Favorite moments Between the Hedges don’t just involve football

As proud families of some 4,000 students fill Sanford Stadium again this evening for graduation, it reminds me that for many UGA families, one of their best memories Between the Hedges doesn’t involve football.

Many families have fond memories of graduation day at Sanford Stadium. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Many families have fond memories of graduation day at Sanford Stadium. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

I know that’s certainly the case with me, as my own son walking out onto the field in the procession of graduates in 2007 as we watched from the East end zone seats is one of my favorite moments at Sanford Stadium — even more so than my own graduation there in 1974.

James Brown provided a great UGA memory. (Associated Press)

James Brown provided a great UGA memory. (Associated Press)

Just about all the rest of my Sanford memories do involve football, of course. Here, off the top of my head and in no particular order, are some of those favorite moments I’ve experienced in the stadium. …

The flea-flicker play to beat national champion Alabama in 1965. One of the most unexpected and exciting plays in college football history. The Sanford Stadium crowd was almost as stunned as Bear Bryant and the Tide.

Prince Charles and James Brown in the house. The 1977 Homecoming game was lousy, but the student body chanting “Damn good prince!” for the prince of Wales coming onto the field and then James Brown performing “Dooley’s Junkyard Dogs” at halftime with the Redcoats (with my brother Jon bracing the stage with his back as the Godfather of Soul did those splits) definitely made that day one of the most memorable at the stadium.

The Dawgs bursting out onto the field in those black jerseys against Auburn in 2007. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Sanford Stadium crowd more excited.(And yes, Bama fans, we all know your team won the next time the Dogs wore black Between the Hedges. But that’s a subject for your own favorite moments blog.)

Herschel Walker running 65 yards for a touchdown against Georgia Tech in 1980 to break Tony Dorsett’s freshman rushing record. A wonderful way to finish off the regular season in a year that saw the Dogs win the national championship.

Kevin Butler and The Kick in 1984 against Clemson. The Dogs had battled back and with 11 seconds left, the game was tied at 23 and Georgia had the ball at the Clemson 45 when Vince Dooley decided to send his kicker in to attempt a 60-yarder for the win. “Heck, any time we got past the 50, Kevin would stand right in front of me on the sidelines,” Dooley recalled later. “He always wanted to kick the game-winner. What I remember most about that Clemson kick is that he could have made it from 70.”

Herschel Walker sets a record against Tech. (University of Georgia)

Herschel Walker sets a record against Tech. (University of Georgia)

The electric atmosphere at kickoff of the 1976 game against Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide, which the Dogs won 21-0. As I’ve said before, that was the loudest I ever heard Sanford Stadium before they enclosed the East end zone. A very special night.

Matthew Stafford against Auburn in 2007. (Associated Press)

Matthew Stafford against Auburn in 2007. (Associated Press)

Colorado’s Ralphie rumbling onto the field surrounded by his handlers in 2006. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an opposing team’s mascot draw the kind of reaction that big bison got. That’s one of the things that makes college football special. Not all the great moments are about scoring or tackling.

The clock ticking down to zero in the 51-7 win over Tech in 2002, popularly known among UGA fans as just “the butt whippin’.” A perfect ending to an SEC championship season.

Buck Belue to Amp Arnold in 1978. The making of a Bulldog Nation folk hero, long before the throw to Lindsay Scott in Jacksonville.

Those are just some of the many moments burned into my memory from more than four decades of spending time at Sanford Stadium.

Feel free to share some of your own favorite moments. …

168 comments Add your comment

HanDAWG

May 8th, 2010
11:26 pm

GCB

May 8th, 2010
11:29 pm

My favorite moment: David Jacobs being introduced on Senior Day before the 2002 Tech game. I think it’s the only time that the players were called in numerical order, and not alphabetically, so that he would go last (#99). Not able to run at full speed (because of the stroke), his family met him halfway as he ran onto the field. He was so proud and excited to be in his uniform, in Sanford Stadium, with his teammates. I still get choked up thinking about it.

uuugh...

May 8th, 2010
11:31 pm

I was at the ‘95 UF game…That was the low point for me. Highpoint was probably the UT night game when Robert Edwards tore it up in the first half (’94 maybe?) only to get injured in a game we ended up losing. He was Herschel for a half…and I have never been so excited during a game.

Next was probably the Mens Gold Medal Soccer Match in 1996. It was nice to see so many soccer fans filling my favorite stadium. (Thanks again for the ticket Tommy!)

Vol Fan

May 8th, 2010
11:43 pm

2007 Auburn was such an overrated team…that’s like being excited about a wet dream… all they did was beat the Zooker and Shula…

Vol Fan

May 8th, 2010
11:55 pm

wasn’t 2007 the year yall claimed to deserve a chance to be in the championship game yet you were 5th in the BCS… seriously… you thought you deserved to be there by a streak that included auburn, Can’tucky, Tech, and a one armed Tebow…35-14 is the only thing a voter or one of those computers need to know.

