. “If you squib it, it’s hard to get a touchdown on the kick. But your squib does tend to end up giving them more field position. That’s the difference.
“If you kick it (deep) and they end up taking it to the house, that’s a bad decision there. But we’ve been covering kicks pretty good and Marshall does a good job of kicking the ball up there and giving our guys the chance to make tackles. And we did all day.
“So obviously hindsight is helpful but I should’ve just let them kick it deep and go cover the thing and see what happens from there.”
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