It’s a given in the Bulldog Nation that all wins over Georgia Tech are savored. But some, naturally, are considered even sweeter than the run-of-the-mill victory over the Yellow Jackets (you know, most years).
I know I have favorites. And after last year’s game, where the Dogs were starting a backup QB and spotted Tech a 20-point lead, only to snatch victory away from a stunned bunch of Jackets, I wondered which kind of win UGA fans consider sweetest: spotting the Jackets a big lead like last year and then coming from behind to break their hearts, or a dominating beat-down from the start?
I put that question to several UGA fans this week and wasn’t surprised that the answer was unanimous: a beat-down.
As one fan put it, dominating the Jackets completely “crushes the spirit and keeps them in place, as opposed to thinking they almost won and could hang with the big boys.”
Thinking along the same lines, another fan said: “I go for the dominating beat-down. Tech should not feel like they are in the same class with Georgia and when they play us close it gives them reason to believe.”
Plus, another said, “it’s more fun to worry if our tailback is gonna get 150 yards instead of what it’s gonna be like if we lose this game.”
Yes, as much fun as dangling the hope of victory in their faces and then taking it away last year was, the benchmark for treasured Dogs-Jackets memories for most fans seems to be the 51-7 butt-kicking at Sanford Stadium administered by a David Greene-led team in 2002.
That doesn’t mean we don’t look back fondly on the close ones, though. Buck Belue ensured his place in the Bulldog pantheon long before Herschel Walker arrived on campus in the 1978 game, which also saw Tech take a 20-0 lead only to lose 29-28 after the freshman QB was inserted in the Dawgs’ lineup.
And then there was 1997, when Tech took a 24-21 lead late and the Jackets started celebrating prematurely, only to have QB Mike Bobo (now Georgia’s offensive coordinator) bring the Bulldogs downfield in a hurry, completing four passes in 40 seconds, the last a dagger in Tech’s heart to Corey Allen.
Plus, there’s my all-time favorite Georgia victory over Tech, the Thanksgiving night game from my sophomore year at UGA when my longtime Athens classmate Andy Johnson engineered a scoring drive with about a minute and a half on the clock to win 28-24.
Other favorites among the many wins over Tech over the years include the 7-0 victory in 1964, the first of Vince Dooley’s 19 wins over the Jackets in 25 seasons … Another nationally telecast Thanksgiving night game in 1975 that saw the Dogs, led by Ray Goff and Glynn Harrison, run wild over Pepper Rodgers’ Jackets 42-26 in freezing weather. … Georgia scoring on the very first play from scrimmage and Herschel scoring four touchdowns as the Dogs won 44-7 in 1981. … The 43-10 Thanksgiving Day win in 1993 that erupted into a bench-clearing brawl between the two teams. … The thrilling Matthew Stafford-led 15-12 win over the ACC Coastal Division champion Jackets in Athens in 2006 (during the Reggie Ball era, Georgia fans’ favorite period of Tech football history). … And the 2009 30-24 upset win by the Dawgs at Grant Field in Atlanta that established the “We run this state” template.
There are many others to choose from, so feel free to share your own memories of great Georgia wins over Tech.
I’ll be back Friday to talk about this year’s game. In the meantime, here’s hoping everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday. And if you’re going to Athens Saturday, the Dawg Walk is set for 10:25 a.m. and don’t forget that Mark Richt has called for a Red-out and wants everyone to get there early and be loud!
Go Dawgs! Beat Tech!
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg
Bill King is an Athens native and a graduate of the University of Georgia’s Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. A lifelong Bulldogs fan, he sold programs at Sanford Stadium as a teen and has been a football season ticket holder since leaving school. He has worked at the AJC since college and spent 10 years as the Constitution’s rock music critic before moving into copy editing on the old afternoon Journal. In addition to blogging, he’s now a story editor.