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
12:00 am

Back to today… yall are starting to embarrass the SEC… no good bowl game… basketball is still a joke… and what happened to Diamond Dave and the Perno Stars…

We might have to get Clemson, Tech, Miami, or FSU to replace yall in the expansion. My money would be on Clem… they are true rednecks… frauds.

We own your state pups! Actually its a joint custody… with Florida!

Gulf Coast

May 9th, 2010
3:04 am

1965 Bama game broke my heart but we never lost again and won the NC. Replays showed the Georgia wideouts knee was down before he lateraled but play stood.

Bama had one it’s weakest teams in early 1976. OL was really young. QB was mauled in Athens. Team jelled later and killed a very good UCLA in bowl game.

Blackout affair with Bama in 2008. UA played an almost perfect first half to lead 30-0. 12,000 Tide fans made the stadium shake in the 4th Qtr playing Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer. Birmingham TV sportscaster doing live postgame outside stadium had a beer thrown on him by a drunk Georgia fan. Losing brings out the worst in some.

Gulf Coast

May 9th, 2010
3:16 am

Correction–Bama’s 1976 team was one of the weaker units during Bryant’s strong run in the 1970’s. But give Georgia credit. I’ve never seen a town & team so hyped for a game. Bryant had the team rolling late season and ended by nailing UCLA in a frigid bowl game at night in Memphis. I think Georgia played Pitt and Tony Dorsett in a bowl game.

Another Dawg

May 9th, 2010
3:27 am

When Tennessee lost at home to Wyoming, the right to talk about SEC embarrassment went out the window.

[...] Bill King shares some Sanford Stadium memories: [...]

Underdog

May 9th, 2010
6:54 am

When Bama lost to Louisiana-Lafyette at home, thr right to talk about SEC embarrassment went out the window.

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
7:31 am

scratch the zooker comment from above… Aubie was still a paper tiger though.

Go Vols!.

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
7:37 am

Wyoming hurt… but you still sold your rings on Ebay… You are the kings of SEC embarrassment… 35-14, 45-19, 25-5… losers.

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

May 9th, 2010
7:38 am

1995 (52-17), the Mighty Gators coached by SOS hung “half a hundred” on the Dawgs between the hedges. History was made! Only time I’ve ever been to Sanford stadium, so that has to be my best memory!!!!!!

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
7:39 am

And don’t even talk about the Lame Kitten… he was at least good for 45-19.

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

May 9th, 2010
7:41 am

Sunday morning smack talk! Does it get any better?

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
7:44 am

Hey Gator Jive… Since we have joint custody over this state… I say you take the kids (students) and I take the house (samford)…

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

May 9th, 2010
7:49 am

The house is in my name! You can take those unruly kids and I’ll just have to pay you child support.

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
7:51 am

my reasoning is yall don’t play there and we do… plus you got the higher ranked school so you probably employ them

Reality

May 9th, 2010
7:54 am

BuLLdawg

May 9th, 2010
7:58 am

B.S. Bill King, as per usual for you and your damned lists of nothingness’s.

1959 Dad had season tickets to UGA and later when the Falcons would get in town, he bought those every year too. We attended the Atlanta Crackers games every night, the whole family.

We are playing Alabama and I recall specifically had Dad said, watch this man; he is Hall of Fame; watch him fill the air with football – and deep.

The Autumn Days in Athens leave such an impression on me as a youngster. The cool breeze, the sunshine and mostly the beauty to watch all around the field.

Wally Butts.

We are playing “Tween the Hedges” which would provide me a scar I carry proudly later jumping the Hedges.

Auburn is in town this day, and UGA is playing for The SEC Championship.

It is down to the last minute or so in the game, and we had lots of excitement, but we were never feeling like we could pull it out; we kept pegging away and throwing the ball and it was a flight of beauty to watch the ball go way up high in the air and go way down field to our men.

We are losing 6-7 and Dad said son, we can throw one of those deep passes and win this game.

Fran Tarkenton would do just that to Bill Herron.

SEC Championship.

College Football Hall of Fame for Fran Tarkenton, who by the way was also Academic All-America.

It was 4th down when he threw the TD Pass to beat Auburn 13-7.

Fran went on after the Auburn Victory in 1959 and Won the Orange Bowl 14-0 over Missouri.

Fran Tarkenton in an Era where the air was never filled with passes, had that special arm that destined him to be a great quarterback.

I remember it fondly.

