ATHENS — Lorenzo Carter didn’t hesitate.
He spied the ball on the green turf, so he scooped it up.
When he looked around, only his teammates and the end zone were in front of him.
Carter’s 24-yard, third-quarter fumble return provided a momentary spark, and ultimately, the winning score in Georgia’s 26-24 victory over Nicholls State on Saturday.
“I was trying to get an interception, but it just rolled to me, so I guess I had to run it in,” Carter said. “That was it. I was just happy to get points on the board.”
Carter and Georgia were the beneficiaries of defensive back’s Aaron Davis blindside blitz.
Nicholls State faced a second-and-9 from its 20 when Davis flew untouched into the backfield. He hit Nicholls State quarterback Devin Powell square in the back, just as he raised his hand to throw.
The ball flew from his grasp and landed near Carter, who had been in coverage near the sideline. All he had to do was pick it up and follow his convoy to the end zone.
“It always feels great to make a play for my team,” Davis said. “We have guys all over the place, a lot of capable guys who could’ve made that same play. I wouldn’t be in position to make that play if it wasn’t for my teammates and the job they do.”
The only question was if Powell’s arm was going forward when he was hit, which would have resulted in an incomplete pass. But the officials stuck with their original fumble-and-touchdown call after the review.
It was Carter’s first collegiate score — “special,” as he called it — and appeared at the time to be the spark to help put away Nicholls State.
The score gave the Bulldogs a 26-14 lead with 4:50 left in the third quarter.
“It’s always fun to celebrate with your teammates,” Davis said.