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BOWLS '85-86 : Sun : Georgia, Arizona Tie When Late Kicks Fail

December 29, 1985|From Times Wire Services

EL PASO, Tex. — For the second year in a row, Georgia got a tie for Christmas. They weren't the same.

Last year's 17-17 tie with Florida State in the Florida Citrus Bowl came three days before Christmas. Georgia's Kevin Butler barely missed a mammoth 70-yard field goal attempt on the final play.

On Saturday, three days after Christmas, the Bulldogs settled for a 13-13 deadlock with Arizona in the Sun Bowl as both teams missed field-goal tries in the final 69 seconds.

"I feel a little different this year than I did last season," Georgia Coach Vince Dooley said. "Last year, I felt we should have won the game. This year, I'm more proud of the team for hanging in there and fighting hard throughout the game. On the other hand, if (Arizona's Max) Zendejas had made that field goal, I might be feeling a little bit different right now."

Georgia's Davis Jacobs was wide left on a 44-yard attempt with 1:09 remaining, and Zendejas, the third-leading field goal kicker in NCAA history who had connected from 22 and 52 yards earlier, sent a 39-yard attempt wide to the right with four seconds left.

The misses came after Georgia erased a 13-3 deficit in the first 5:34 of the fourth quarter on a 45-yard field goal by Jacobs and Lars Tate's two-yard leap with 9:26 left.

Georgia's comeback, plus Zendejas' miss, denied Arizona what would have been its first victory in five bowl games.

"I was thinking of the many times that he had been in this type of clutch situation and how many times he'd come through," Dooley said of Zendejas. "I was also thinking, 'Well, maybe he's due for a miss.' "

Arizona Coach Larry Smith said: "Max had a great four years here (79 for 107 in field goals, 123 for 125 extra points). I told him. 'You're a great kicker and you're going to be a great pro. Just don't let one kick ruin you.' "

Smith called Arizona's first bowl trip in six years "a great football game. It was fun. The two teams were about as evenly matched as you can get. I think this was another major step for our football program. We gave them everything they could have asked for except a win."

Tate's touchdown, followed by Jacobs' conversion, came on fourth and one and capped a seven-play scoring drive after Georgia roverback John Little forced a fumble by tailback James DeBow and safety Tony Flack recovered at the Wildcats' 23.

Jacobs' 45-yard field pulled Georgia within 13-6 at 1:53 of the final period. Steve Crumley, whose 38-yard field goal gave Georgia a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter, was set to attempt a 40-yarder, but the Bulldogs were penalized for illegal procedure.

Jacobs, Georgia's long-range kicker, took over and hit the field goal.

Arizona built its lead on the two field goals by Zendejas and nickel back Martin Rudolph's 35-yard return of an intercepted pass.

The tie gave Arizona an 8-3-1 record and prevented the Wildcats from matching the school single-season record of nine victories set in 1974 and equaled in 1975. Georgia finished at 7-3-2.

A record crowd of 52,203 packed the stadium for the 52nd annual Sun Bowl. The temperature was 54 degrees at the kickoff.

Georgia took advantage of a 15-yard face-mask penalty and moved from its 37 to the Arizona 28 before Jacobs' missed field goal.

Arizona covered 50 yards in 65 seconds, including a darting 25-yard run by tailback David Adams on fourth and two that gave the Wildcats a first down at the Georgia 39.

Alfred Jenkins threw a 12-yard pass to flanker Jeff Fairholm, Adams picked up five yards and Arizona called time out with 10 seconds left to set up what everyone assumed would be a game-winning 39-yard kick by Zendejas.

Despite the miss, Zendejas was named the game's most valuable player. Pete Anderson, Georgia's All-American center, was voted the most valuable lineman.

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