That first time at Sanford Stadium

My brothers used to tease me about the way I could remember details of our childhood in Athens. “What grade were you in? Who was your teacher?” they’d jokingly ask when I’d mention something from when we were growing up. And I could usually tell them.

But while I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t aware of the Georgia Bulldogs, for some reason I’m not exactly sure when I attended my first game at Sanford Stadium.

In contrast to the fuzzy memories I have of my first game, my son recalls exactly when he and his sister first got to go with me to see the Dogs play. For young Bill, it was the 1991 game against Cal State Fullerton, when he was 6 years old, and for Olivia it was the Louisiana-Monroe game in 2005, when she was 11. Their mom is pretty sure she didn’t attend a game until she was a UGA freshman.

I have the vaguest recollection of being taken to a game when I was very young, but I don’t know when it might have been. The sounds of the band are about all I recall.

How old were you when you first attended a UGA football game?

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I don’t think I got to go to a game while Athens’ own Fran Tarkenton was the quarterback, but I’m not sure. The first one I can really remember was in 1963 when Larry Rakestraw was the senior starter at quarterback. I had just turned 11. I seem to recall sophomore backup Preston Ridlehuber getting to play some late in the game. I think it most likely was the game against Vandy, a 20-0 Bulldog win. This was before the stadium was double-decked and I remember we sat in the North stands and that the silver helmets that the Bulldogs wore glinted in the afternoon sun.

I went to a few games, not all, in 1964, Dooley’s first year, and then started a 15-year run of not missing a home game with the 1965 opener against Alabama, the famed flea-flicker game. I think my middle brother Jon, who was 8 then, was with me and Dad at that game, but he doesn’t remember. The first game he recalls was later that season when he went with some boys from his Cub Scouts den and sat behind the end zone with the Y boys who used to play before the games.

My friend Dan also saw his first game when he was 11. He recalls: “We got faculty season tickets ($5 for a child). Good for all UGA home games, all sports.  It was the year the Coliseum opened because I remember going to the inaugural game there versus Tech. (Georgia won under Red Lawson — playing only five players the whole game.) As for the football game, I think it was Vandy. I do remember Larry Rakestraw was the QB and Johnny Griffith was the head coach. The stadium seated 40,000 and the male students wore ties and the co-eds wore dresses.”

Another friend, Keith, who was a year younger than me, says he remembers more about his first game than the ones he attended in the 1980s and ’90s. It was 1962 against Florida State. “Georgia lost 18-0, probably the only 18-0 game I’ve ever seen. My 9th birthday was about a week later and going to the game was my birthday present. I remember … I got a pennant, the small one, and a button with a bulldog on it with a ribbon and little gold plastic football.”

Rusty, a classmate of mine at David C. Barrow Elementary School near the UGA campus, can’t recall exactly when he attended his first game but he knows he was very young. “My family had season tickets ‘inherited’ from my grandfather, who was a local businessman and one of numerous guarantors of the loan to build the stadium.”

His first distinct memory of a Georgia game “was the Alabama game where we beat them on the flea-flicker from Kirby Moore to Pat Hodgson to Bob Taylor in 1965.” Rusty was one of the kids selling programs (which I started doing the following year) and remembers sitting with friends on top of one of the concession stands on the South side (again, before the upper deck was added) to watch the game. “I didn’t see Taylor until he was in the end zone and the crowd went crazy. We all said ‘What just happened?!’ And, of course, we didn’t know because there was no Jumbotron. All we knew was we were suddenly going for 2 … and the rest is history.”

Johnny, a classmate of mine at old Athens High, recalls, “It was always a treat to attend any game at UGA when a kid.” He thinks he attended a couple of games in 1964, but he doesn’t remember which ones. The game that did stick in his memory, again, was the 1965 opener against Alabama and the flea-flicker. “Most Bama fans still swear that Hodgson’s knees were on the ground before he pitched the ball to Taylor. What I remembered about Kirby Moore was that he would hide the ball on his hip before he would pass.”