Later, as I would attend The University of Georgia, I recall sitting on the Railroad Tracks and watching the games through the East End Zone. We had tickets, but all of us preferred to be on the Tracks. I knew that I could use my one dollar ticket and go sit in the stands, and late one game I use that to get into the stadium in a blow-out and went down behind the same End Zone our real seats were at on the Railroad Tracks. I saw we were going to score again, leaped The Hedges and ran to a spot deep behind the Goal Posts. Allan Leavitt always kicked his extra points as deep back toward the Railroad Tracks as he could. And, it dawned on me, I could get the ball and throw it over the Fence up to my roommates and friends on the Railroad Tracks.

I sure enough with the ball boys trying to get back to where he kicked it, caught it and ran up to the fence and threw the ball over the fence, but they had guys outside the fence too, and before we could get away with the Game Ball, they took it from one of my buddies.

At another game from the Railroad Tracks with my college roommates and friends, we had stayed up all night long on Baxter Street just really whooping it up and getting ready to play Alabama.

Vince Dooley had said that Ray Goff was the Starter, but everyone knew that Matt Robinson was destined to be an NFL Quarterback and clearly the real quarterback and better player of the 2.

We stayed on the Railroad Tracks and at the end of the game, I went into Sanford Stadium and went down to the Locker-room.

The players were all inside, just beside themselves as Matt Robinson had defeated Alabama 21 to Nothing, but himself. They kept the locker-room double-doors closed. Then, after a while, they opened them up and I guess the Press went in. It was a lot of people going through the doors. So, I went with them. I went over to Matt Robinson’s locker and he was being interviewed and turned to take off his tear-away Jersey. He had several hooks there and as he was answering questions, he turned half-way to put the 17 Jersey on the hook.

It fell in a heap at the bottom of his locker. I thought to myself, if he doesn’t want it, I do.

I picked it up as they kept interviewing him after the Great Win 21-0 over Alabama, and went back to the Tracks. I wore it to every game. Matt offered to buy it from me many years later, and have not done that. Not yet.

Those were Championships.

Those were Great Times.

Those were 10-Win Years.

10-Win Years when 10 Wins MEANT SOMETHING.

Not like nowadays when 10-Win Years are talked about in The Same Reverence in 14-Game Seasons nowadays, as those 10-Win Years.

They are NOT.

I know.

My own personal season tickets on the 2nd Row on the Upper Deck, right directly in front of me when Amp Arnold caught that pass from Buck Belue from half-way down the field. We were LOSING Bill King. You seem to have forgotten that. 21-28. And, that was a great Touchdown too. Amp Arnold caught the pass for the TD from Buck Belue, and Amp Arnold ran it in from the 2-yard line, since the score after the TD Pass was 27-28. And, we had Rex Robinson that year. You left that out too, Bill King. We easily could have tied the score. But, Amp Arnold ran the ball in on the 2-point Conversion and we Won 29-28.

You have a fuzzy memory Bill King. Mine is Chrystal clear.

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
7:59 am

Actually I don’t want the house either… it had some sanitation problems on the field… plus in the early games, their fans sit in the ice coolers… that get used for drinks… don’t they have health science at their school.

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
8:04 am

Amp Arnold was not the hero… the play of the game was the linebacker that got to Ivory’s ankle… poor Tech.

Smack

May 9th, 2010
8:09 am

Speaking of embarrassing, how about the way Tenn treated Phil Fulmer.

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
8:09 am

Championships in the 60’s? Really?

Oh, by the way… why are North and South written on your stands… do you really need that? A real redneck just has to look at the sun or the stars. Posers!

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
8:10 am

We got the love for Uncle Phil… he just stayed around too long… happens to best of them… seems like its happening to CMR and he is just too young for that.

bad brad

May 9th, 2010
8:13 am

My favorite moment was actually the entire game in 1978 vs Tech. That game had just about everything you’d want to see in a game. I remember it looked bad for the Dawgs and some Tech fans floated 3 huge hot air balloons, each with disparaging messages that came up over the tracks and by the time the last one cleared the bridge, Buck and Amp had performed their magic.

It seemed to me that they carried Eddie Lee Ivery off the field at least 3 times and he kept coming back.

Just an outstanding game; would love to see that one on ESPN classics.

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
8:15 am

At least we didn’t blow a championship run by doing it doggy style on a FLA guy to ruin a momentum changing drive with an unsportsman like penalty. 4th and 10 Conversion wasn’t it?

Can yall name another team that blew a championship run do to sexual assault on the field?

Or are yall the only ones?

Examples please?

