New book looks back on “Belue to Scott!” Has it really been 30 years?

It was 30 years ago this month–yes you read that right–that Georgia’s football team began preparations for a season full of magic, surprises, and ultimately triumph as the Bulldogs went 12-0 and won the national championship.

In an unforgettable season filled with highlights thanks to the efforts of freshman running back Herschel Walker and so many others, one play will live forever: Buck Belue’s short third-down pass that Lindsay Scott turned into a 93-yard touchdown to give Georgia a stunning 26-21 win over Florida in Jacksonville.

It is, without question, the single most significant play in the history of Georgia football. That’s because the victory, thanks to an assist from Georgia Tech (which tied No. 1 Notre Dame 3-3 in Atlanta), moved Georgia into the No. 1 ranking in the next round of polls. Georgia would never leave that position as it closed out the season with wins over Auburn, Georgia Tech, and ultimately Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

Macon author Robbie Burns celebrates the 30th anniversary of the play with his new book “Belue to Scott! The greatest moment in Georgia football history.” The book is set to be on the shelves in early September.

Burns, a former public relations director at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, used contacts developed over a decade to interview over 50 people with some connection to the game. In the process he gives it a fresh outlook while uncovering some different angles to the game and to that play.

“This has really been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done,” said Burns, a graduate of Mercer. “I thought I knew a lot about the  1980 Georgia-Florida game when I started. But I learned so much.”

Burns interviewed a bunch of the Georgia people who played and coached in the game: Scott, Coach Vince Dooley, wide receivers coach Charlie Whittemore, captain Frank Ros,  Jeff Harper and UGA owner Sonny Seiler, just to name a few. But he also took great pains to get the Florida side of this story. The agony that Florida felt by letting that game slip away has been an under reported part of the story–until now. For example: Did you know that NFL analyst Cris Collinsworth played in the game and caught a nine-yard touchdown pass?

“I have a lot more respect for those guys from Florida  now because they were willing to talk about a game and a play that still troubles them a lot,” said Burns.

Burns talked to Mike Shanahan, who you know best as the former coach of the Denver Broncos and the current head coach of the Washington Redskins. But back in 1980 Shanahan was the offensive coordinator at Florida and had installed one of the first versions of the run and shoot offense with Wayne Peace at quarterback.

He spoke to Joe Delaney, the back judge in the game whose job it was to run with Scott down the Georgia sideline and signal the winning touchdown. He talked to Bobby Gaston, the lead SEC official, whose job it was to explain to Dooley why there was going to be an excessive celebration penalty after the historic play. Of course the mob scene that descended on Lindsay Scott in the end zone ranks with the biggest on-field celebrations of all time. If you’re a Georgia fan it was certainly worth a 15-yard penalty. 

But Dooley, of course, was worried about the penalty giving Florida field position on the ensuing kickoff because there was still 1:03 left.

Gaston, who went on to become the SEC supervisor of officials, told me that after the touchdown the conversation with Dooley went something like this:

Dooley: What’s the penalty, Bobby?

Gaston: That’s going to be 15 yards, coach.

Dooley: Seems harsh.

Gaston: Yes sir.

Burns charts the flow of the game in Jacksonville but at the same time he keeps going back to the Georgia Tech-Notre Dame game in Atlanta, which played such a huge role in the events of the day. Georgia Tech’s 3-3 tie with No. 1 Notre Dame knocked the Irish out of the top spot and opened the door for the Bulldogs.

“It is one of the great historical ironies that Georgia got Georgia Tech’s help that day,” said Burns. “So as we’re telling the story in Jacksonville, every now and then we just pause  and inject a segment we call ”Meanwhile, back in Atlanta.” People forget that the week before the Georgia-Florida game, Georgia Tech had lost at Duke (17-12). Nobody gave Georgia Tech a chance against Notre Dame.”

Burns is especially proud of the fact that he was able to get a host of pictures from the game that have never been published.

“We have the 4 or 5 pictures that everybody has seen,” said Burns. “But 90 percent of the photos only a few people have ever seen.”

It’s a quick, fun read of 128 pages with a lot of memories on each page. And if that is not enough, Burns was able to convince Larry Munson, who called this Georgia-Florida game and 41 others, to write the Foreword to the book. Munson’s immortal call of the play, where he screams “Run Lindsay!” ranks among the greatest radio calls of all time. And Munson tops off the emotion of the moment, which was considerable, by saying what was on the minds of every Georgia fan at the game: “Man, is there gonna be some property destroyed tonight!”

“I couldn’t imagine anyone else writing the foreword,” said Burns. “Larry’s call captured the feeling of that moment better than any story ever could.”

Burns’ publisher, H&H Publishing Company, is now taking pre-orders for the book at:

www.beluetoscott.com

If you want to contact Burns directly about the book he can be reached at:

rdburns00@aol.com or at (478) 737-6011.

I only have one question: Where did those 30 years go?

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

279 comments Add your comment

rduck

August 12th, 2010
8:03 am

Get off the SEC book bandwagon Tony and talk about today’s football!

Atlanta Jackets

August 12th, 2010
8:03 am

First! Stuff mutts!! LOL!

rduck

August 12th, 2010
8:04 am

Oh, and 1st… suckas

Dink

August 12th, 2010
8:05 am

Great read and great memories from that game Tony, thanks!

Go Dawgs!

Chipper Jones would've graduated magna cum laude had he chosen to matriculate at Florida

August 12th, 2010
8:06 am

It’ll be interesting to get the Florida players’ perspective; otherwise, this story’s been told and told.

Alex

August 12th, 2010
8:14 am

Yes it has. But you wouldn’t know it with the way you uga morons act. You’d think you had done something recently. Like my gators.
18/21 coming.

Greg

August 12th, 2010
8:16 am

What a waste of time. And you call yourself mr college football. I call you mr ga bulldog who masquerades as some college football guy. Blowhard.

guy

August 12th, 2010
8:19 am

remember that time you guys had herschel walker and won a title?
awesome.

most football programs: book on history of program and all its accomplishments
uga: book about one game and one stroke of luck that led to one title.

Alex

August 12th, 2010
8:20 am

I forgot though, my gators have never even had a perfect season. I forgot we’re just a bunch of johnny-come-latelys who have only been relevant for maybe 20 years.

Go Gator!

guy

August 12th, 2010
8:21 am

id rather be relevant for the past 20 years than for one year. thirty years ago.

jumbeauxtiger

August 12th, 2010
8:24 am

Every champion has some luck along the way.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Toe Meets Leather

August 12th, 2010
8:25 am

Only 128 pages and lots of pictures – appropriate for the University (sic) of GAGA.

“Run Lindsay!” « Get The Picture

August 12th, 2010
8:28 am

[...] Jump to Comments Any book that delves into Gator pain is going to be worth a [...]

Carolina Dawg

August 12th, 2010
8:29 am

UGA is the school. Uga is the dog. Sony Seiler owns the dog, not the school. Tony, you should know the difference by now!

lucky21

August 12th, 2010
8:30 am

UGA owes Tech it national title thats hilarious

Call IT

August 12th, 2010
8:30 am

Who cares about 30 years ago since that is the last time that lack luster progam has done anything?

Always over-rated and always given too much street cred.

Gators are the elite program in the East!

Enough Said!

Unfortunately

August 12th, 2010
8:30 am

Enter your comments here

jyy

August 12th, 2010
8:32 am

I hope he did not leave out the story about Belue’s mom leaving the game and was under the stands when the play happened….Well, I guess she has seen the play since.

3 decades

August 12th, 2010
8:33 am

Georgia has not gone undefeated in Thirty Years.

If Bama and Boise State can do it,
……… why not the Dawgs ?

Paul H

August 12th, 2010
8:33 am

Oh look it’s the Tech maggots and their bitterness of getting owned by UGA for 2 decades all over the blogs again. How normal.

Paul H

August 12th, 2010
8:34 am

Oh I almost forgot: 30-24

hammerhead

August 12th, 2010
8:35 am

Ten of the first 12 comments from non-uga posters. Wow. Why are our rivals so obsessed with us?

Athens, Georgia

August 12th, 2010
8:35 am

————————–
Nesbitt for Heisman
————————–

lucky21

August 12th, 2010
8:36 am

although GT really does just love to screw over notre dame

guy

August 12th, 2010
8:36 am

oh look its the [dawg rednecks] and their bitterness of getting owned by [florida] for 2 decades all over the blogs again. how normal.

Paul H

August 12th, 2010
8:36 am

It’s also obvious that the Florida fans are still bitter – aided by the fact that their program has peaked now that Tebow is gone and Urban Cryer is quickly losing his mind.

guy

August 12th, 2010
8:37 am

oh almost forgot: 41-17

Dandy Don

August 12th, 2010
8:37 am

I remember where I was in this game. I was in the USAF and assigned to Patrick AFB, Fla. Needless to say I was watching the game and being “ragged” pretty hard by my friends. When that play happened I screamed while I ran up and down the dorm halls. My friends, locked their doors while the celebration continued… AW fond memories of days gone by.

P.S. There was no damaged property, but WOW what a hang-over GO DAWGS

Paul H

August 12th, 2010
8:38 am

Hammerhead, there are some fans who obsess more about UGA than their own teams. Just ask any Tech fan and most Florida fans (like “guy”)

Mikey in SAV

August 12th, 2010
8:38 am

Oh my goodness. when I read the title of Tony’s blog today I cringed.
He just brought his gas can to the fire…
Let the gates open and the UGA haters have their day.
See you all tomorrow.

Paul H

August 12th, 2010
8:39 am

Hey “guy,” how many pairs of jean shorts do you have in store for this season? Don’t forget to trim your mullet at the beginnin of the season. That way by the end it’s got that nice “flowing” look.

Dooley the Vol

August 12th, 2010
8:39 am

ahhhh. the UGA glory days. When do we stop reliving a NC from 30 yrs ago?

Paul H

August 12th, 2010
8:40 am

Oh I almost forgot: 47-39-2. Do you know what that is guy?

guy

August 12th, 2010
8:41 am

paul: its the mr college football blog. on the ajc. in atlanta. a city of 4ish million people from all over who may happen to be fans of programs other than uga. get over it. this isnt the bill king ‘blawg’ [sic]. it’s a college football blog, and this topic happens to be about uga and that one time 30 years ago when they won a national title.

David

August 12th, 2010
8:41 am

UGA’s one championship is cute. Gators will have a 4th shortly.

Lane Kiffin

August 12th, 2010
8:41 am

Take away H Walker, the Lindsay Scott play, and uga has nothing to talk about as a football program.

guy

August 12th, 2010
8:45 am

paul. feel free to keep throwing the overall record out there. that string of victories back in the 1910s and 20s must feel pretty sweet. florida owns it since ww2, and i can tell you personally that the record over the past 30ish years ive been alive feels pretty sweet. but have fun with that overall record if that’s all you have.

Larry

August 12th, 2010
8:46 am

A helpful author would have included a link of the play to punctuate the impetus of his story!

Here, please allow me to help!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOhWVvsrq5k

I know Sonny Seiler has a lot of money...

August 12th, 2010
8:50 am

…but I seriously doubt he has enough money to “own” UGA – another great example of how much, or how little, Tony knows about writing or UGA. “UGA” is the university; “Uga” is the dog.

Psychologist

August 12th, 2010
8:51 am

I can understand Tech fans getting in some good-natured shots at the Dogs, but what is up with the Gator fans obsession with UGA? I cannot imagine many Georgia fans going on Gator sites in Florida like this.
Its one thing to discuss the topic of the blog, but I sense some big time insecurity among the above mentioned Florida fans that constantly show up on here- my professional psychological opinion is that being relative newcomers to the college elite, they fear a revitalized UGA will knock them from their lofty perch. No charge for the psych analysis. Hope this has been helpful to those harboring doubts and fears.

FlaDawg

August 12th, 2010
8:52 am

HOw old do I feel? It seems like only yesterday. Thanks for the memories!

Lou

August 12th, 2010
8:53 am

Georgia Tech’s victory over Notre Dame was helpful on that day…but it had nothing to do with deciding the ultimate national champion. It simply made Georgia number one the final few weeks of the season and going into the Sugar Bowl. Had Tech lost to Notre Dame, the Irish would have been number one going into the Sugar Bowl and Georgia number two. The rankings going INTO that game didn’t matter. It was the ranking coming OUT of the Sugar Bowl that mattered. The Dogs beat the Irish head to head for the national title. Tech’s win over them in late November was nice. It moved Georgia to number one the same weekend as the magical Belue to Scott play..but with or without Tech’s help that day, the Dogs still win the national title because they beat the Irish January 1.

Paul H

August 12th, 2010
8:53 am

Guy: You’re right. It is a college football blog about a game from 30 years ago. So don’t lead off talking some junk (like all the Tech nerds) and then come back with a lecture about what the intent of the column was. You sound like a Tech fan, and believe me that’s not what you want to sound like.

Paul H

August 12th, 2010
8:55 am

What do Tech fans and UGA fans (and some Fla fans apparently) all have in common? They all obsess over UGA a WHOLE lot more than that nerd school on North Ave.

How2fish

August 12th, 2010
8:56 am

lucky21 hey you tied the Irish that year and then UGA stomped a mudhole in your Azzes, funny after 30 years how somethings remain the same…..lmao.

NameRequired

August 12th, 2010
8:57 am

Ah – I remember those years in Sanford Stadium, the scent of Seagrams 7 heavy in the air Between The Hedges. Now everyone sing (to the tune of “I Feel Like Busting Loose”) “I feel like Buck Belue, Buck Belue, give me the ball, y’all”.

guy

August 12th, 2010
8:57 am

my original comment was about the topic at hand. and how long it’s been since uga won a title.

Why does everyone say Tech's tie with ND...

August 12th, 2010
8:57 am

…paved the way? If ND had won that game they still would have played UGA in the MNC so the Tech tie had nothing to do with the overall scheme of things. A 2nd ranked UGA would have played #1 ranked ND, vs a #1 ranked UGA playing a #2 ranked ND…

Mike

August 12th, 2010
9:01 am

That 1980 UGa team along with the 1984 BYU and 1998 Tennessee teams are the three worst National Title teams of the last 50 years. UGa was basically handed the title in the Sugar Bowl by ND who outgained the Bulldogs in yards by a staggering 3 to 1 margin, missed 4 FGs, fumbled twice inside it’s redzone setting up both UGa TDs (one inside the 3) and still only lost by 7 points.

NESBITT ............ for ......... HEISMAN

August 12th, 2010
9:01 am

.
… Go Georgia Tech
.