College kickers, man.
South Carolina scored a monumental, ugly win over No. 3 Georgia on Saturday thanks to that most mercurial of positions, though the Gamecocks didn’t make it particularly easy on themselves, either.
Let’s start near the end of the fourth quarter, where South Carolina found itself tied 17-17 with 40 seconds remaining and facing fourth-and-3 at the Georgia 40. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp opted to send kicker Parker White to attempt the 57-yard field goal attempt instead of going for it — a curious decision, considering he’d hit a career-high 49-yarder earlier in the game.
The result was expectedly bad, with the ball sailing so far right the camera had to pan to keep up with it. Luckily for White, his defense held to send the game to overtime. (Curiously, Georgia coach Kirby Smart went opposite of Muschamp, attempting a Hail Mary at the 43 instead of allowing Rodrigo Blankenship to attempt a 60-yard field goal).
Once in overtime, South Carolina defensive back Israel Mukuamu scored his third interception of the game on Jake Fromm to give his team the ball with a chance to end it.
So, onto the second overtime we go. There, Parker finally made good on his field goal attempt, hitting the go-ahead score from 24 yards out. It should be noted, however, that he only had it from that distance after Muschamp elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 from Georgia’s 16.
Three straight Georgia incompletions later, and on came Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship to send the game to a third overtime period. He was 1 for 2 on the day at that point, but had a 50-yarder. All he had to do was hit it to extend the game.
And with that, one of the dumbest, ugliest, most exciting games we’ve seen in recent memory was concluded. How could such a game come to be?
Two words: College. Kickers.
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