Favorite Dogs opening game?

The hype surrounding the Sept. 5 visit of the Dogs to Boone Pickens Stadium keeps getting bigger and more intense, as do the expectations of folks out in Oklahoma, who now are talking about the Pokes possibly being 11-0 by the time they meet Oklahoma in late November. They think they have a team of destiny and that the first step will be a win over Georgia. Just imagine how great it would be and what a media boost it would give the Dogs to win that game.

Kinda sends a shiver down your spine even during mid-July.

Which set me to thinking about my favorite Bulldog season-openers over the years. 

Which was the greatest Dogs opener?

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I think my favorite, because it was so unexpected, is the legendary “flea-flicker” 18-17 win over Bear Bryant’s national champion Crimson Tide at Sanford Stadium in 1965. It had everything required for a game of the ages: a come-from-behind win by a supposedly hopeless underdog, a trick play that paid off big and a national television audience back when there were only three networks and only one of them showed college football games. I still get pumped just thinking about it.

And then, of course, there’s the 1980 opener against the Vols in Knoxville, replayed every home game on Sanford Stadium’s big screen: No. 34 leaving his footprints on Bill Bates. Munson: “My God, a freshman!” The beginning of a national championship season.

But there’ve been other openers almost as sweet. Like the 1971 56-25 romp over Oregon State, the first game at quarterback for my classmate, Andy Johnson. The most memorable part of the game, though, was the five punt returns for 202 yards by Buzy Rosenberg, including returns of 79 and 66 yards for touchdowns. 

Can’t forget the 2003 30-0 shellacking of Clemson at Death Valley, either. Georgia came into that game shorthanded due to two defensive starters being injured and eight other players being suspended. But the defense came up big and four Dogs, including backup QB D.J. Shockley, ran for more yards than the Tigers did as a team.   

And what about the 2005 opener, when another heavily hyped offensive machine from out west invaded Sanford Stadium. With D.J. taking over the reins, the Dogs began another SEC championship season with a 48-13 win over Boise State that was remarkable chiefly because it was so easy.

Lastly, there was the first half of the home-and-home with Okie State in 2007. The Cowpokes had the national media buzz and played a decent game against the Dogs, but despite having 12 first-time starters Georgia won 35-14, with a third-string redshirt freshman tailback from New Jersey turning a lot of heads with his shake-and-bake moves and sprints back to the huddle. 

Will the 2009 opener rank with those? Let’s hope so. If there are other opening games that are among your favorites, share them in the comments. And vote in the poll for the greatest of my two top favorites.

62 comments Add your comment


July 15th, 2009
7:59 am

Next up: “What is the drunkest you have ever been before/during/after a game by our beloved Dawgs?
Ever got so cooked at the tailgate that you missed the game? Liquor or beer or….? Inquiring minds want to know……”


July 15th, 2009
8:13 am

My Ga history only dates back to 1975..but here are mine

1-UGA vs. Tenn 1980..everyone know why. the only bad part was the 5 hr traffic jam getting out of K town.

2-1982 Georgia vs. Clemson..the hype was incredible, natl TV at night (I think it was Labor Day Night). The prior 2 natl champs facing off. Herschel was supp to be hurt but he started. On the first play, we faked a play to him and went deep for a TD (got called back due to penalty though). Small score..big win.

3-Georgia vs. Alabama 1984 ( I think). Great SEC game as opener. Huge buildup back then we only got Bama at home once every 8 yrs so it was a special event. Boring game , but we blocked a punt and ran it in for TD to take the lead late.(we rolled it in actually)..but then…..Damn you David Shula. (p.s this could also qualify for one of the worst openers ever if you only consider the result)

4-2002 opener at Clemson as you mention

5-OK, this last one is a 2 in 1 deal: Ga vs. UCLA and BYU this was the first two games one year (1981 or 82)..played and beat UCLA on Monday night..a big game against a good PAC 10 team at home..then 5 days later had to kick a late FG to beat BYU, who was good at the time. 2-0 in 5 days.

The WORST opener since 1975? That would be my very first UGA game ever, opening day 1975. Georgia vs. Tony Dorsett and Pitt. There was no buzz..there was still a hangover from the Tech beatdown in the rain in Athens the year before (which almost got Dooley fired)..fan’s attitude was awful. It was a rainy day, No home game since has had lower attendance: only 48k official attendance. There might have been 35k in the stands to start;.maybe 20k by the end of the game.
We lost 19-9 and it wasnt that close.

However, the next week Dicky Clark intercepted a Miss. St pass and ran it in for a TD..gave us a tough win to turn it around. We ended up going 9-2 and going to the Cotton Bowl.

