ATLANTA — Coach Vince Dooley of 14th-ranked Georgia sounded like a man who had just lost, rather than one who had gained his 191st coaching victory.
"They dominated the game," Dooley said Saturday night after the Bulldogs struggled to a 30-16 victory over Georgia Tech. "They totally outplayed us."
The Bulldogs, 18-point favorites, didn't put the game on ice until freshman Rodney Hampton ended the scoring on a 33-yard run with 7:22 remaining.
Lars Tate had put the Bulldogs in control with scoring runs of 4 and 34 yards as he broke the 3,000-yard mark in career rushing in his final regular-season appearance.
Tate's 34-yard score came in the first two minutes of the second half to give Georgia a 23-9 lead.
"They had to stop us and they couldn't do it," Tate said. "I never thought we were ever in danger of losing. They started to give in the fourth, and we knew we had them."
Tech Coach Bobby Ross said: "Overall, we played well. We got close, but we just didn't make that one big play."
Georgia, bound for a Liberty Bowl date with Arkansas, closed the regular season at 8-3.
It was the sixth loss in a row for the Yellow Jackets (2-9), who didn't have a victory against a Division I-A opponent in Bobby Ross' first season as coach.
Georgia quarterback James Jackson completed his first 8 passes and finished with 9 of 11, including a 7-yard scoring pass to Troy Sadowski.
Tech took a 3-0 lead on Thomas Palmer's 25-yard field goal in the first quarter and led, 9-7, when Darrell Gast completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Steve Davenport in the second.
A personal foul by Tech on the ensuing kickoff helped Georgia drive 51 yards to build a 15-9 halftime lead. The key play was Jackson's 28-yard pass to John Thomas at the Tech 21, setting up Jackson's 7-yard scoring toss to Sadowski.
The Bulldogs needed only three plays to score after the second-half kickoff. Jackson passed to Tate for 20 yards, and Tate ran 11 yards and then ran 34 for the score.
The Yellow Jackets cut Georgia's lead to 23-16 midway through the third quarter on Malcolm King's 11-yard scoring run.
Hampton then iced it for Georgia by gaining 60 yards on 3 carries--getting 24 and 3 yards before his 33-yard scoring run.
Tate finished with 99 yards in 20 carries, giving him 3,017 yards in his career and making him only the 11th runner in Southeastern Conference history to gain at least 3,000 in a career. He finished the season with 1,016 yards.
Hampton had 94 yards in 10 carries for the Bulldogs.