Georgia had better be ready for Jackets
by Jeff Dantzler
photo by Rob Saye
Two of Georgia’s most memorable victories over
Tech are a pair of the Bulldogs most lopsided
triumphs in this ancient rivalry.
One of the all-time great days for the Georgia
people to smell the roses came on December the 5th,
1981 at Grant Field. The Bulldogs were coming off
of the dream season. Georgia captured the undisputed
national and Southeastern Conference championships
with a perfect 12-0 record in 1980. Though there was
no doubt that the Bulldogs were loaded with talent in
1981, a lot of it was young. Georgia graduated a
phenomenal senior class off the national championships
squad. Scott Woerner, Rex Robinson, Jeff Hipp,
Frank Ros, Chris Welton, Nat Hudson, Tim Morrison,
Jimmy Womack, Hugh Nall, Amp Arnold, Robert Miles
and Mike Fisher were the backbone and nucleus of that
most special of teams.
Opening with wins over Tennessee and
California, the Bulldogs then fell at Clemson
13-3. From there on out, Georgia pulled together
and dominated the opposition. The
Dogs won their next seven games in impressive
fashion, topping every opponent except for
Florida, 26-21 for a second straight season, by
double digits. Then came the coup de gras.
After beating Auburn 24-13 to win backto-
back SEC championships and ascend to No.
2 in the polls, the Bulldogs had two weeks off
to prepare for Tech.
It was no contest – and Georgia’s stars
shined very brightly on the flats.
On the first play of the game, Buck Belue
hit Lindsay Scott for an 80-yard touchdown,
and the rout was on.
“One Play and Call it a Day.”
Herschel Walker capped his record setting
season with an astounding effort. Walker carried
36 times for 225 and four touchdowns.
He had 12 runs for 10-plus yards and 15 that
resulted in first downs.
Kevin Butler nailed three field goals and
scored 14 points.
The Bulldogs stingy defense shut Tech down.
Having a national championship and
back-to-back SEC titles secured, Georgia
steamrolled the Yellow Jackets 44-7 to finish the
season at 10-1.
That was a happy day.
Georgia’s largest margin of victory in the
history of the series came in 2002. A powerful
Bulldogs squad was 10-1, ticketed for Atlanta
and the Southeastern Conference Championship
Game. There was concern of a look
Those worries were quickly put to rest.
Georgia hit a slew of big plays through the
air, Boss Bailey skied to block a field goal and
the defense was flat out dominant. The Bulldog
faithful had to pinch themselves. It was 34-0 at
The final was 51-7, and it could’ve been
worse. A couple of calls went against Georgia.
Not to get greedy, but had replay been around,
it would’ve been worse.
Mark Richt and this talented team did a
fantastic job of not looking ahead to a match-up
with Arkansas for the conference crown in the
Bulldogs first ever trip to the league’s title tilt. A
loss to Georgia’s most bitter rival would have
spoiled it. The Dogs responded with authority.
It was truly a grand day for the Bulldogs.
On a personal note, the next morning, I
sat outside of coach Richt’s office, waiting to tape
a radio show. He opened his door, looked at
me, and said, “you must be a pretty happy guy
This great Bulldog squad followed that
pounding of Tech up with a 30-3 drubbing of
Arkansas to win the SEC championship. Then
came a 26-13 Sugar Bowl victory over Florida
State to cap a 13-1 campaign that concluded
with Georgia ranked No. 3 in the land.
Richt’s challenge, ten years later, is to deliver
that same message to this Georgia squad.
The Bulldogs of 2012 sit at an identical 10-1
and are bound for the SEC Championship
Game, where, most likely, defending national
champion Alabama will await in what would
be one of the most important games in the history
of both programs.
If Georgia can handle Tech.
And make no mistake, it is the biggest
game of them all.
There is nothing more painful for the
Georgia faithful than losing to the Yellow Jackets.
There is nothing that Tech would like more
than to spoil the Bulldogs hefty dreams and aspirations
while continuing their excellent play.
In fact, Georgia and the Yellow Jackets are
two of the hottest teams in college football over
the past few weeks.
Tech has won three straight games – all by
double digits – and four of its past five. In fact,
if the Yellow Jackets get some help in the
Miami-Duke game, Tech will be bound for the
ACC Championship Game. The Yellow Jackets
clubbed the Blue Devils 42-24 at Grant Field
to move to 6-5 on the year. Frankly, they
should be 8-3.
Tech lost a heart-breaker in overtime at
Virginia Tech in the season opener. The Hokies
hit a long game-tying field goal at the end of
regulation to force the overtime. The Yellow
Jackets lost a second overtime decision to
Miami in a bizarre game. Tech fell behind 19-
0, led 36-19 and then lost.
Well a midseason shake-up of the defensive
staff and a two quarterback system has gotten
the Yellow Jackets untracked.
After barely escaping with a 29-24 win at
lowly Kentucky, Georgia put things together.
The Bulldogs got that signature 17-9 win over
Florida in Jacksonville.
Fearing a letdown, the Dogs fell behind
Ole Miss 10-0 the following Saturday in
Athens. But Georgia rallied for a 14-10 halftime
lead and then outscored the Rebels 23-0 in
the second half to win going away 37-10.
Next up was a 38-0 annihilation of struggling
Auburn to clinch the SEC East title. That’s
75 unanswered in the toughest league in the
Georgia Southern played the Bulldogs
very tough. The Bulldogs led 10-7 with Southern
on the move late in the first half, and due to
get the ball to start the second. But a critical
penalty inside the Georgia five, moved the Eagles
back. They missed a tying field goal. Georgia
then hit a couple of pass plays and got a
critical roughing the passer call. Aaron Murray
hit Malcolm Mitchell for a 29-yard touchdown
pass with four seconds to go in the half to provide
some much needed breathing room with
a 17-7 halftime cushion.
The Bulldogs got the break and then took
advantage. Georgia dominated the second half
and rolled to a 45-14 victory to improve to 10-
1 and set the stage for one of the most important
duels with Tech in a long, long time.
Georgia is hopeful that playing the
flexbone run by Georgia Southern will help
prepare the Bulldogs for Tech’s version.
Georgia had better be ready.
Georgia had better be at its best.
With everything that happened last week,
a win would be one of the most important for
the Bulldogs over the Yellow Jackets. A loss
would be one of the worst in school history.
In 1927, Georgia was 9-0 and bound for
the Rose Bowl, provided Georgia could beat
Tech. The Dogs lost 12-0. In 1980, Vince Dooley
brought in one of the surviving members of
that team to speak to his team, imploring the
eventual national champs, “don’t let them do to
you what they did to us!”
It’s pretty easy to figure out.
Losing to Tech means Georgia fans can’t
put up a Christmas tree. A win this year,
though, means that the hope for the grandest of
college football presents is still on every Bulldogs