Picking the Dawgs’ biggest plays of the season

Jarvis Jones strips the ball away from Florida tight end Jordan Reed in arguably the biggest play of the season for Georgia. (Associated Press)

Jarvis Jones strips the ball away from Florida tight end Jordan Reed in arguably the biggest play of the season for Georgia. (Associated Press)

Right before I went on vacation, I got a note from reader Gary Cody suggesting a Blawg topic: biggest plays of the year for the Georgia Bulldogs.

And Gary provided his own pick as a discussion-starter: “Kentucky just scored late in fourth quarter, kicked the onside kick and Connor Norman recovered it in front of the Kentucky kicker just before it rolled 10 yards to make it OK for Kentucky to touch. That was a perfectly executed onsides kick and Kentucky was inches away from recovering it.”

Had Norman not made that recovery, he notes, Georgia wouldn’t have been in the SEC Championship game.

Norman’s heads-up recovery of that onside kick was certainly a big play, but I’m not sure I can go with it for biggest of the year. I have a feeling the Dogs would have pulled out a win over the Wildcats even without that kick recovery.

I put the question to my brother Tim and my son and we all agreed the hands-down choice as biggest play of the year was Jarvis Jones stripping the ball away from Florida’s Jordan Reed as he was about to score, preserving the most important win of the season for Georgia in terms of the SEC East division race (as well as making it two in a row over our hated rival in Jacksonville).

But there are other big plays that you can make a pretty good case for, including:

  • Jones’ interception and return to near the goal line in the Missouri game, which he single-handedly dominated. That pick tipped a see-saw battle in Georgia’s favor in the important conference opener.
  • Richard Samuel sniffing out and stuffing a fourth quarter fake punt in the Mizzou game with Georgia holding a slim lead.

    Tavarres King's touchdown catch against Ole Miss was a definite season highlight. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

    Tavarres King's touchdown catch against Ole Miss was a definite season highlight. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

  • Aaron Murray’s 3rd-and-25 scrambling touchdown pass to Tavarres King to give Georgia the lead right before halftime in the Ole Miss game.
  • Bacarri Rambo halting an early Georgia Tech drive in the red zone by stripping the ball away from a Yellow Jacket back and returning it to midfield.
  • Murray’s 66-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Brown on a perfectly executed Rooskie play against Ole Miss. Shades of David Greene!
  • The blocked field goal scooped up and returned 55 yards for a touchdown by Alec Ogletree against Bama. If the Dogs had managed to win the game, that play would have been a big reason.
  • So would the interception of a Bama pass in the end zone by Sanders Commings that capped one of the best goal-line stands in Georgia football history.
  • And don’t forget the fake-punt pass for a first down from Artie Lynch to Commings in the Bama game.
  • Ogletree’s amazing interception in the Ole Miss game. As my brother said in ESPN-speak, it was a great athletic play made by an athlete showing his athleticism.
  • Malcolm Mitchell’s open-field running on that 45-yard touchdown pass against Florida.
  • Damian “Cinco” Swann forcing a Jeff Driskel fumble that Jarvis recovered to set up an early Bulldog score against the Gators.
  • Take your pick from Keith Marshall’s long touchdown runs. I loved watching him pull away from all the defenders against Auburn, but I think the 75-yarder against Tennessee (in a game where he also had a 72-yard scoring run) might have been the most impressive.

    Keith Marshall had several long touchdown runs this season, including this 75-yarder against Tennessee. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

    Keith Marshall had several long touchdown runs this season, including this 75-yarder against Tennessee. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

  • Todd Gurley breaking at least four tackles on a 29-yard touchdown run against Vanderbilt.
  • Gurley returning a kickoff all the way against Buffalo. Yeah, I know, it was only Buffalo, but it was still a great return.
  • Rambo’s interception in the end zone against Florida.
  • Shawn Williams’ fourth-and-1 stop against the Gators.
  • And while it probably doesn’t qualify as one of the biggest plays of the season, Ogletree’s slamming a Tech player to the ground in a wrestling-like suplex was certainly one of the more enjoyable plays of the season!

