Virginia Bowl Games
December 30, 1995‹Atlanta, Ga.
Virginia 34, Georgia 27
Over 20,000 deliriously happy Virginia fans rocked Atlanta¹s Georgia Dome as Demetrius ³Pete² Allen returned a kickoff 83 yards for the game-winning touchdown with 57 seconds remaining in UVa¹s 34-27 victory over Georgia in the 1995 Peach Bowl.
³I had said all season that I was going to return [a kickoff] for a touchdown,² said an elated Allen afterwards. ³But, at that moment, I wasn¹t even thinking about what I had said. All I could see was the goal line.² Allen¹s kickoff return was the longest in Peach Bowl history.
Virginia finished the 1995 season with a 9-4 record, clinching its second consecutive nine-win season and the fourth season of nine or more wins in school history. The Cavaliers were ranked 16th in the final Associated Press media poll and 17th in the final USA Today/CNN coaches¹ poll.
The Cavaliers¹ dramatic Peach Bowl victory was a fitting finale to one of the most suspenseful seasons in UVa football history. Virginia played seven games during the 1995 regular season that were decided in the final moments, including three which were decided on the last play.
³I guess it only figures that this game would end like this,² said tailback Tiki Barber, who was named the Offensive Player of the Game after rushing for 103 yards and a touchdown. ³This is awesome.²
Only seconds before Allen¹s spectacular return, the Bulldogs were the ones celebrating when Georgia defensive tackle Jason Ferguson picked up a Cavalier fumble behind the line of scrimmage and ran 10 yards for the game-tying touchdown. Georgia was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct following the touchdown, forcing the Bulldogs to kick off from their own 20-yard line instead of the 35.
Although UVa never trailed in the game, the Bulldogs outgained the Cavaliers 525 yards to 256 yards in total offense. UVa managed to capitalize on big plays from its defense and special teams, however, to take a commanding 14-0 first quarter lead. Linebacker Skeet Jones‹named the Defensive Player of the Game‹set up UVa¹s first scoring drive by intercepting a pass and returning it 28 yards to the Bulldog seven-yard line. Barber scored three plays later on a one-yard run.
Virginia began its second scoring drive from the Georgia 14-yard line after linebacker James Farrior blocked a punt which was recovered by Josh Nowocin. Tailback Kevin Brooks rushed five yards for a touchdown three plays later.
Virginia led 24-14 at halftime following a Georgia touchdown with 19 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
In addition to his late-game heroics, Allen caught an 82-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Groh to give Virginia its biggest lead, 24-6, late in the second quarter. Allen led the Cavaliers in receiving with five catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Groh completed 10 of 20 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown with one interception.
Place-kicker Rafael Garcia kicked two 36-yard field goals to round out the Virginia scoring. Punter Will Brice also did his part, averaging 42 yards on seven punts, including a 58-yarder.
Farrior led the Cavalier defense with 14 tackles, followed by Jones with 11 and linebacker Jamie Sharper with 10. Safety Percy Ellsworth was in on six tackles. He also had a pass interception and broke up two passes.
Georgia 3 11 3 10‹27
Virginia 14 10 3 7‹34
UVa‹Tiki Barber 1 run (Rafael Garcia kick)
UVa‹Kevin Brooks 5 run (Garcia kick)
UGa‹Kanon Parkman 36 FG
UGa‹ Parkman 37 FG
UVa‹ Garcia 36 FG
UVa‹Demetrius Allen 82 pass from Mike Groh (Garcia kick)
UGa‹Hines Ward 1 run (Brice Hunter pass from Ward)
UGa‹Parkman 20 FG
UVa‹ Garcia 36 FG
UGa‹ Parkman 42 FG
UGa‹Jason Ferguson 10 fumble return (Parkman kick)
UVa‹Allen 83 kickoff return (Garcia kick)