How can I remember that; yet I cant remember what I had for lunch yesterday?


July 15th, 2009
8:18 am

1981 – UGA 44 UT 0!


July 15th, 2009
8:19 am

Georgia is going to crush Oklahoma State. We’ve heard this song and dance before from Boise State, Central Michigan, Hawaii, Oklahoma State (in 2007), Arizona State, and they have all turned out the same way… another over hyped high octane offense gets deflated when they meet a team that can play some defense. 31-17 DAWGS!


July 15th, 2009
8:21 am

I was at the 2003 Clemson game. What a goose egg laid by the Tigers. The crowd was stunned and silent. Dawgs will win the opener @ OK ST!!


July 15th, 2009
8:22 am

Not a great Georgia team by any measure, but the second half explosion in the 1995 season opener against USC where a 14-7 halftime deficit turned into a 42-21 romp was pretty nice. A man named Robert Edwards had 5 touchdowns that day.

Unfortunately Robert would break his foot in Knoxville the next week. Mike Bobo broke his leg at Ole Miss the week after that and the season went into a tailspin.


July 15th, 2009
8:22 am

Oohhhh you just can’t beat those opening-game matchups against “powerhouses” like: William & Mary, Ga. Southern, New Mexico St. East Tennessee Tech Community College of Memphis, ETC.

Let’s talk about the biggest second-half bi@* slaps of all-time in Ugag’s final games of the regular season. 33 points in 30 minutes!

Silly Dogs … 45-42. BooYeah!



July 15th, 2009
8:23 am

The 1980 game vs UT has my vote. That was HW’s coming out party.


July 15th, 2009
8:24 am

As for best opener, 1980 opener against UT was great, 2002 opener against Clemson (30-28 W) was a good one to spark a great season, Boise State in 2005 was laughably easy, 2007 against Okie State. Those in no particular order.


July 15th, 2009
8:29 am

JayRoot… Ugag? That’s freaking hilarious, never heard that one! And I noticed you pointed out the score of last year’s tech game. You, my friend, have gotten us good. You have shattered our will to live, I think I’ll have to call out of work because you have cut me to the core. But then I realize that one win in eight years isn’t such a bad thing to give up to the nerds on 5th ave. BOOYA!

You’re pathetic.

coachdawg 2000

July 15th, 2009
8:36 am

1995- was awesome becuase it was my first game as student at UGA and becuase the chickens had won 2 in a row and had Tanneyhiil/zola davis/brandon bennett and we were supposededly headed for another horrible year. The second half of that game and then the 1st half of the Tennyshoes game were the most dominant performances by a dawg runningback since Mr.Walker was there. Robert Edwards was an absolute beast.
Worst 1st game-1996 southern miss 11-9 loss. ah the beginning of the Donnan era. Edwards and Bobo collided in our won endzone to give up a safety.
2002-clemson was pretty special after that game I fely like maybe the dawgs had a chance to do something special.

PBR=America in a can

July 15th, 2009
8:42 am

JayRoot and Tech plays powerhouses like Jacksonville State & Samford??? And who uses Boo Yeah? Dumb@ss…its like im playing cards with my sister’s kids or something

coachdawg 2000

July 15th, 2009
8:56 am

Let’s relive 1994. You remember the year y’all went 0-11. So much for the blind squirrel theory. Who in this state has gone 0-fer in the last 20 years? Only the bummbling geeks! So go discuss that on YOUR blog. Also you have us beat on obese announcers and coaches! coach Pajamas is still waitng to hear if they have invented the forward pass yet. Last in the All Cupcakes Conference in passing. HE IS AN Offensive Genius!
Maybe y’all can blog on what it will be like to go on date or leave your parents basement.

Geez, coachdawg 2000...

July 15th, 2009
9:03 am

…give it a rest. You are a grown person who lives for this blog so that you can get into a pissin’ contest with a bunch of nerds. Grow up and blog responsibly, or at least get a job so that you will have something to do all day other than peruse this and other UGA blogs.

Pooty Dawg

July 15th, 2009
9:13 am

yeah, coach. And to think you guys LOST to that ’sorry’ program from Atlanta last year. That’s what’s truly pathetic, other than your sophomoric attempts at humor.

coachdawg 2000

July 15th, 2009
9:17 am

I have job. I am rehabbing from knee surgery. So my choices are to get on here or watch daytime TV. I will blog when i want for as long as i want. I wasn’t offensive, I simply reminded them of their shortcomings. I think you must be some sort of “I’m above all of this” do-gooder who thinks that we are going to have an intelligent discussion. The fact is half of these people on here don’t have the mind power to illuminate 20 watt light bulb.