For me, those are the biggest plays for the Bulldogs, but there are certainly others worth singling out. What plays from the 2012 season will stick in your memory? And if the strip against the Gators isn’t the biggest, which play do you think deserves that honor?

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45 comments Add your comment

Dan

December 19th, 2012
10:47 am

Jarvis Jones stripping Jordan Reed on the UGa 5, saved the game, season, and kept Florida out of the title game

bill arp

December 19th, 2012
10:53 am

The J Jones strip, by far. But other than that, how about the tipped pass at the end of the SECCG? That, to me, is the biggest play…Not meaning to be a Debbie Downer, but man, the what-ifs….

DCJohn

December 19th, 2012
10:57 am

Rambo’s blitz when the Gators were setting up a screen was pretty clutch. If he doesn’t get there, a screen right at the blitz could’ve been the Gators going up 17-10 instead of us coming down the field and letting Malcolm Mitchell make it 17-9.

DCJohn

December 19th, 2012
10:59 am

Tree returned a field goal against Bama, not a punt.

Bill King

December 19th, 2012
11:07 am

DCJohn: You’re correct. Good catch!

DCJohn

December 19th, 2012
11:11 am

Another big play which I thought made a difference was Rambo’s sack when the Gators were trying to set up a screen to the side he was coming from. Big third down stop, and if he doesn’t get there, then the Gators could’ve gone up 17-10 on that play. He did make the play, and the ensuing possession was all we needed.

SSIgator

December 19th, 2012
11:47 am

When the game clock went to 00:00 and UGA finally stoped Eddie Lacy.

SSIgator

December 19th, 2012
11:52 am

Ogletree’s slamming a Tech player to the ground in a wrestling-like suplex was certainly one of the more enjoyable plays of the season
_____________________

And UGA fans are upset when Murray the Midget gets lit up? – Puleeze

Heath

December 19th, 2012
12:16 pm

SSIgator, why don’t you go to the website where your team is covered? I will give you the link

http://www.jortsarecool.com

GTDog

December 19th, 2012
12:27 pm

Geez, are we a little envious there SSIgator?

McDawg

December 19th, 2012
12:42 pm

and Game Ball goes to S. Williams for standing up and being a leader

Jay

December 19th, 2012
1:19 pm

McDawg, I think Williams lit a fire in the boys with the soft talk. Of course, I also think that Williams played soft in the SECCG. Was I alone thinking this?

LawDawg

December 19th, 2012
1:41 pm

I think you nailed the consensus number 1 pick, but in terms of pure excitement, I’d give it to Tree against Bama. All the plays against Florida have to be 2-5, though. If any one of those had not happened, we’d be on the outside of the SECCG looking in.

LawDawg

December 19th, 2012
1:43 pm

Jay – He didn’t play “soft”, he just did not have a great game. He, Tree, and Rambo all kept going for strips and arm tackles against the RBs. There was nothing soft, they just failed to play fundamental football.

Taco Meat

December 19th, 2012
2:59 pm

JJ’s strip in the Florida game was undoubtedly the biggest play of the year. Kept us from going another year without beating a ranked team!!

aaron in arizona

December 19th, 2012
3:32 pm

one of the top 3 plays of year should be samuel’s tackle on the fake punt. especially cause the score was still too close for comfort.

also, in an odd way, i think the td scored by Boo M. to escape a shutout at s. car. was very important. yes, we lost, but not “shutout.” that would’ve given much fodder to those saying a shutout lose should keep us out of the MNC even had we beaten bama.

aaron in arizona

December 19th, 2012
3:34 pm

should be “shotout loss”, no lose. sorry

aaron in arizona

December 19th, 2012
3:35 pm

should be “shutout loss” , aww forget it, i’m tired.

aaron in arizona

December 19th, 2012
4:11 pm

Bill, there was the picture article about the greatest UGA qb’s on ajc.com. What’s your take on that, who was the greatest UGA qb?

Rauch and Rakestraw, for the time, seemed to be very good qb’s, probably the best on the list. I don’t know much about them but for the numbers i’ve read about and seen. all those listed in the article are/were great college qb’s. i think for my lifetime i’d lean toward Eric Zeier as the best qb/career at UGA.

sure wish we had DJ Shockley or even Wayne Johnson for another year or two to see what could’ve been. thanks for your response.