Johnny was also among the hundreds of Athenians who turned out at Ben Epps Field a couple of weeks later when Dooley’s Dogs returned from Ann Arbor, “after beating mighty Michigan up there. Now that was sweet.”

And unforgettable.

Feel free to share memories of your first UGA game, vote in the poll or do both.

90 comments Add your comment

Mr. Skynyrd

June 26th, 2009
7:39 am

Homecoming about 10 years ago. Lost to Vandy. Stadium was half empty.

Hammered students puking their guts out.

Woohoo.

Bill

June 26th, 2009
7:39 am

Do they have indoor plumbing in that rat hole of a stadium yet ?

reebok

June 26th, 2009
7:43 am

Tech fan here…cool hearing about your memories…thanks…takes me back to some of my own ‘firsts’ like the first Braves game in old Atlanta Fulton-County Stadium…

Mikey

June 26th, 2009
7:49 am

We were playing Kentucky and a freshman receiver named Fred Gibson was running all over the field catching passes.
I was in awe my first time there.

You mean ...

June 26th, 2009
7:50 am

Enter your comments here

oops...you mean...

June 26th, 2009
7:52 am

…that you remember the first time you had sex was at Sanford Stadium? Too much information!!!!!

Pago Flyer

June 26th, 2009
8:03 am

Fall of 1958

theTruth

June 26th, 2009
8:04 am

Vandy, homecoming, early 90’s. Lost at home in what I belive was Goff’s final year???

GetWhatWeDeserve

June 26th, 2009
8:08 am

1977. It was like a drug. Bought season tickets since then.

m

June 26th, 2009
8:08 am

My first time at sanford and son stadium (aka the cesspool of the south) was in 1984. John Dewberry and Malcom King led Tech to kick the dawgshiite out of them dawgs. All the ugag fans had left by the end of the 3rd quarter. It was a joy.

45-42….just the beginning.

m

June 26th, 2009
8:18 am

gee….i hope that last comment makes all the dawg fans mad. i really need somthing to do. i have reached the last level on my world of warcraft game and my playdate isn’t secheduled until 3pm.

if that dosen’t make them mad, i’ll try something else.

Too Easy

June 26th, 2009
8:21 am

We beat USCe 18-0 a couple of years ago, but it is a weird score. First game in 1959, on a visit during my sister’s sophomore year. Only a couple at Sanford missed since my freshman year in ‘69.

Bill: you must be a tekkie with your knowledge of rathole stadia. m: classy as always.

Cuz

June 26th, 2009
8:25 am

1976 Georgia vs Georgia Tech in Sanford Stadium.
13-10HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Too Easy

June 26th, 2009
8:28 am

Cuz: Allan Leavitt at the end, right? Great ending.

C

June 26th, 2009
8:32 am

Why can tech never fill their stadium with at least 70% tech fans? The white out was hilarious… more Miami fans than those wearing white. Does it pain you that Tech does not have a passionate following like UGA does? Is that why you waste time commenting on the Georgia blog? I will admit ya’ll flat out beat us last year however lets not forget the all time record is 59-37-5 and you have lost 7 of the past 8 games. So, start looking forward now… maybe you could do two for one tickets or free jerseys with season tickets maybe then you could surpass having an average attendance of 47k in a 55k seat stadium. In fact attendance for you will probably jump because of the UGA fans buying tech season tickets, just to have a ticket to that one game.

JeffyG

June 26th, 2009
8:34 am

First game was when Willie Mclendon was playing. Most memorable was when I was a Freshman at UGA in 83 and James Brown performed “Dooley’s Junkyard Dawgs” between quarters.

m

June 26th, 2009
8:43 am

James Brown – big deal. We had Big Boi.

