Kirby Smart led his No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs to a thrilling comeback over No. 4 Ohio State in the 2022 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

There were several turning points in this matchup, but the biggest was when Ryan Day decided to go for a fake punt on 4th-and-1 on the Buckeyes’ 34-yard line. That play was run successfully for Ohio State, but Smart called timeout just before the snap to stop the potential game-changer.

That timeout would force Day to call for a regular punt to put Georgia on its 24-yard line. One play later, Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett found a wide-open Arian Smith for a 76-yard touchdown. This would lower the Buckeyes’ lead to 38-35.

After the game, Smart talked about calling that key timeout to stop Ohio State from creating a potential game-sealing drive:

“They just were not in their traditional formation. A lot of teams carry that speed break,” Smart said after the Peach Bowl. “They come up the line quick. Everybody’s lined up tight. And we’ve seen it in the SEC. A lot of teams carry it, and you try to practice it, but it’s another thing when they actually do it and execute it.

“So it was one of those gut reactions that I didn’t think that we had it lined up properly to stop it, so we called timeout.”

Smart was also asked if he saw the formation himself or if he was alerted to the formation by an assistant coach or from Georgia’s coaching booth:

“For me, I saw them lined up, and there’s a line that’s a special teams line, but I was on the defensive line because we had just come off of a defensive stop,” Smart continued. “So saw the formation, and apparently they were saying something on special teams line, but I wasn’t on that line. I was on the defensive line and was prepared to call a timeout, which I don’t like doing because it costs you possessions when you do that. You’ve got to be prepared and not burn them.”

Regardless of how it came about, Smart called the timeout, and it was ultimately a major turning point in the game.

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