Bill King

December 19th, 2012
6:51 pm

Aaron in Arizona:

On the subject of greatest UGA quarterbacks: First, I’ll leave Aaron Murray out of the discussion until his playing career is complete. Talking about his predecessors, as I wrote in the Blawg back in 2009, I have to equivocate a little by saying it depends on whether you’re talking Georgia’s greatest college quarterback or greatest quarterback, period. As a college QB, I don’t think you can argue with the cool reliability and winning record of David Greene. But if you take their entire career as a quarterback into consideration, not just their time in Athens, I don’t see any way Fran Tarkenton doesn’t top the list by a mile. Matt Stafford may be the most talented QB to come through Athens, but it remains to be seen if he’ll live up to his potential fully in the NFL. He left UGA not quite there yet.

Lee Osborne

December 19th, 2012
8:02 pm

I noticed Blair Walsh is having a near pro bowl kicking season , including a perfect 5/5 over 50yds. Has he ever commented what he corrected from his senior year and does this give Coach Richt some pause to reconsider his special team coaching position. Maybe Blair could at least give our guys some pointers this Spring.

Strat Cat Dawg

December 20th, 2012
9:52 am

Without reading anything except the headline: #5 The missed interception by Rambo on SC’s first drive #4 The INT on a tipped pass by Murray against SC #3 the punt runback for a TD against SC #2 Jarvis Jones’ strip near the goal line against UF #1 The last play against Alabama in the SEC Championship game. The 3 from the SC game put us in the hole we couldn’t dig out of. The other 2 determined the outcome of those games.

Joey

December 20th, 2012
11:17 am

“Ogletree’s slamming a Tech player to the ground in a wrestling-like suplex was certainly one of the more enjoyable plays of the season!”
******************************************
Woulda been a little more enjoyable if it had been GTBob . . .

Desert Fox

December 20th, 2012
12:13 pm

aaron in arizona

December 19th, 2012
4:11 pm

If Murray stays his sr. season and somehow gets help from young defense to play in SECCG and even the NC game and win, he’ll be the best GA has had at QB and erase the label of not being able to win the big one. Get some rest (-:

GTBob

December 20th, 2012
12:19 pm

Woulda been a little more enjoyable if it had been GTBob . . .

Not half as enjoyable as watching Aaron Murray get completely lit up by a clean block after throwing one of his patented horrible interceptions. The look on Murray’s face was priceless. I think his life flashed before his eyes.

WDE

December 20th, 2012
12:58 pm

GTBob only you of all the trolls in trolldom would say that was a legal block a 300lber put his helmet directly on Murray’s earhole and to you that is a legal hit,

GTDog

December 20th, 2012
12:58 pm

Again GTBob, you’re descending into darkness.

Based on the current rulebook, it was not a clean “block”. It was (1) helmet to helmet, and (2) the guy left his feet, making it a launch violation (which, in my opinion is a stupid rule).

You need to clean up your facts a bit if you want to keep the coveted “GT” tag…..

GTBob

December 20th, 2012
1:17 pm

You need to clean up your facts a bit if you want to keep the coveted “GT” tag…..

The blocker lead with his shoulder, and he clipped Murray’s shoulder before the helmet to helmet contact occurred. According to the officials on the field and the SEC offices it was a clean hit but I guess UGA fans know better than them.

GTDog

December 20th, 2012
1:22 pm

Actually, the head of SEC officials said it was a missed call, so I’ll go with his opinion. You’re obviously referrring to the fact that the SEC chose not to impose a penalty themselves, leaving that option with the school.

In no article have I seen a quote from anyone at the SEC offices stating that there was no infraction committed on that particular play.

Next…

GTBob

December 20th, 2012
1:47 pm

Well, whatever opinion you have on the call GTDog, there was no penalty called and no action taken by the SEC offices after reviewing it. I could just as easily say that the Ogletree body slam play was a clear penalty but it wouldn’t matter. If Murray doesn’t want to get hit after throwing an interception then tell him to drop to the turf or head to the sidelines. He chose to run towards the ball carrier and he paid the price. It will be a lesson learned for him.

