ATLANTA – Tyler Simmons inched towards the line, ready to run towards the punter. The ball was snapped, just as Simmons was darting towards the punt. He blocked it. Simmons and Georgia celebrated, ready to take a commanding lead over Alabama in the national championship.
But there was a problem. A yellow flag was on the field. Simmons was ruled offsides.
What happens if Simmons’ punt block stands?
“I felt like it could have been a big momentum changer,” Simmons said. “A great changer, putting us inside the 20, late in the game. That’s easy points on the board. But that’s a play left on the field.”
Of course, there were plenty of other game-changing plays, even before the final, heartbreaking one for Georgia in overtime. The Bulldogs did take a 20-7 lead later in the third quarter, only to not be able to hold on.
Simmons, for his part, initially said he “mistimed” his run at the punt. He blamed himself prior to seeing the replay. He was clearly frustrated. A sophomore receiver, Simmons had just three catches this season, and sought to make an impact on special teams.
For a few moments, he did.
“I knew it was close coming off the ball,” he said. “I’ve just got to take advantage and stuff like that. I get very few opportunities and I’ve got to take advantage.”