Rivalry may be one-sided, but Dogs-Gamecocks usually means a thriller

Herschel Walker outran the great George Rogers in 1980. (Associated Press)

Herschel Walker outran the great George Rogers in 1980. (Associated Press)

You know the drill: As the SEC opener for the Dogs, South Carolina almost always provides a tough early-season test and the games usually are close, hard-fought affairs that turn on a key play or last-minute heroics like last year when Rennie Curran broke up what looked like a touchdown pass for the Gamecocks with seconds remaining on the clock.

But as host Bobby Hartin of ESPN Radio 910 in Charleston noted when he and I were talking about the closeness of the games on his “FanTalk” show earlier this week, the border rivalry between the two schools has always seemed to mean more to Gamecocks fans than to the Bulldog Nation. Since South Carolina joined the SEC, I’ve heard Gamecocks fans say the Dogs have become just about as big a rival for them as Clemson. Meanwhile, on the Georgia side, fans tend to rank the Gamecocks behind Florida, Tech, Auburn and Tennessee — unless they live over in the Augusta area, where Carolina looms larger in the debate.

Still, there’ve been quite a few memorable Georgia-South Carolina games — some of which Dogs fans relish and a few we’d rather forget, like the 2007 loss in Athens that cost Georgia an SEC championship and a shot at the BCS title.

It’s not just a recent thing, either. The only blemish on the season for the 1959 SEC Champion Dogs was a 34-14 loss in Columbia that wouldn’t have been that close had Fran Tarkenton not thrown two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. Fumbles were the gremlin that day. And then there was the 2000 game at Williams-Brice Stadium that proved to be the first nail in Jim Donnan’s coffin as Heisman Trophy candidate (that’s what they called him at the time) Quincy Carter threw five interceptions in a 21-10 debacle. Noted Donnan after the game: “Obviously, we have some real problems offensively.”

The day David Pollack made himself a star. (Associated Press)

The day David Pollack made himself a star. (Associated Press)

Other SEC championship Georgia teams had more success against Carolina than the ’59 Dogs, but barely. In 1966, UGA won 7-0 on a quarterback sneak by Kirby Moore. In 1968, Mike Cavan threw a touchdown pass to Kent Lawrence to give Georgia a 21-20 win. In 1976, the Dogs fell behind 6-0 before finally prevailing 20-12. In 2005, the Dogs held on for a 17-15 win over Steve Spurrier thanks to a failed Carolina two-point conversion.

And then there were probably the two most celebrated Georgia wins over South Carolina. The first was the nationally televised 1980 duel in Athens between a pair of Heisman-winning running backs, George Rogers and Herschel Walker. On their way to a national championship, the Dogs prevailed that day thanks to two Rex Robinson field goals and a timely Rogers fumble. And then in 2002 David Pollack amazed everyone and made himself a legend with his improbable interception while sacking the S.C. quarterback in the end zone.

The best day of Paul Gilbert's career came against South Carolina. (UGA)

The best day of Paul Gilbert's career came against South Carolina. (UGA)

A couple of other Georgia-South Carolina games are notable because of major comebacks for the Dogs. The first game I ever watched from the upper level of Sanford Stadium was the 1970 match against the Gamecocks. Georgia was trailing 21-3 when Cavan got hurt and Vince Dooley had to insert the backup quarterback, Athens’ own Paul Gilbert (who later would sit in front of me at Georgia games for many years).

It was a career game for Gilbert, who completed 13 of 20 passes for 283 yards, three touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions in leading the Dogs to a barn-burning 52-34 victory. Said Dooley after the game: “I have never seen a more tremendous performance than Paul Gilbert gave today. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of a team or an individual.”

And then there was the 2004 game in Columbia that my son attended. Georgia stunk in the first half and fell behind 16-0. But David Greene engineered a second-half comeback capped off by a 22-yard pass to Reggie Brown for a 20-16 win.

Despite the score, it sort of felt preordained that the Dogs were going to pull it out, as they have most of the time against the Gamecocks. As soon as Georgia began coming back, the noisy Carolina crowd shut up, my son recalls. And watching on TV, you could see it in the faces of the Gamecocks players: They knew they were going down.