WDE

December 20th, 2012
2:08 pm

GTBob the SEC actually did come out and say that a penalty should have been called…and you buffoon Murray never took a step in the ball carriers direction and even if he did its still helmet to helmet.

GTDog

December 20th, 2012
2:12 pm

Well, it’s not MY opinion. I’m merely restating the findings of the SECs Supervisor of Officials. In MY opinion, until the whistle blows everyone between the lines should be fair game, Unfortunately, the rules have changed in the past 5-10 years.

Regardless of my thoughts and opinions, the play in question violated the rules, and that fact was recognized by the SEC Office. And…..that’s pretty much what I stated from the beginning.

I’m not sure what Ogletree play you’re referring to. I do know that he had a hit on the Alabama QB that was also cited in the same report as a violation, and again post game punishment was delegated to the school.

Next…………….

GTDog

December 20th, 2012
2:14 pm

Just a quick question GTBob, so I can clafy my thoughts….you’re a Tech fan, I assume?

GTBob

December 20th, 2012
3:06 pm

Just a quick question GTBob, so I can clafy my thoughts….you’re a Tech fan, I assume?

Yes. I am a Tech fan.

GTBob

December 20th, 2012
3:08 pm

and you buffoon Murray never took a step in the ball carriers direction and even if he did its still helmet to helmet.

Yes he did. He was moving towards the play. Go back and watch the replay. It is still very arguable whether helmet to helmet is a correct call there also. The player lead with his shoulder and hit Murray’s shoulder before the helmet contact came. The only call you could make there was unnecessary roughness which is just a subjective call.

SSI and flat tire should get a room

December 20th, 2012
3:11 pm

My favorite would be a drunk Dawg punching SSI in the face in the tailgate area in Jacksonville.

The midget he talks about is 2-1 versus Florida and is light years better than Jeff “Don’t make me pass” Driskell.

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 20th, 2012
5:01 pm

@Bill King

Are you forgetting the suplex Rambo put on a techie just a few plays before that one? equally enjoyable to me.

Also Swann’s fumble return against Ole Miss, basically identical to the one Rambo had against tech and ultimately swung field position the Dawgs’ way.

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 20th, 2012
5:04 pm

I said it before and I’ll say it again. I had no problem with the no-call and no-suspension of Dial after the hit on Murray because, being a former defensive player, put in the same situation I would have done the same thing lol. LET EM HIT! Murray got up and played very well the rest of the way so I think he was just fine.

Thank God for Reggie Ball

December 20th, 2012
5:08 pm

Top 5 for me in no particular order are:

Mitchell’s catch and run TD v. Florida
Ogletree’s blocked FG return v. Bama
Murray’s Greene fake v. Ole Miss
Murray’s TD pass to TK v. Ole Miss
JJ strip of Reed v. Florida

GTDog

December 20th, 2012
7:06 pm

I remember now GTBob, computer science major, right?

I have one more question for you: What in the HELL do you care about a penalty in the SEC Championship Game between Alabama and Georgia?

Stupid is as stupid does

December 20th, 2012
7:41 pm

It’s a tossup for the biggest play of the year, with both plays coming in the SEC championship fiasco:

1. Murray stupidly not spiking the ball with 15 seconds to go.

2. Conley stupidly catching the ball at the 5-yard line instead of knocking it down.

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES!

SSIgator

December 20th, 2012
8:01 pm

Bill King -

Wow, I hope you are not being paid-per-comment-hit on your articles because there sure isn’t much money to fight over on this one. Merry Christmas to you and your family (hope Olivia is doing well at school) and a Happy New Year. Later Gator.

Spike

December 20th, 2012
9:47 pm

All great plays, but JJ strip of Reed is the one. No doubt about it.

Armydawg

December 21st, 2012
10:21 am

By far the biggest play of the season was Murray’s last complete pass of the Alabama game, for all the wrong reasons. It still is having an impact and caused all sorts of reactions.

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