ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech’s Harrison Butker got some serious hero worship from the national media for his 53-yard game-tying field goal against Georgia on Saturday.
The respect was well-deserved, as the sophomore’s kick came as time expired and sent the game into overtime. Georgia Tech then won 30-24, snapping its five-game losing streak to Georgia.
Butker’s kick was the longest of his career. It exceeded by 7 yards his longest successful kick of the year.
“I just wanted to make sure I kicked it straight,” Butker said.
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Straight? Yes. Long enough? Barely. The ball probably sailed over the crossbar by a foot. It would not have been good from 54 yards.
But that didn’t matter, and Butker was not the only hero Saturday. There were exceptional efforts by Georgia Tech players on both sides of the ball.
Here are five heroes who deserve extra credit in pushing Georgia Tech across the finish line:
Chris Milton: In the first quarter, Georgia tailback Nick Chubb turned the corner and appeared headed for a touchdown. Milton, best known for his prowess as a kick-blocker, chased down the speedy freshman and knocked him out of bounds at the 1. Two plays later, Chubb fumbled, and Georgia Tech recovered, in a big turning point in the game.
Quayshawn Nealey: In the second quarter, Georgia tailback Sony Michel had turned the right corner and was headed down the sideline for what appeared to be a touchdown. But Nealey caught him and forced Michel to lose control of the ball as he was headed toward the sideline. Somehow, the ball ended up back in play and into the arms of the opportunistic Isaiah Johnson. Again, Georgia Tech had denied Georgia points in what could have been a seven-point situation. Nealey had nine total tackles.
Adam Gotsis: The big defensive tackle muscled his way through and got his hand up to block Marshall Morgan’s 49-yard field goal try in the third quarter. The block prevented Georgia from taking a 10-point lead and set up a Georgia Tech scoring drive that tied the game eight plays later.
Johnson: In the fourth quarter, Georgia’s Morgan lined up for a 48-yard field goal but wound up running 28 yards for a first down. Johnson came across the field and knocked Morgan out of bounds at the 3 to save a touchdown. Once again, the Georgia offense faltered and had to settle for a field goal. Johnson finished with a team-best 10 tackles.
D.J. White: The junior from McDonough stepped in front of Malcolm Mitchell to intercept a Hunter Mason pass in overtime. The interception, White’s fourth of the season, sealed the outcome for the Yellow Jackets. A month ago, it was White’s hustle play that stripped Pittsburgh running back James Conner from a certain touchdown that changed the momentum of that game and helped start Georgia Tech on its current five-game winning streak.