Can this year’s Dogs, even without A.J. Green, find a way to similarly silence the Williams-Brice crowd and that amplified rooster call on Saturday? History tells us not to bet against them.

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182 comments Add your comment

Martin the Calvinist....and Dawg fan

September 10th, 2010
10:55 am

Man, I hope you are right. I think even w/o AJ Green, we should win, we have more overall talent. But you can’t count out the ole ball coach. It’ll be a close one. I’m hopin’ it’s the Dawgs with the larger score when it’s over. Go Dawgs! No matter what!

warlock

September 10th, 2010
10:57 am

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DAWWWWWWWWGGGGGGSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dawgs Run This State!

September 10th, 2010
10:58 am

This game won’t be thrilling unless you are a UGA fan. The defensive package is going to be opened up and SC will have costly turnovers.

RxDawg

September 10th, 2010
11:00 am

Nice summary of the UGA/USC rivalry.

South Jax Beach Bulldawg

September 10th, 2010
11:03 am

Gary

September 10th, 2010
11:08 am

NO. We do not have the skill on the D line or the secondary to handle the offense. Garcia will burn us byt scrambling away from the sack and finding his open man. The being behind early will cause Murray to throw some he shouldn’t. Expect 2 interceptions giving SC short yardage and putting too much pressure on an inexperienced defense. THe running game will be ineffective because the Oline will not be able to create the holes and SC is too fast to run around. COnfusion will cause at least 1 fumble and a scak will lead to another. 4 turnovers and week play by both sides make it a one sided game and an ugly one. Georgia 13 USC 38. Tell me I’m worng than come back on Sunday and apologize. We just are not going to be good this year. (Add Colorado, Florida, Auburn, and Yech to the losses this year and say good by to Richt and welcome back to the RayG years when Georgia was irrelevant in SEC football. We will replace Richt with a Rich Rodregez type a regret it for four or five years) But I will still sit in the Stadium and watch like I do every year. Just glad this game is away. Hate loosing at home.

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Dawgs Run This State!

September 10th, 2010
11:11 am

Gary,
Don’t hide the fact that you went to tech for a year then failed out. No UGA fan could be that depressing.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 10th, 2010
11:12 am

Bobby Hartin’s radio show is the BEST local radio sports show in a medium sized market I have heard. I know longer live in the area, but Bobby is one of the personable individuals on the radio and his Sports Bar is great on College Saturdays!

True Dawg

September 10th, 2010
11:12 am

I feel pretty good we can inch this one out-Charles needs to have a big day since Green is gone

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 10th, 2010
11:12 am

know = no…good grief!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

September 10th, 2010
11:14 am

I agree Charles in the Hybrid role needs about 10 catches for about 130 and get in the endzone once or twice.

Vick=Dog killing thug

September 10th, 2010
11:14 am

Lose to Colorado ? You got to be kidding me?

30-24 Dawgs - We Run This State!

September 10th, 2010
11:15 am

Looking forward to CTG turning the Dawgs loose!

If Dawgs can run for half of the 339 yards they put up against gt they should be fine.

GATA!

NC Dawg

September 10th, 2010
11:15 am

I remember the game in 1991 in Athens when long-haired Tannyhill came in and beat us. I was in the student section, and we were chanting “TANNYHILL…..TANNYHILL”. He actually faced the students and put his hand up to his ear hole – as to say “yea, I hear you and I’ll keep throwing touchdowns”. It was back and forth all the way. We had the late lead but they came back to win.
A point of clarity…I don’t KNOW it was 1991 or if Tannyhill is spelled right..A lot of those years are fuzzy. But I do know we won the tailgate, lost the game, and I went to bed with a pretty blonde. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. Oh happy days…….

G'Vegas Dawg

September 10th, 2010
11:17 am

The 2000 Game was not a Williams Brice, it was at home….

Tech Sucks

September 10th, 2010
11:17 am

30 out of the last 40
7 out of the last 8
4 out of the last 4 in Carolina.

What do you think will happen?

Dawgs win.