Vol Fan

May 9th, 2010
8:16 am

due to.. my bad

92 Dawg

May 9th, 2010
8:23 am

Hey Vol Fan, don’t knock it, you may wish you had our house soon. My UT buddies tell me that the story out of Ob-knoxville is that they are installing chair backs on every seat in the house. When this happens, they tell me it will bring the total capacity down from 102k to around 94k, as now they have each seat only occupying about 12 inches, and most of the people up there take at least two of those seats (which explains why i have to stand every time i go to that God forsaken he11 hole), but with the seats installed, it will require them to use a standard size for every seat. Welcome to reality, i’m glad to see we may be able to sit down up there next time.

Smack

May 9th, 2010
8:26 am

Your “love” for Phil Fulmer? Wow.

With love like that, who needs love?

92 Dawg

May 9th, 2010
8:28 am

And by the way Vol fan…. glad to know you can read the North and South signage on our stadium. Bet you must have been the “vol-a-dick-torian” in your East Tennessee vocational prep school.

Smack

May 9th, 2010
8:33 am

I guess you guys “love” Phil Fulmer as much as Lane Kiffin “loves” TN football, the players, and the fans.

Then you had to hire the son of a UGA coach to save your program!!!

Why don’t you guys just make it official and trade in that hounddog for a Bulldog?!?

King Gator

May 9th, 2010
8:35 am

Spurrier running it up on the Pups @ home and a close 2nd was my roomate picking up two girls from UGA and after being caught with both in,umm ..well you know .. that night forever being referred to by my college frinds as the night Dannyboy was “between the hedges”! Good Times – Go Gators!

Smack

May 9th, 2010
8:42 am

Given the amount of jewelry and hair product that Gator men typically wear, ol’ Dannyboy probably picked up two male Gator fans.

King Gator

May 9th, 2010
8:49 am

Funny Smack, but they were UGA coeds… although one was an “uga” in my opinion the other was an SEC starter.(plus niether was wearing jorts) Jax was always the best and shortest roadtrip of the year. (and we usually won the game – but you already know that) Go Gators!

harleydawg

May 9th, 2010
8:56 am

Dawgs vs. Clemson 1991, under the lights. The Dawgs weren’t even supposed to be in the game. Dawgs rolled from the beginning. Zeier was on fire! I was a senior, and bourbon soaked! I consider it my graduation gift from the Dawgs. Athens rocked all night long. The sun was coming up and there were still fans all over downtown.

Spike

May 9th, 2010
9:04 am

June 10, 1980, and the 1978 Tech game when Belue came in to take over from Jeff Pyburn. That is as good as it gets, boys.

PTC DAWG

May 9th, 2010
9:08 am

I have no problem with rival fans coming on here, if they have something halfway intelligent to say. Fact is, they are almost always throwing MUD. It gets old.

Smack

May 9th, 2010
9:20 am

Speaking of getting old, where’s Vol Fan?

I guess he’s off “lovin’ him some Phil Fulmer!”

Stay classy, Knoxville!

Spike

May 9th, 2010
9:31 am

Vol Fan.. Your last coach blew you off after fourteen months. Your new coach you hired had a losing record at LA. Tech! Your old offensive coordinator, now the DUKE coach, turned you down. Your only experienced QB quit. Yea, you guys reall got it goin’ on up there.

Dawg98

May 9th, 2010
9:45 am

1991 vs Clemson when the tomahawk chop went out over Sanford Stadium. Coach Goff told us in post-game that “We won, the Braves clinched, Florida lost, Tech lost, …and Jan Kemp was heading to jail!” Incredible night!

Bulldog59

May 9th, 2010
9:45 am

Vol Fans have to invade our space, 7-6 last season, and that seems to be the norm in K-town these days. Even the most avid Vol lovers see the writing on the wall. With DD at the helm, things won’t get any better. Bray, Simms, NANCE, are you kidding me?

Pago Pago Dawg

May 9th, 2010
10:03 am

Other great moments….when The Red Coat Band was The DIXIE Red Coats!

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

May 9th, 2010
10:08 am

All in good fun, guys. Just some friendly ribbing from your “neighbors”.

Inlet Dawg

May 9th, 2010
10:32 am

While living in Reed hall.me and a couple of buddies breaking into sanford and making it to the press box before setting off an alarm.It was the longest and farthest I’ve ever run.

George

May 9th, 2010
10:34 am

The 1976 Georgia-Alabama game was NOT a night game as the writer stated.

Fair and Balanced

May 9th, 2010
10:58 am

Why do TN fans write on this blog?

One, two, free, fo, fi, dem der Gator don't take no jive!

May 9th, 2010
11:04 am

What are they gonna write about on their bolg? How Kiffin hosed ‘em? How bad they are gonna be this year? How they had to get a UGA legacy’s son to TRY and salvage their program? Naw, they’ll just hate on everyone else!

BuLLdawg

May 9th, 2010
11:08 am

George,

Alabama, the night before the game, the entire city and all us students, were on Baxter Street.

YOU were not there, George.

The game happened EXACTLY as I stated.