Terry Godwin was supposed to fall to the turf if he recovered South Carolina’s desperation onside kick with 1:40 left to play.
But how could Godwin fall down when a hole as giant as it was opened up in front of his eyes?
His instincts took over as Godwin ran untouched 43 yards, through a wide-open lane, for his first touchdown of the season.
“You really could’ve walked into the end zone from where I was with how big it was,” Godwin said.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Telegraph
The score put the game away, with Georgia defeating South Carolina 28-14.
Afterward, however, Godwin conceded that he was told to take a knee or give himself up if he got the ball on the onside kick.
“That was my first intention when I lined up. I saw it and I was like he’s going to kick it my way. Just field it, secure it, get down,” Godwin said. “But once I fielded it and looked up, there was nothing but green grass. As a football player, you have to go try to score.”
Head coach Kirby Smart didn’t have as rosy of an outlook about the play, even though turned out to be a game-sealing touchdown.
While the play worked, Smart noted that plenty of bad could have come from it. For instance, he could have been hit from behind and fumbled, giving South Carolina the ball instead of kneeling out the game.
“Did you see the Tennessee-Texas A&M game? He runs down and gets it punched out,” Smart said, referring to a game-changing play that helped the Volunteers come back against the Aggies before losing in overtime Saturday. “It worked, so what does everyone base it on? Results. But I would suggest for him to get down, which is what I coached him to do.”
Smart was then asked if he told Godwin how he felt about the play.
“He wouldn’t hear me,” Smart said, tongue-in-cheek. “But there is a valuable lesson to learn from that.”