I'm gonna jum off a bridge...

September 10th, 2010
11:17 am

after that comment Gary…how do you find the will to wake up in the morning with that outlook in life? That’s the same loser attitude that was dominant among the bulldawg nation between Dooley and Richt and a contributing factor to the cloud that hung over the program with Goff and Donnan.

Grab your balls, man up and have some hope! But don’t bring that negativity into any stadium the Dawgs are playing in! Just stay home and drive your family crazy with that crap you’re spewing!

Ty

September 10th, 2010
11:17 am

We beat Vandy-- yeah!

September 10th, 2010
11:17 am

I wish it was 1980… I miss Herschel Walker

Tech Sucks

September 10th, 2010
11:18 am

I think Caleb King just scored another touchdown against Tech.

G8R

September 10th, 2010
11:20 am

South Carolina by a TD tomorrow!

Go Gators.

The Ghost of Wally Butts

September 10th, 2010
11:21 am

Good article – reminds me that Paul Gilbert, K. Moore, K. Lawrence, H. Walker, F. Tarkenton and so many others from “back in the day” would have NEVER considered selling rings on e-bay…..or dancing on the sideline, especially while behind in the game….or selling a bowl jersey to the highest bidder…..or whining about being suspended for any of the above.

I don’t know which is more sad, the fact that these things are occurring, or the fact that our coach sees not apparent trend among his players’ behavior.

What Up?

September 10th, 2010
11:25 am

Vikings Asher Allen named his school as Tucker High instead of UGA in last nights game introductions. Ashamed???

Destin Dawg

September 10th, 2010
11:25 am

Steve Spurrier will have some “Trick eration” for sure.. it won’t be easy.. Belin and Lakatos have had positive defensive plans vs. the Chickens in the past.. .. so we won’t be surprised,…. balanced attack.. Ealey should be pumped for a big effort.. WR’s and TE’s will step up in honor of AJ…. GO DAWGS !!!!

DP

September 10th, 2010
11:26 am

“like the 2007 loss in Athens that cost Georgia an SEC championship and a shot at the BCS title”

No, as you well know it cost Georgia a spot in the SEC championship game against LSU.

SSIgator

September 10th, 2010
11:26 am

Halftime entertainment to be provided by the Red Panty Marching Band and they will be performing that old 60’s classic “Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke.

Incorrect

September 10th, 2010
11:27 am

G’Vegas Dawg,
The 2000 game WAS in Columbia. Even year games are in Columbia, odd years in Athens. Hence, 2010 and the game is in Columbia. Recall, as well, that the USC fans tore down the goal posts after the win that year.

Dawg Tell

September 10th, 2010
11:27 am

Just a gut feeling I have today–Dawgs by14. I know always close game. Something is in the air today;it is called chicken S#it !!! Damn the smell is bad.

Andrew

September 10th, 2010
11:29 am

The 2000 Game was in Williams – Brice. I was there for every miserable minute of it.

takedowndawg

September 10th, 2010
11:31 am

gary, and you are pulling for whom? No DAWGS need “fans” like you. Everyone has known one of many “wet blanket” characters in their life. Those whose negatives fill up a gym just by stepping into the place. Yuck. Go away gary. Go support and cheer for GT. Maybe they would enjoy the encouragement your brand of support provides.

Gary

September 10th, 2010
11:32 am

Actually, after Dooley when we beat a Spurrier Florida in Jax and Wisconsin coach JD in the outback bowl in 1997 still seems like one of the best years ever. No one saw that coming. Got to walk tall in Jacksonville for a year after that. The proplem today is that folks are so into the recruiting and ESPN and Radio talk about football constantly people loose a little bit of reality. Too much team hype. We were not that good last year and I have not seen any evidence yet that Murray will be better. I think they would have played him last year if he was.

SSIgator

September 10th, 2010
11:33 am

And for the fans added enjoyment, The Red Panty Marching Band will invite everyone to join in singing that other old classic “I Fought the Law and the Law Won” by the Bobby Fuller Four.