July 15th, 2009
9:20 am

1980 opener against Tenn was my favorite, all time, but I loved the Boise St game because of all the hype about them coming in and scoring at will, and all the upset predictions, only to have the game pretty much over by the end of the 1st qtr! Loved it.

I have a feeling OkSt is going to regret opening T.Boone Pickens Stadium w/the Dawgs.


July 15th, 2009
9:28 am

coach, screw’em………..blog all you want…….passion is what we need…..it’s what we have…..
As you, Tech we’ll regret all this ragging a 3 point win, self inflicted by the way. History will stay true and we will beat Tech 8 out of 10 times or so…..with or without Paul Johnson.

coachdawg 2000

July 15th, 2009
9:30 am

On si.com Stewart Mandel breaks down the best games of the 1st 3 weeks of 2009. UGA-OSU are his #4.

Sorry, coachdawg 2000...

July 15th, 2009
9:31 am

…but rehabbing from knee surgery, unless it was a knee replacement, is no reason to stay home from work – And, yes, I have had 7 surgeries on my right knee, plus 2 replacements of my right knee, and 1 surgery on my left knee (returned to work the next day), plus one replacement of my left knee (this time last year – off work for 4 weeks) – so I do know a little about knee surgeries.

Pooty Dawg

July 15th, 2009
9:51 am

Any way you cut it, JB, you lost the game. Lose this year and there’s gonna be hell to pay. If that happens, I’d say your program is headed the wrong way fast. BTW, lose the ’sir’ you like to use. Sounds like you’re in one of those anti-US militias.

coachdawg 2000

July 15th, 2009
9:52 am

Here’s golf clap for you, you are an iron man.


July 15th, 2009
9:53 am

The flea-flicka win over the University of Arrogance is Number 1 forever. Forgotten in the story is that we went for 2 and the win rather than 1 for the tie. No overtime back then.


July 15th, 2009
9:56 am

The Loss to SOUTHERN MISS at HOME 11-7 in 96, and wins over the MIGHTY Georgia Southern Eagles, Duke, Baylor, Arkansas State Indians , Kent State Golden Flashes, and Utah State Aggies just a few favorites.


July 15th, 2009
10:00 am

I agree that the 1965 flea-flicker was perhaps the most exciting opening game. Bear Bryant always contended that the reciver knee was down before he lateraled the ball. It’s a good thing that there were no instant replays in 65 because if you look at the still shot I think he was right.


July 15th, 2009
10:11 am


July 15th, 2009
10:14 am

JB, how blissful is ignorance?

Do tell.

Turkey Tacos

July 15th, 2009
10:21 am

PBR – Nice Tombstone/Billy-Bob reference! LOL!

BTW, I’ll take the 2003 Clemson game as well. I really only enjoy the close games in retrospect or when some one else is playing. I’ll take a good ol’ Georgia “shellacking” over a tight game any Saturday; my nerves just can’t take it.


July 15th, 2009
10:23 am

I’m among the fortunate that had the pleasure of witnessing both the ‘65 win over Bama and the ‘80 debut of ‘The Man’, but I’ve got to say, as odd as it may be, the ‘68 opener in Knoxville – Doug’s Rug – which ended in neither a win or a loss, was one of the most memorable for me. Primarily because my wife and I attended the game with a friend (UT grad) who became one of the favorite people I’ve known in this life. The back and forth of that game…Jake Scott’s marvelous punt return…the ‘jobbing’ on the two-point conversion at the end (of course there are those that will tell you Pat Hodgson’s knee was on the ground when he ‘flicked’ it to Bob Taylor)..the pounding on my head by a rather excited UT (female) fan as they went down the field for that last drive…all came together to make it a great experience.

Not again

July 15th, 2009
10:28 am

Hey everybody, look who is back….It’s the world’s dumbest blogger, RambleOn!!!! Hey Ramble, isn’t there a Princess Leia roast you should be attending with m and TechFan? Are you Yoda this week?


July 15th, 2009
10:34 am

summer camp is over….welcome back ramble…..


July 15th, 2009
10:40 am

Pooter, nobody outside that concrete hell campus cares about Tech football. Sitting in a city of 5 mil and can’t sell out a 50,000 seat stadium ought to say it all. NOBODY cares but pimple face freshman wearing rat hats, and half are from India and don’t get it. You care, and that’s great. very few others do. See you in November, I’m sure there will be plenty of tickets.


July 15th, 2009
10:48 am

seriously just ignore the techies and they will go away. It will not be fun for them if we don’t respond.

My personal favorite was the drubbing on Boise State. My memory of watching games only goes back to the early 80’s. All the hype and splat… I sure had fun shooting doves that day listening to the pounding of Boise. I always look forward to opening day of dove season and the start of UGA football. Nothing like having fun outside and listening to the game on radio then coming back home and watching it on DVR.

