OK, so we’ve established I’m not a big fan of Jim Donnan’s work at the University of Georgia. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t high points during those five years that remain worth celebrating.
Georgia over Auburn, 56-49, in 1996. For the first three quarters, the only highlight of this game in Auburn was Uga V trying to take a bite out of the Tigers’ Robert Baker. Georgia trailed 28-7 at the start of the fourth quarter. Then they all of a sudden got on track and tied it up, forcing the SEC’s first overtime game. Robert Edwards ran wild through four OT periods and Donnan got his first big win.
Georgia over Florida, 37-17, in 1997. Florida came into the annual Jacksonville game with seven straight wins over the Dogs and they were favored to get another. Robert Edwards had other plans and his four touchdowns combined with an all-everything day for Hines Ward (catching, throwing and returning) to give Donnan a win over Steve Spurrier.
Georgia over Georgia Tech, 27-24, in 1997. The Jackets had scored late and were already celebrating a victory when Mike Bobo led the Dawgs down the field. GT fans still gripe about a defensive holding call, but that’s a slippery slope considering the controversial (read “bad”) calls on fumbles that went Tech’s way the next two years. Anyway, Bobo’s touchdown pass to Corey Allen capped a thrilling last-second win.
Georgia over LSU, 28-27, in 1998. The difference was a Quincy Carter TD pass to two-way player Champ Bailey and another first-down throw to Bailey that allowed the Dawgs to kill the clock. Carter began the game with 15 consecutive completions, tying a Georgia record held by Eric Zeier. And all of this in Baton Rouge. One of the best days for Carter and Donnan.
Georgia over Tennessee, 21-10, in 2000. Donnan’s Dawgs finally broke a string of nine consecutive losses to the Vols, with the highlight being a 10-play, 99-yard drive finished off by a Musa Smith touchdown. The Sanford Stadium goal posts came down in the ensuing tumult. An injury the next week would essentially end Quincy Carter’s playing career at Georgia.
And here’s a postseason bonus:
Georgia over Wisconsin, 33-6, on Jan. 1, 1998. Probably the peak of Donnan’s time at UGA. The Dawgs, looking great in special “black britches” to go with their road whites, were masterful on offense and defense. The Badgers’ supposedly unstoppable Ron Dayne was held to just 36 yards, Robert Edwards scored three TDs and Mike Bobo hit 26 of 28 passes, including 19 in a row (a UGA record), for 267 yards.
Some folks might also include Georgia’s 28-25 comeback overtime win over Purdue in the Jan. 1, 2000, Outback Bowl after trailing 25-0 in the second quarter, but the Dawgs looked so bad in the first half of that game that I can’t bring myself to include it on the list.
Is there another Donnan win you’d include? Feel free to tell us in the comments as well as voting in the poll.