Pushed to the verge of an upset at home, Utah's gymnastics team not only showed why it is the top-ranked team in the country, but also why it is the best team on the floor event, too.
Trailing Georgia by 1/10th going into the final event, the Utes delivered a season-high 49.5 on the floor to overtake No. 4 Georgia 197.15-196.95 in front of 14,926 at the Huntsman Center.
The meet lived up to expectations that it would come down to the last few routines, as the Utes didn't clinch it until senior Stephanie McAllister scored a 9.95 on the floor as the final Utah competitor.
Corrie Lothrop, who also scored a 9.95 on the floor, won the all-around with a 39.475. In addition to tying McAllister for top honors on the floor, Lothrop tied Georgia's Shayla Worley for the balance beam win with a 9.9.
The Utes needed every bit of those high scores to edge their biggest rival in a competition that could provide a hint of what April's NCAA Championships will be like.
Certainly both teams looked like national contenders as they traded one high score after another in one of the most pressure-filled meets the Utes have had in recent seasons.
"I don't remember the last time the Huntsman Center was like that," McAllister said. "I can't describe how much the fans were into it. It made it that much easier to be in the game when we felt that atmosphere."
The Utes had to come from behind after they scored a 49.175 on the balance beam. While it was a decent score, the small bobbles and mistakes they had were enough to let Georgia, which totaled a 49.3 on floor, take the lead going into the last event.
Georgia didn't crumble under pressure on the beam, scoring 9.8 or higher on all but one routine. The Gym Dogs' consistency kept the pressure on the Utes.
Much to coach Greg Marsden's satisfaction, the Utes responded well as the low score the Utes counted on floor was a 9.85 from leadoff gymnast Becky Tutka.
The big scores came at the end when Kyndal Robarts and Georgia Dabritz both earned 9.875 and Lothrop had a 9.95.
After Lothrop went, McAllister said she knew she was in a perfect situation for a high mark, as long as she could deliver.
"Corrie had a great floor tonight, and I just did what I could do," she said.
Her 9.95 was enough to get the win, the third in a row for the Utes over Georgia.
"We expected it would go to the last routine or two, and it was back and forth all night," Marsden said. "The judging was tight, and they weren't giving away any scores tonight. I was proud they kept their composure and did what we talked about doing."
Georgia coach Jay Clark gave the Utes credit, along with the crowd.
"It was an unbelievable environment and they did a great job, a better job than we did," he said. "We still have some growing to do and learning how to fight through meets, but they did a great job tonight."
R In short • The Utah Utes use a season high on the floor to beat Georgia for the third straight meet.
Key moment • Corrie Lothrop and Stephanie McAllister both score 9.95 on the floor to seal the win.
Key stat • The Utes are the only team in the country to break the 197 mark for three meets in a row.
Vault • Georgia Dabritz (Utah) 9.925
Uneven bars • Kat Ding (Georgia) 9.925
Balance beam • Corrie Lothrop (Utah) and Shayla Worley (Georgia) 9.9
Floor • Corrie Lothrop (Utah) and Stephanie McAllister (Utah) 9.95
All-Around • Corrie Lothrop (Utah) 39.475