India Satellite campus

July 15th, 2009
10:49 am

We would love to host Tech/ Duke game over here at Haji stadium,Gondi field……that would be big day for us and alumni base………..

Nice try, doggie

July 15th, 2009
11:02 am

Maybe if you knew how to spell Gandhi you’d be funnier. But I guess you took your history lessons at UGA.


July 15th, 2009
11:11 am

Ramble….. I’ll have a #1, add bacon, with a sprite. And can i get 2 of those apple pies if they are fresh off the heat lamp? Thank you. Tell your sister i said hello!


July 15th, 2009
11:23 am

Labor Day Night…….1985…….Mike Shula to Al Bell……Alabama 20, uga 16.

Chicken Foot

July 15th, 2009
11:24 am

Tenn in the rain late 80s.

Pooty Dawg

July 15th, 2009
11:24 am

JB, I’m not sure that having gazillions more fans close enough to the stadium whose #1 priority in life is Georgia football is an issue to be bragging about. Maybe it’s just me though. If you weren’t so serious about it, maybe you wouldn’t get ragged so much.


July 15th, 2009
11:25 am

I think it would have to be a three way tie between…

Western Kentucky
Arkansas State
Utah State


July 15th, 2009
11:29 am

You and your bionic legs should ride in the Tour de France


July 15th, 2009
11:32 am

I tell ya, my favorite operners are those games against powerhouses like Georgia Southern and Western Carolina. Makes me feel good to go and stomp those little teams and show em whose boss! DAWGS!!! Plus we get to taste what it must like for Florida when they stomp us year in and year out.


July 15th, 2009
11:43 am

The home opener 1980. UGA 42 Tex AM 0. This kid from Wrightsville was awesome. Come to think of it, the defense was not half bad. The track fans were loud, real loud.


July 15th, 2009
11:59 am

I find it funny that nerd fans have to resort to becoming fans of Florida, Alabama, and other more significant rivals of the Dawgs. Their jealousy and inferiority complex shine through and through. And hiding behind monikers acting like Georgia fans with your little sarcastic remarks shows your ignorance and self pity. Pooty Dog is a pervert nerd sitting in his mommy’s basement looking at his Sears catolog getting a boner….hehehehehehehehe.


July 15th, 2009
12:16 pm

I think Tech will sell a few more tickets this year JB. Except for that meltdown with LSU, they appear to be putting together something on the field worth seeing. I think my two Tech friends will actually attend a game this year. They have not for years. Oh and one is a grad of Tech and the other got his hat and shirt at Walmart. Funny, a reverse stereotype.


July 15th, 2009
12:18 pm

I would definately say UT 1980. However, in my adult life I would say Clemson 2003 or Boise State. We plain wore those boys out. And no one could believe it.


July 15th, 2009
12:26 pm

“but rehabbing from knee surgery, unless it was a knee replacement, is no reason to stay home from work”

Wow, this is really dumb. How do you know he doesn’t have a job that places a lot of strain on his knee? But I guess most of the trolls here wouldn’t have that issue, repairing hard drives at Geek Squad doesn’t affect your knees much.

Pot calling the Kettle

July 15th, 2009
12:31 pm

Let’s not get into a strength of schedule discussion. There’s not a single SEC, ACC, or any other BCS team that is in the position to point fingers. We’ve all had a our rag dolls to knock around

GT – Gardner Webb, Jacksonville State, Samford (3 times in the past few years), Army, Navy before Johnson several times, UConn before it was any good, The Citadel, Furman more than once, New Mexico State, Western Carolina a few times, VMI, UT-Chattanooga more than once.

Auburn – New Mex State, Tennessee Tech, Buffalo, Tulane, Ball State more than once, Western Kentucky more than once, La Tech three times, UL-Monroe three years in a row, (UL-Monroe, La Tech, The Citadel in 2004), Western Carolina, Wyoming, Northern Illinois. [that's only back to 2000]

….and the list can go on and on for each team. You also have Alabama losing to Nothern Illinois, Hawaii, Southern Miss, and UL-Monroe. Florida State and Auburn have also losing to Southern Miss……The pot always likes to call the kettle black.


July 15th, 2009
12:57 pm

The 1980 UGA-UT game because Munson was at his finest for those of us who listened to the game on the radio. Also the 1982 Clemson-UGA night game. What a battle and a great UGA victory. Ahh, good times.


July 15th, 2009
12:58 pm

seriously, just stop paying attention to the idiots. They’re probably just some of our own fans pretending to be tech fans to make them look stupid. Either way, it takes the attention away from actually responding to what the article is about.