The dawg

June 26th, 2009
8:47 am

Georgia v Clemson in the 1991 season…it was a night game and Clemson was highly ranked. Talley started but a freshman by the name of Eric Zeir came in and led us to victory..It was a huge upset (27-12 dawgs)….the stadium was more than bonkers that night under the lights..have been addicted ever since..

Bone

June 26th, 2009
8:48 am

Back in 1980…my junior year in high school. Watching Herchel as a freshman running wild. Believe it was against Old Miss. Sat on the North side, and with the railroad tracks in place and the people sitting there. Great Time!!

However, the games against Clemson were always the best. Need this rivalry to start again!!

Doggit

June 26th, 2009
8:51 am

boring m – just boring – I bet you play a female blood elf wanker

Allen Waters

June 26th, 2009
8:59 am

1968 UGA 10 Houston 10. Band day from Wayne County in Jesup. What a game with UH Paul Gipson running, but our defense would get tough inside the 20. Vintage Erk Russell! GEORGIA kicked a late FG to tie. I had friends play (Lindsay Scott #24 Barry Collier #79) and always enjoyed time spent in Sanford Stadium!

Majurz

June 26th, 2009
9:08 am

Early 90’s ( I think 1995) Tennessee laid it on UGA with a strong running game of James Stewart, Aaron Hayden, and Heath Shuler. UGA simply could not stop the run. Then 2 years later the Vols laid it on the dogs again with the highly touted QB……Todd Helton (the lefty). UGA thought for sure they had that game one. Ahhhh the good ole days.

coachdawg 2000

June 26th, 2009
9:08 am

First game:1980 Dawgs v.s Chickens (Herschel vs.George Rogers) If you like watching runningbacks this was your game. I was 7 years old and decided right then i wanted to play runningback.
Best game:(not the topic,but fun) I have to say the blackout vs. Allbarn. The atmosphere was electric.

techie

June 26th, 2009
9:10 am

1995 – Florida – Georgia. One of the greatest games I have attended. The Gators were scoring a point a minute. MMMMMMMM – what a great memory.

stoopid

June 26th, 2009
9:11 am

The year UGA finally beat UT w/ QC behind center. The fans rushed the field and tore down the field goal posts.

MattDawg

June 26th, 2009
9:16 am

My first time in Sanford was somewhere in the late 80’s. I was just a boy and I went with a big Georgia donor, Judd Farr, in his big Motorhome with a big Bulldog on the side of it. We played Kentucky and won. It was the beginning of my obsession. I didnt get to go again until they introduced UGA VI. It was really cool to see UGA introduced.

Ben

June 26th, 2009
9:16 am

I am 70 and I have been going to Georgia games for 50 years. Back then everybody got all dresses up with coats and ties for the men and the girls wore “church” like clothes. Stanford stadium continues to get bigger and the crowd keeps coming.

Okefenokee Dawg

June 26th, 2009
9:18 am

The bad news is there are a lot of Tech fans out there like m. The good news is that aren’t a lot of Tech fans out there.

Tech Fan from Athens

June 26th, 2009
9:18 am

I am a tech fan but grew up in Athens. I remeber my freshman year of highschool going downtown and being part of the crowd, the feeling just being around that many fans that loved their team was quite an experience. Finally made a game about 4 years ago. Sat in the corner behind the Dawgs bench opposite the railroad tracks. The Ol’ Ball coach was in town, do not remember the score but was a great place to be on a fall Saturday.

Mikey

June 26th, 2009
9:19 am

ok m, you made your “I hate UGA” post for the day, now go back to CNN and the never ending Michael Jackson love fest.

Bone

June 26th, 2009
9:20 am

Why is it that more tech folks can blog on the UGA site, but can’t fill their stadium to support their team? Please, find a life away from your software coding and half-a-can of beer party (all guys probably).

