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)
- 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)
- 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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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg