I find that compiling mental lists of things often makes the drive back from Athens go faster, so on Sunday I was pondering what I see as the greatest Bulldog wins of the past eight seasons, a time that has seen Georgia win two SEC championships, three SEC East division titles and compile an 82-22 record under Mark Richt. Then I ran it by some of my family to see what they thought.
1. The 2001 “hobnail boot” win over Tennessee in Knoxville with the late “P-44-Haynes” touchdown pass from David Greene to Verron Haynes. My brother Tim picks this as the greatest win of the Richt era because, he said, “That was a tough place to win for a freshman quarterback.”
2. The 2002 win over Alabama when the Dogs proved to Pat Dye and everyone else that they were “man enough” to beat the Tide, thanks to a cool Billy Bennett’s winning field goal.
3. The 2002 SEC East-clinching win over Auburn with Greene’s fourth-and-19 “70-X-Takeoff” pass to a leaping Michael Johnson in the end zone. My son picks this as the greatest of the Richt era wins because it led to Georgia’s first SEC title in 20 years.
4. Also from 2002, the 51-7 complete butt-kicking of Tech, the most dominating win of Richt’s seven in a row over the Jackets and a very enjoyable day in Sanford Stadium.
5. The 2004 game in Athens against LSU and Nick Saban, won by the Dawgs 45-16 as Greene threw five TD passes.
6. The 34-14 win over a favored, No. 3-ranked LSU in the 2005 SEC Championship game, with D.J. Shockley quickly throwing two touchdown passes to Sean Bailey right in front of me to send the Bengal Tigers reeling.
7. The 37-15 upset win over No. 5-ranked Auburn in 2006, especially since it came after Georgia had lost four of its previous five games and Auburn was a two touchdown favorite. Tigers QB Brandon Cox spent much of the game flat on his back with a Bulldog on top of him.
8. The 26-23 “one and done” win in Tuscaloosa over Alabama and Nick Saban in 2007, as Matthew Stafford threw a beautiful 25-yard pass to Mikey Henderson on Georgia’s first play in OT.
9. The 42-30 “celebration” win over Florida in Jacksonville, easily the best game Knowshon Moreno played in a Georgia uniform as he racked up 188 yards and three touchdowns. Plus there was that magnificent 84-yard MoMass catch and run for a TD.
10. The 45-20 “Blackout” win over Auburn in Athens, with the Dogs scoring 28 unanswered points after the Tigers had taken a 20-17 lead. Many consider this the best game in Sanford Stadium in many years and my brother Jon thinks this is the greatest win under Richt.
Looking back over the list, I think I’ll agree with my son and pick the 2002 Auburn game because it led to a conference title. My close runner-up would be the 2005 victory over LSU in the Georgia Dome, one of the greatest games I’ve attended. I give the edge to the 2002 game because of the exciting way in which the Dogs won.
What do you think? That’s our Question of the Day. Feel free to comment (naming another game if there’s one you like better that wasn’t mentioned), vote in the poll or do both.