ATHENS — Bacarri Rambo saved one of his better games for his last in Sanford Stadium.
“I have a lot of great memories here between the hedges,” Rambo said after Georgia’s 42-10 victory over rival Georgia Tech on Saturday. “I’m going to miss this place. It’s very emotional, knowing it’s my last time playing here.”
Georgia’s senior safety made the most of the occasion, helping the Bulldogs assume fast and firm control of the game by twice taking the ball away from Tech deep in UGA territory in the first half.
On Tech’s first possession, already down 7-0, the Yellow Jackets were threatening to tie the game when Rambo stripped the ball from Robert Godhigh after the Tech A-back ran 19 yards to the Georgia 1. Rambo rambled 49 yards with the fumble recovery to mid-field, giving Georgia excellent field position to launch its second touchdown drive.
“It was huge,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said of Rambo’s forced/recovered/returned fumble.
“It was deja vu,” Tech coach Paul Johnson said. “Same kid made a play two years ago and took the ball away from us. You’ve got to give him some credit for doing it, but it was a killer.”
It might have been the difference between a 7-7 tie and a 14-0 UGA lead, and it might have been the day’s turning point, if indeed a game that ends 42-10 can have a singular turning point.
“I was just trying to keep them from scoring. That was my philosophy — we don’t want them to score,” Rambo said. “I had a chance to get a good strip. I just tried to make a play, and it happened.”
In the second quarter, with Georgia leading 21-3, Rambo again made an important play, intercepting a deep Vad Lee pass at the Georgia 5-yard line and returning it to the UGA 32 to launch yet another touchdown drive.
“Their quarterback out-threw his man,” Rambo said. “He really out-threw me, too. I had to run and go get it.”
The play earned Rambo a place in the UGA record book, matching College Football Hall of Famer Jake Scott’s school career record of 16 interceptions. The fine print: Scott’s 16 interceptions came in two seasons, 1967-68, while Rambo’s have been spread over four seasons — two in 2009, three in 2010, eight last season and three this season, which started with him suspended for four games.
“It means a lot because that guy is a legend,” Rambo said of tying Scott’s record. “It is such a special privilege, just to be mentioned with him.”
Rambo’s final game in Sanford Stadium ended with an impressive collection of statistics — eight tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, an interception — plus a fourth consecutive victory over Tech.
“He’s a play-maker; that’s exactly what he is,” teammate Malcolm Mitchell said of Rambo. “That’s all you can say about him. He just makes plays.”
He has two more games in which to make them for the Bulldogs, both away from Athens.
“This thing is going by fast,” Rambo said of his college career. “I mean, time flies when you’re having fun.”
– Tim Tucker, AJC
(Staff writer Ken Sugiura contributed to this article.)