Cobb Dawg

September 10th, 2010
11:33 am

Bill, I would argue that the loss to Tenneessee is what sealed our fate in 2007. Win that game, and we go to the SEC game even with the loss to SC.

takedowndawg

September 10th, 2010
11:36 am

gary, I’ll bet you family “really” enjoys spending time with you!

Jeremy Wallace

September 10th, 2010
11:37 am

My dad still lives in Augusta and i swear this is the first time I’ve ever heard him say anything other than being “nervous” about the USC game.He’s predicting a GA blowout! Here’s to your unusual hopefullness pops. Can’t wait to actually see the game on TV(nationally televised that is)!Lookin’ forward to seeing a GA defense that shows up for 4 quarters.

Dawg in NC

September 10th, 2010
11:39 am

For What’s Up? The reason Asher Allen didn’t identify UGA was because he never graduated from UGA. At least he was man enough to acknowledge that he never finished his degree. It’s like putting a college on your resume that you never graduated from. At least he was honest

turkeycaller

September 10th, 2010
11:41 am

Feel the team will be ready to play and they better be. Tough place to play and a good team you’re competing against. OL hopefully looks better in regards to the rushing game. Little concerned there despite the hype. If the defense is for real, and they did appear to be well coached up, our season begins to shape up. 4th game you sorta know about what you have. 7th game you are likely what you are. Containment and no turnovers wins this game.

savh dawg

September 10th, 2010
11:42 am

Looking forward to supporting the Dawgs in Columbia on Saturday. Not sure what Gary is smoking, but the secondary is made up of some great athletes being coached up by a great secondary coach. This will be the difference compared to the lackluster defense that we saw for last year. Let’s hope the days of no pressure on the QB are over. By the way, Oklahoma secondary gave up tons of yardage last weekend ( good job Martinez ). See ya in Columbia, Go Dawgs

Dawg Tell

September 10th, 2010
11:44 am

And for the fans enjoyment at the swamp today the Gator Band will pay tribute to Brandon Spikes,our great alumni with his famous song “I’m bringing sexy back”

Smokewagon

September 10th, 2010
11:45 am

What’s Up – I noticed that Tucker High reference by A. Allen also. Seems to be a trend these days. Remember that Hines Ward intoduced himself from F.P. H.S. before their last super bowl.

Mr. Dawg

September 10th, 2010
11:46 am

Year in and year out you can look back and point at the South Carolina game as a determining factor in how the Bulldogs season turned out. This year will be no different. Scares me every year regardless of how good or bad either team is.

Smartest Bulldog

September 10th, 2010
11:51 am

Smartest Bulldog says A.J. Green is NOT the Smartest Bulldog. Are you? http://www.smartestbulldog.com

Gary

September 10th, 2010
11:51 am

You guys can drink all the kool aid you want but we suck and we will never be as good as Florida or Alabama. 1980 was the last year I felt good about our program. You guys need to grow up and face reality. We are Tier 2 football.

82Dawg

September 10th, 2010
11:55 am

@What Up? …as did half of the other players, get a life and stop trying to stir the pot.

DogDayAfternoon

September 10th, 2010
11:57 am

This ol gary here ain’t no georgia fan. Clearly a troll from the swamps of florida. If you were a homeless man on the street begging for change, you know what i’d give you? Hope Gary….Hope.

82Dawg

September 10th, 2010
11:59 am

@SSIgator …has Florida figured out how to snap the ball yet?

Dawggrl

September 10th, 2010
12:01 pm

Great article Bill, I was just talking about that David Pollack play last night. I am excited for the game – I think we have an improved team from last year (especially defense) and I can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow. Go Dawgs!

Flyin' Dawg

September 10th, 2010
12:03 pm

Guys, Gary is a Techie Homer. Pay no attention to him.

Gary

September 10th, 2010
12:07 pm

Flyin’ Dawg,

No I am a true fan not some blind loyalist. Urban Meyer came in about the same time and let’s compare programs. Unlike you guys, I am a true fan and think with our talent we should be in the top group. I don’t hear ESPN talking about us like they do Texas, Alabama, Florida, etc. Unless it is about our arrest track record.

Remember, if you expect the worst you will never be disappointed.