If it’s Georgia-Georgia Tech week, then you know certain things are happening. Mark Richt and the UGA coaching staff are assuring everyone that Tech really is still Georgia’s chief rival. UGA fans are fretting about whether the Dogs’ defense can suddenly switch gears to stop that quirky triple option. And Paul Johnson is being his usual snarky, sarcastic self.
This year, there are also the added distractions of worrying about what Georgia’s running game will look like against the Jackets and wondering whether the Dogs might get caught looking ahead to the SEC Championship game the following week.
On that last point, I think it’ll help Georgia’s concentration on Tech that we don’t yet know for sure who the Dogs will play in the Dome.
As for the question of whether the Jackets remain Georgia’s main rival, that’s complicated. There’s no doubt that for many Georgia fans (and players) the game against the Gators in Jacksonville means more since it plays a big part in who wins the SEC East. But there’s also no doubt that the Dogs and their fans hate losing to Tech worse than any other opponent. So, yeah, beating Florida is more important, but losing to Tech hurts more and beating them is such fun.
Fortunately, Georgia has had a lot of fun during the years I’ve been following the Dogs. So here, for those who might have missed it in the past, here’s an updating of my Top 10 favorite wins over Georgia Tech …
1964: Georgia wins 7-0 in Athens. The first of Vince Dooley’s 19 wins over the Jackets in 25 seasons was played on a cold, rainy day Between the Hedges. I had to listen to Ed Thilenius call it on radio but my Dad was there and came home damp but extremely happy. A Tech fumble was recovered by the Dogs at the 22, leading to a winning score by Preston Ridlehuber. The Dogs went on to the Sun Bowl while the loss to Georgia kept the Jackets out of the Gator Bowl, which made the win even sweeter.
1971: Georgia wins 28-24 in Atlanta. This nationally televised game on Thanksgiving night was highlighted by one of the greatest Bulldog comebacks ever. Tech had jumped out to a 14-0 lead and led 17-14 at halftime. Led by Andy Johnson, a classmate of mine in junior high and at Athens High School, the Dogs roared back in the second half to take a 21-17 lead, only to see Tech regain the upper hand, 24-21. The Dogs got the ball at their own 30 with 1:29 on the clock and in one of the most memorable Georgia drives of my lifetime Andy’s running and passing moved them downfield, with Jimmy Poulos going over for the winning TD.
1975: Georgia wins 42-26 in Atlanta. Another nationally telecast Thanksgiving night game on ABC saw the Dogs, led by Ray Goff and Glynn Harrison, run wild over Pepper Rodgers’ Jackets in freezing weather. I was watching this at my future wife’s family home just two days before our wedding, and their next-door neighbor was a big Tech fan. We promised to touch base after the game. I got to make the victory call.
1978: Georgia wins 29-28 in Athens. The game that cemented Buck Belue’s place in the Bulldog pantheon two years before the national championship. The Jackets were up 20-0 when the freshman quarterback got put into the game late in the first half. Helped by a great Scott Woerner punt return, Belue brought the Dogs back and threw a fourth-quarter scoring pass to Amp Arnold that gave Georgia the choice of kicking the PAT for a tie or going for two points and the win. Dooley the gambler won.
1981: Georgia wins 44-7 in Atlanta. The Dogs were riding high with Herschel Walker, but somehow that week the Atlanta sports media latched onto the idea that Georgia was ripe for an upset and we had to put up with a week of hype for the Jackets. Belue put an end to that nonsense on the first play from scrimmage with an 80-yard scoring strike to Lindsay Scott. Oh yes, and Herschel scored four touchdowns.
1993: Georgia wins 43-10 in Atlanta. Another Thanksgiving Day game on TV. This is the one where a brawl between the two teams broke out late after the Jackets had been mouthing off throughout the game. I can still see Goff pulling players out of the fray like they were children.
1997: Georgia wins 27-24 in Atlanta. Tech took a 24-21 lead and thought it had won the game, but Mike Bobo, who threw four touchdown passes that day, led the Dogs downfield, with four pass plays in 40 seconds. The folks in yellow and white still gripe about the interference flag that helped the Dogs along. I think everyone in my neighborhood probably heard the yell I let out when Corey Allen made that winning catch.
2002: Georgia wins 51-7 in Athens. Total domination from beginning to end for Richt’s SEC champions. Probably the most satisfying performance I’ve ever seen by a Georgia team against Tech. And still one of the best days I can ever recall in Sanford Stadium.
2006: Georgia wins 15-12 in Athens. Tech was the ACC Coastal Division champion and No. 16 in the country while Georgia was unranked. You would have expected Tech to be the overwhelming favorite, but the oddsmakers liked the Dogs by 2. Probably because Reggie Ball was Tech’s QB and no team could get in Ball’s head like Georgia. I remember having no doubt the Dogs would win this game simply because the Jackets still had our favorite QB. It didn’t hurt, though, that Paul Oliver never let Tech’s celebrated receiver, Calvin Johnson, become a factor. Georgia’s last scoring drive, directed by Matthew Stafford, was a classic (and you can watch it here complete with Larry Munson’s play-by-play). My daughter says this is the most exciting game she’s ever seen.
2009: Georgia wins 30-24 in Atlanta. I had not gone to Grant Field for a football game in decades, but my son took me as a belated birthday treat. Georgia uncharacteristically took the ball after winning the coin toss and set the template for the game by marching down the field on a 10-play scoring drive that saw the Dogs keeping it exclusively on the ground. Washaun Ealey ended up with 183 yards rushing on the night and Caleb King had 166, including a fantastic 75-yard touchdown run where the Jackets trailing after him reminded me of one of Herschel’s scores against Tech way back when. What a sweet walk that was from Grant Field back to the MARTA station amidst all those downcast folks in gold and white and blue!
There are many others to choose from, so feel free to share your own memories of great Georgia wins over Tech.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg