Any win over Tech is great, but some are unforgettable

Georgia vs. tech helmetsA friend posed a tough question this week when he asked me to pick my all-time favorite Georgia win over Georgia Tech.

I had to give that some serious thought. For one thing, there’ve been so many! And asking a Bulldogs fan to single out just one victory over the Trade School is almost as unfair as asking a parent to pick a favorite among their children.

They’re all favorites.

Still, there are some that are more unforgettable than others. Last year, I listed my top 10 favorite wins over Georgia Tech. But, yes, I can narrow it down a bit more than that.

Like many UGA fans, I’ll never lose the warm glow that comes from remembering the 2002 game when Mark Richt’s eventual SEC champions completely demolished the Jackets 51-7 in Athens. And then there’s the great come-from-behind victory in 1978 when freshman Buck Belue came into the game with the Jackets leading 20-0 and engineered one of the most exciting comebacks in Georgia football history for a 29-28 win. Another exciting finish was in 1997, when Tech took a 24-21 lead late and started celebrating, only to have Mike Bobo bring the Dawgs downfield in a hurry, completing four passes in 40 seconds, the last a dagger in Tech’s heart to Corey Allen.

Still, if I have to single out one Georgia victory over Tech, it’s the game from my sophomore year at UGA.

Longtime classmate Andy Johnson led the Dogs over Tech in 1971. (University of Georgia)

Longtime classmate Andy Johnson led the Dogs over Tech in 1971. (University of Georgia)

It was Nov. 25, 1971, Thanksgiving night, and the game was being televised nationally back when that was a rarity. The Jackets had jumped out to a 14-0 lead and were ahead 17-14 at halftime. Led by Andy Johnson, a classmate of mine all through junior high and high school in Athens, the Dogs battled back in the second half to take a 21-17 lead, only to see Tech regain the upper hand, 24-21.

Finally, Georgia got the ball at its own 30 with 1:29 on the clock, and in one of the most memorable drives I’ve ever seen Andy led them downfield. Although known primarily as a running quarterback, it was the four passes he completed on that drive that made the difference, especially a clutch fourth-down throw to Mike Greene that gave the Dogs a first down at the Tech 25 with 48 seconds remaining. After another pass to Jimmy Shirer got the Dogs down to the 1, Jimmy Poulos went over the top to score with only 14 seconds left on the clock. Georgia won 28-24.

They don’t come any sweeter.

There’s no telling whether the 2012 Georgia-Georgia Tech game will be able to match that one for excitement, but it’s certain that only a handful of times in the past have the Bulldogs come into the annual grudge match with more on the line. Alabama, the SEC Championship game and a possible shot at a BCS national championship await.

The Jackets have had a disappointing season, reaching their nadir with a loss to Middle Tennessee, and yet thanks to Miami sitting out postseason play they’re also headed for their conference championship game.

It’ll be the second consecutive week that the Dogs have faced a triple-option offense and its attendant cut blocks, which ought to work in Georgia’s favor. Still, Tech has one of the nation’s most productive running games and the Jackets’ attack is more explosive than Georgia Southern’s because they’re much more likely to throw the ball when the defense least expects it.

Whether it’s Tevin Washington at quarterback or Vad Lee calling the signals, the Jackets are going to rack up some yardage; the challenge for Todd Grantham’s defense is making sure that those yards come mostly between the 20s, and that they don’t give up too many big plays.

This will be Grantham’s third go-round against Paul Johnson, however, so he knows what he needs to do. And perhaps having slogged through the first half last week against Southern before figuring out they needed to be more aggressive and get into the backfield to disrupt those option plays, the Georgia defenders will be able to get off to a faster start this week.

Tavarres King runs past Tech defenders in the 2011 game. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Tavarres King runs past Tech defenders in the 2011 game. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

On the other side of the ball, Tech doesn’t have one of the stronger defenses the Dogs will have faced this season. Last year in Atlanta, Georgia was playing without its two top running backs and was nearly as one-dimensional offensively as Tech, and yet the Dogs still moved the ball easily against the Jackets most of the day, with Aaron Murray throwing for four touchdowns.

This year, with Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, Georgia has a much more balanced attack. If Tech decides to sell out against the run, like Georgia Southern did, Murray and the Georgia passing attack are likely to have a big day.

Yes, there’s always the danger that Georgia will be caught looking ahead to the SEC Championship and beyond.

But that was the theme of last year’s widespread media predictions that Tech would upset the Dogs, and it didn’t happen. And I don’t believe such a letdown is any more likely this year.

After all, this is Tech we’re talking about. They don’t call it Hate Week for nothing.

Here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday. See you in Athens on Saturday. The Dawg Walk is set for 10 a.m. and the Senior Day ceremony will be at 11:46 a.m. So be there early and be loud!

Go Dawgs! Beat Tech!

Got a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

62 comments Add your comment

Southside Dawg

November 21st, 2012
10:47 am

Go Dawgs!!!!!!!

Macclenny_dawg

November 21st, 2012
10:49 am

Wreck Tech!!! Go Dawgs!!!

DIT

November 21st, 2012
10:49 am

Have to say the 2002 game just because it was a thing of beauty. Tech was so over confident and we just steam rolled the bugs! I thoroughly enjoyed that game.

JR

November 21st, 2012
11:03 am

I recall that game. Good choice.

I also remember a game during the Herschel Walker era at Tech where we faked the run to # 34. The Tech defense bit on the fake and left our receiver open by about 20 yards. I think the game was a rout.

Happy Turkey Day.

Scott

November 21st, 2012
11:17 am

Avoid the rush, HATE Tech early!

dean

November 21st, 2012
11:20 am

Good stuff Bill. That ‘71 game was my first-and only-GA/GT game. It turned me into a Dawg fan for life!

NCDawg

November 21st, 2012
11:25 am

Oh well it ate my post again… bad day.

NCDawg

November 21st, 2012
11:27 am

I wouldn’t mind a replay of 2002 Saturday.

norcrossdawg

November 21st, 2012
11:32 am

Hey JR..That was in 1981, a 44-7 ass kicking of the bees! 1st play of game, we fake it to Walker and Belue to Scott for 80 yds and a TD! HATE WEEK BABY!

gomdawg

November 21st, 2012
11:38 am

Enter your comments here

JPC

November 21st, 2012
11:39 am

I am a true and loyal Dawg Fan, but this year my law firm has had the pleasure of having Tech QB Tevin Washington work for us in an internship capacity. He is a great, humble kid who represents all that is right about college football. He has taken advantage of the opportunity given to him and has already obtained his degree. He appreciates the opportunity given to him to play major college football and told me this week how much he is looking forward to playing in a great football environment in Athens. He is an incredibly respectful kid and while I will be cheering without any divided loyalty for the Dawgs to crush Tech this weekend, I thought it was appropriate to share this information with my fellow Dawg fans.

JR

November 21st, 2012
11:50 am

Thanks norcrossdawg.

Blowing out the insects again would be a nice, early Christmas present.

bubba4dawgs

November 21st, 2012
11:57 am

GO DAWGS!! Step on dem bugs! De hedges belong to you and they ain’t got no business trying to lay claim to dem! The Nerds don’t have a strong defense, Murray and Company should have a strong day not to mention Gurshall. Watch out for the chicken crap cut blocks. Remember D’Angelo Tyson! GO DAWGS!!

ARdawg

November 21st, 2012
11:57 am

We own this State!

GO DAWGS!

Patched Tire On I-95 in Jacksonville

November 21st, 2012
12:01 pm

This shouldnt be even a game if the players come to play ball

UGA 40
Tech 7

Class A

November 21st, 2012
12:09 pm

JPC, you are correct, I am glad you shared that bit of info with us. Good to hear.

WreckHater

November 21st, 2012
12:34 pm

I agree Bill, 51-7 was definitely my favorite in the Mark Richt era which has seen the Dawgs absolutely OWN tech 10 out of 11 games.

Looking for a heavy dose of Gurshall on Saturday and at least 4 passing TDs by Aaron Murray.

Dawgs Roll.

Spanky

November 21st, 2012
12:35 pm

A bashing of the nerd-herd will always be sweet, but this year, I want to see the following:

1) 3 sacks for Jarvis(the maniac) Jones
2) BOTH Gurley and Marshall with TD runs, both over 60 yards apiece
3) Malcom Mitchell run a kick-off return to the house, to start the second half
4) Rambo and Swann both get pick-6’s
5) Morgan actually makes a field-goal without banking it
6) BOTH Tech fans leave by the end of the 3rd qtr

That can be done, right?

WreckHater

November 21st, 2012
12:36 pm

51-7 was by far my favorite.

Just an EPIC beatdown of the maggots!

Ed

November 21st, 2012
1:08 pm

Maybe it’s because I was an impressionable kid at the time, but no game in this series comes close to ‘78 in my mind. The ‘78 team is my favorite all-time non-championship winning UGA team. Coming back to beat Tech after that painful tie against Auburn was sweet. And we found out that Buck Belue was the man that day.

WDE

November 21st, 2012
1:13 pm

Spanky I think you badly overestimate the number of Bug fans in attendance for the game…

Pilfer Dawg

November 21st, 2012
1:34 pm

Spanky- All of that would be great but I think I would settle for a Dawgs victory one way or another.

Hairy Dawg

November 21st, 2012
1:53 pm

Vad Lee can throw the ball a bit. We’ll need to watch him.

Sammy Dawg

November 21st, 2012
2:05 pm

Someone should warn fish fry before the game that for every cheap chop block they throw at us, we will rip an ankle or knee of their ball carrier at the bottom of each pile. Go Dawgs! Kill the bugs!

NCDawg

November 21st, 2012
2:06 pm

Score doesn’t matter… just a “W”. But I’d really like to see a severe can opened on the bugs… because I hate them and to set the tone for the SEC CG. Set the ball rolling.

NCDawg

November 21st, 2012
2:12 pm

Tech does not want to do ANYTHING to make the Dawgs more engaged in this contest. Any dirty stuff will be like throwing jet fuel on a fire. Then the score might be worse than 51-7. The players would be begging to run it up on the bugs.

UGA Season Ticket Holder since 1986

November 21st, 2012
2:13 pm

Regarding being aggressive. Yes, I’d love to see Jarvis Jones come and smash the pitchman whether he has the ball or not on the first three possessions of the game.

Mobile Dawg

November 21st, 2012
2:27 pm

78 game is my all time favorite, we were sitting close to the throng of Tech fans. They were yelling at halftime, “what bowl is Georgia going to”, and answering ” the toilet bowl”. Got great satisfaction seeing their world collapse.

WDE

November 21st, 2012
2:33 pm

Just beat the Bugs ! Get the W that is all that matters this week ! Go Dogs !

East TN Dawg

November 21st, 2012
3:22 pm

‘97 game was pretty awesome. Munson called a great game that day too.

GTDog

November 21st, 2012
4:01 pm

JPC, nice comments on Washington. I personally know two players at Tech (Beano and Dieke) and one at UGA (Herrera). All three are nice, humble kids that I’ve known for quite a while.

I wish I could say the same of ALL players for both teams, but…you know there are rooten apples in every barrel.

My fave game was the one where Belue brought the Dogs back. I believe it was my first game I ever really watched, and I wasn’t sure which team was which for most of the game. But I liked Belue, and I liked the Georgia colors. That’s the day I became a UGA fan, even though I went on to become a Tech graduate…

Spanky

November 21st, 2012
4:04 pm

Hey guys, actually, score does matter!! We’re a 14 pt favorite..if we somehow win by 3, that could knock us down a rank or two……just sayin!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Natureboy809

November 21st, 2012
4:22 pm

How has no one said 2009? GT had upset us in Athens the year before. We were having a down year, while GT was ranked #7. We were playing in Atlanta. GT fans were expecting to not only win, but to blow us out. They though under Paul Johnson, they would be competitive in the series once again, and that they would even have the upper hand for a while. First drive, we never throw a single pass and run the ball right down their throat. “WE RUN THIS STATE” was born.

Joey

November 21st, 2012
4:23 pm

My favorite win over Tech is still when UGA was down 20-0, and freshman QB Buck Belue trotted in and lead the Dawgs back to a victory, punctuated by Dooley going for 2 and the win.

441North

November 21st, 2012
4:36 pm

Bill, I got chills reading your account of ‘71. Definitley my favorite win over Tech. I was 13, and remember it like it was yesterday. Being on TV was a rarity back then, which made it all the more special.

1969 Graduate

November 21st, 2012
6:12 pm

All victories over Tech are great. The best of these victories is the one coming up this weekend.

Ain’t it great to be a Bulldawg. My congratulations to the person above with the good sense to be a Georgia fan even though they graduated from Georgia Tech.

Go, Georgia Bulldogs!

UGA Season Ticket Holder since 1986

November 21st, 2012
7:34 pm

1979 is hard to beat. I stayed up all night outside the ticket window by myself at Sanford Stadium to get one of about fifty tickets that went on sale the morning of the game. “We Run This State” is probably second. The Bobo Drive may be third.
The Worst ripoff was poor Jasper Sanks who “fumbled” on the one after he clearly hit the ground.That playwas the most precise example of “the ground can’t cause a fumble” in the history of all college football. The refs made four HUGE mistakes on that one play. yeah, I know nerds/bugs, you didn’t like the pass interference call……………………………………..

Coastal Dawg

November 21st, 2012
7:46 pm

Great article, Bill.

For personal reasons I have to agree with you about the 1971 game. I was a senior at UGA and it was the last time I attended a game with my father who was sick and later died in 1973. My fiancee was aIso with us. I also had close friends on that team. I had my student tickets and it was bitterly cold. We had hot chocolate to try and stay warm. We were on the temporary wooden bleachers on the track directly on the goal line. I couldn’t see anything that happened on the other end of the field, but when Poulos went over for the score, I had the best seat in the house. Wonderful! See you Saturday.

Thanks……and Go Dawgs!!!!!!!

Buzz-off

November 21st, 2012
8:15 pm

I think the worse loss was about 20 years ago when GT stuffed us on 4th and 1 on the goal line. the next day there was a half page photo in the AJC of the last play showing all the GT players circled and numbered. There were 15 GT defenders on that last play and the refs didn’t catch it. I agree that another painful loss was the Jasper Sanks “no fumble”. The moral of this story is GT can win on malarky so kick the snot out of those bugs….show no mercy! Go DAWGS…make this another great memory!

kybodawg

November 21st, 2012
8:57 pm

my favorite was in the mid 60 in high school. two of my friends were big tech fans. i told them ga would win by forty, they said lets bet. i gave them 40 pts. and if memory serves me right we won 48 to 0.

buzzDawg

November 21st, 2012
9:38 pm

“Like many UGA fans, I’ll never lose the warm glow that comes from remembering the 2002 game when Mark Richt’s eventual SEC champions completely demolished the Jackets 51-7 in Athens.” Bill, I was present for that game. The Dawgs could do no wrong and almost every play was spectacular. Hoping for a replay this Saturday.

Outer Banks Dawg

November 22nd, 2012
12:27 am

I remember it was against Georgia Tech that Coach Mike Bobo called his first game as Offensive Coordinator. Bobo’s role had been growing all year and Coach Richt had a lot of confidence in him.

I remember that he called a pretty good game, and we won. I particularly remember a play late in the game when we were down near the goal line. Everybody in the stadium knew we wanted to run it. Bobo lined them up in a power I with two full backs. The guards pulled left on the snap, and we ran a counter trap inside with one of the fullbacks, and I swear it was the prettiest play. It either gave us the lead or iced the game. What year was this?

For all the criticism he gets, Coach Bobo is one heckuva offensive coach. He is a bulldog through and through. I think he has done an outstanding job with the evolution of our offense. The Pro Style offense he runs helps us tremendously in recruiting. It’s amazing how much better the offensive coordinator looks when the players make plays. The effectiveness of Gurley in the run game has been the difference maker in the offense. Marshall is dangerous. It makes the defense focus on our run and play honest. It’s amazing how much those guys are opening up the passing game. My god, freshman. And there’s 2 of them. And Malcome is not that far behind them.

Our receivers have been phenomenal. Excellent job catching the football. It’s a great day to be a Dawg! I couldn’t be prouder of the way this team is coming together. This senior class is a special group, so lets go out with a win over the Jackets on senior day!

Fair n Balanced

November 22nd, 2012
5:33 am

Just win this one. None more important or interesting than this one.

pops

November 22nd, 2012
7:41 am

1957 sapp breaks the drought

Daniel#12

November 22nd, 2012
7:43 am

Best part of the 1971 win was the classless Bud Carson’s TV show comment regarding Jimmy Poulous’ winning dive. “The referee said he scored so we lost.” Priceless!

Spike

November 22nd, 2012
8:03 am

1978. The most exciting game I ever saw in person. Pyburn out, Belue comes in. And the rest is history.

redandblack

November 22nd, 2012
8:07 am

I’ve attended almost every game since 1958. (a 16-3 win for the dogs by the way). Had to watch the ‘71 game on TV due to being out of town for the holidays (family function…damn it). But if I had to rank the wins, ‘02 was one of, if not the best. It was over at halftime and you would have thought Sanford Stadium was on fire (at least in the Tech section) the way those folks were running out of there. I still have the Sports section of the AJC (framed) with the memorable quotes by the late great Furman Bisher describing how “what bad form it was for the Tech Players to jump up and down on the “G” logo on the field, and UGA administering a whipping of MORTIFYING PORTIONS to Tech”.

If we had not taken our foot off the gas, I am sure the score could have been much, much worse.

fshrmnglf

November 22nd, 2012
9:08 am

The 71 and 78 games were great comebacks. What made them especially sweet for me is that the only tickets I could get for both were in the Tech section; for most of both games I couldn’t hear for the students screaming. It got very quiet at the end of the game. GO DAWGS!!!

HPDawg

November 22nd, 2012
10:19 am

Bill,

Thanks for the memory of the ‘71 game. In reading your account of it, I realized that Nov. 25, 1971, Thanksgiving night, was when I became a lifelong Dawg fan. We lived near Thomasville GA, and my older brother announced early in the telecast of this game that he was pulling for the Jackets. Naturally, little brother was having none of it and opted for the Bulldogs. I liked the T’ville Dawgs better than the cross town Thomas County Jackets, so it was an easy choice. I vividly remember Poulos diving over the pile on the goaline to score the winning touchdown…..

Go Dawgs, whip the Jackets again Saturday!