Pi$$onaDAWG

June 26th, 2009
9:21 am

The dawg if I remember it right (i was drunk with a friend @ the Bama game in Tuscusla) Bobo was the starter and UGA was losing when Zeier came in in the 3rd qtr and he never left the Starting QB job and bobo has been on the sidelines ever since. UGA came back but didn’t win. If Eric had played the whole game it could have been different. My first UGA game in Athens was 74 with Pepper Rogers and a 34-14 TECH win between the Hedges and yes I get get a piece to bring home. PS it is english previt hedge and you can’t destroy it trust me I have it all over my farm for seperating pastures. See you guys on the Flats.

j

June 26th, 2009
9:26 am

Your kids are 19 years apart in age?

Name (required)

June 26th, 2009
9:32 am

Urinating on the arches….ahh the memories.

Red Elephant

June 26th, 2009
9:39 am

1.) Rode over with my Uncle from Vestavia Hills, AL. I was 15. Georgia whipped our hides (very rare in the 70’s. We had a hard time getting out of town with all the traffic. I was in such shock because we actually lost a game. I think Ray Goff was your QB.
2.) Second trip was nicer – Sept 85. The place was electric. Shula to Bell in the closing seconds. “God Bless You Mike Shula”. We stayed in a motel in Commerce, GA and drank way too many PBR’s.
3.) Third and last trip was miserable – fall of 2003.

Besides being in Tuscaloosa or Ole Miss, Georgia is the nicest place to visit. Sanford stadium is beautiful with the hedges. The concourses are a little bit narrow though.

Chuck

June 26th, 2009
9:39 am

Georgia Southern in 2004. I had just transferred from Southern that spring and was unsure of which team I should cheer for; ended up cheering for both. I’ve been hooked on Georgia football ever since. That was the first of 29 home games and one BCS bowel I’ve attended. Go Dawgs!

pcoleman

June 26th, 2009
9:41 am

Sanford Stadium is awesome the first time and everytime. I do miss the classic smell of the Stadium – bourbon, cigar/cigarette smoke, Poss’s BBQ – compared to the relative sanitized enviroment of today and the very pedestrian concessions that replaced Bobby’s offerings. Hearing Tara’s Theme from the Band after every game heightens the excitement of a victory and softens the blow of a loss – “once a Dawg, always a Dawg, HOW SWEET IT IS!

PS To al you Bees Bloggers – My kids always loved our semi annual trips to Grant Field because they could just urinate on the floor into the troughs in your bathrooms. What a feat of engineering, its a shame Ole Stanford has regular urinals. Guess you guys really are helluva, helluva helluva engineers”

First game attended in Athens at UGA...

June 26th, 2009
9:42 am

…was the Spring Game in 1970; they were recruiting me (or so I thought) so I got invited and got to eat in the dining hall and be on the field for the game. Then I never heard another word from them (wow, I must have really sucked since those were the days you could sign as many as you wanted) so I never went back again until my son was a Jr. at UGA in 2006!

FL DAWG

June 26th, 2009
9:42 am

Pi$$ you were all liquored up and 250 miles away. Talley started, Zeire came in the first quarter and the rest is history. I remeber a running back for Clemson breaking through a hole and everyone in the stadium thought he was going to score on a 90+ yard run when the safety Mike Jones ran him down from behind and stripped the ball on or around the 10. That was a game changer. Another point on this game if my memory serves me correctly the braves also clinced the pennant just prior to the start of the game. This single game could have been the beginning of the downhill trend for Clemson.

JIM PITTMAN

June 26th, 2009
9:42 am

FIRST GAME SEPTEMBER 1973 GA-PITT TONY DORSETT WAS A FRESHMAN THE GAME WAS TIED 7-7

AltamahaDawg

June 26th, 2009
9:45 am

big surprise that a tech fan would remember Florida beating us as the greatest game of thier life.

trembling earth, funny post. Because it’s so damn true.

YoungDawg

June 26th, 2009
9:45 am

Being an Army brat I didn’t get to experience my first UGA game until my late 20’s. In 1997 my brother got tickets to the 1997 Kentucky game. We sat in the upper deck on the north side. It rained some that day but it not enough to make it unpleasant. I recall:
-Watching Robert Edwards take a toss sweep to the house, it was beautiful from up there you could see the whole open & Edwards explode through it.
-Hal Mummie didn’t punt at all that day!
-Observing that Jack Kines had us playing more of a bend don’t break style D & telling my brother “that’ll work this week but next week Spurier will pick us apart if we do that”. I’m GLAD I was wrong on that one!
It was a good first experience at Sanford. In the years following that I went to a couple of games until I started dating my wife whose family has tickets on the South side. GO DAWGS!

P-Man

June 26th, 2009
9:48 am

My first game was my freshman year, Labor Day 1982 vs. Clemson, first modern night game at Sanford. UGA had been national champs in ‘80, Clemson in ‘81. Herschel had a broken thumb, and everyone wondered if he would play. He played, but was mostly a decoy. Clemson chased him all night while carnie Norris (I think) ran wild. John Lastinger, as usual, played just well enough to win, 13-7. Went to almost every game during my 4 years there. Wish I could afford to get season tickets!

GT's Nuts

June 26th, 2009
10:02 am

I liked the Mark Richt pink out against Alabama last year.

66MustangGT

June 26th, 2009
10:04 am

could someone please tell what POAD the CHOADE is? I don’t understand the name. It might just be me but I don’t get it. Is it some cartoon character or pop culture thing? JUST asking. TECH fan get on here because the UGA guy that writes the Tech blog doesn’t give us much to talk about. I hate that some Tech fans are so full of crap because this is supposed to be fun and clean, but also know UGA fans on Tech blogs are not all classy either. DAMN, lets get to FOOTBALL soon I am jonesing for Saturday’s with dad in the SEATS.

Chip Adams

June 26th, 2009
10:10 am

Last year, Central Michigan game… when Knowshon did “the Jump” over the defender and 92,000+ all watched in awe. I was 46 and had dreamed of going to watch the Dawgs play between the hedges for nearly all my life. It was truly amazing! Everyone sitting around us went all out and made my wife and I feal like part of the fraternity, you know? Just an absolutely wonderful experience that we’ll never forget!! Even got to meet Coach Dooley in the book store and then met Buck Belue in the parking lot after the game!! TV doesn’t do it justice… there is nothing like being there! Gonna try and make at least one game a year from now on. Goooooooooo Dawgs!!!! Sic ‘em! Woof, Woof!!!!

CKDawg65

June 26th, 2009
10:11 am

Early 70’s…56-25 over Oregon St. Lots of KR and PR touchdowns…wanna say Buzy Rosenburg and maybe Gene Washington scored on return TD’s that day. Still remember thinking Joe Roth from Cal was the most amazing QB I had ever seen later that decade and he was gone within 6 months after playing in Athens.

JB

June 26th, 2009
10:14 am

I ‘ll never forget my first visit to Grant Field two years ago. I got sick off free pizza and watered downed coke, and being OCD,I couldn’t make my mind up as to to which of the thousands of empty seats to choose from to sit.

Truedawg

June 26th, 2009
10:14 am

My first Game was in 1990 i think…..we were playing The Vols and i remember back then (hahahahaah) im only 29 so that is back then for me) they use to come out of the corner of the closed end and they had a blowup tunnel and the smoke started and when they came out of the smoke i got goose bumps!! i will never forget that moment and no other sporting event has ever been that exciting in my life!!

GO DAWGS!!! GATA

Big Dawg From Duncan, NC

June 26th, 2009
10:16 am

My first game (don’t actually remember it but still have a ticket stub from) was the 1966 Ole Miss Game. Had to look up if we won or lost that game. Most memorable game was the 1976 Alabama game. Everyone said we didn’t have a chance against them. Beat them good. My favorite game was the UCLA game of 1983. UCLA was worried about the heat and must have had every air conditioner in Athens on their sideline. Nice cool rain most of the game.