CECIL BUFFINGTON'S 10 FAVORITE BULLDOG WINS OVER GEORGIA TECH
Musing with Cecil Buffington
My 10 favorite Georgia wins over Tech . . .
There are a lot of good games to choose from in compiling such a list. I started following football --- the Bulldogs and the Jackets in 1955. Since then, The Dogs twice have run off seven wins in a row while the Jackets have three times won two in a row. They also had one streak of three in a row over Jim Donnan. So there have been many more great days for the Red and Black in the in-state rivalry lately than there have been bad ones.
But these are the wins over the Yellow Jackets of which I’m especially fond …
1957: For eight straight years the powerful Yellow Jackets had won The Georgia-Georgia Tech game. It was a drought of gigantic proportions to a Bulldog fan. The 1957 Jackets were a 9-point favorite that day at Grant Field. It took a gallant effort by a bruising fullback named Theron sapp and a determined line led by Nat and Pat Dye to finally turn the tide on the Jackets. When Sapp blasted into the Grant Field end Zone early in the fourth quarter, the roar was heard all over Atlanta from the ecstatic Bulldog fans. Georgia held on for a dramatic 7 - 0 win. They were now climbing back on even ground with the Yellow Jackets. It was about time.
1964: Georgia won 7- 0 in Athens. The first of Dooley’s 19 wins over the Jackets in 25 seasons was played on a cold, rainy day Between the Hedges. I listened to Ed Thilenius call it on the radio. A Jeff Davis fumble ( Davis was a former Jefferson Dragon star ) was recovered by the Dogs at the Tech 22. This led to a winning score by Preston Ridlehuber. The Dogs went on to the Sun Bowl while the loss to Georgia kept the Jackets out of the Gator Bowl. As I have mentioned before, I always pull for Georgia Tech when they play anyone other than Georgia. I was disappointed that I didn't get to see Jeff Davis play in the Gator Bowl.
1971: Georgia won 28-24 in Atlanta. This nationally televised game on Thanksgiving night was highlighted by one of the greatest Bulldog comebacks ever. Tech had jumped out to a 14-0 lead and led 17-14 at halftime. Led by Andy Johnson, the Dogs roared back in the second half to take a 21-17 lead, only to see Tech regain the upper hand, 24-21. The Dogs got the ball at their own 30 with 1:29 on the clock. In one of the most memorable Georgia drives I ever remember seeing, Johnson's running and passing moved them downfield, with Jimmy Poulos going over for the winning TD.
1975: Georgia won 42-26 in Atlanta. Another nationally telecast Thanksgiving night game on ABC saw the Dogs, led by Ray Goff and Glynn Harrison, run wild over Pepper Rodgers’ Jackets in freezing weather. I watched the game on television.
1978: Georgia won 29-28 in Athens. The game that cemented Buck Belue’s place in the Bulldog pantheon two years before the national championship. The Jackets were up 20-0 when the freshman quarterback entered the game late in the first half. Helped by a great Scott Woerner punt return, Belue brought the Dogs back.He threw a fourth-quarter scoring pass to Amp Arnold that gave Georgia the choice of kicking the PAT for a tie or going for two points and the win. Dooley gambled and won.
1981: Georgia won 44-7 in Atlanta. The Dogs were riding high with Herschel Walker, but somehow that week the Atlanta sports media latched onto the idea that Georgia was ripe for an upset. It was a week of hype for the Jackets from the Atlanta papers. Belue put an end to that nonsense on the first play from scrimmage with an 80-yard scoring strike to Lindsay Scott. Oh yes, and Herschel Walker scored four touchdowns.
1993: Georgia won 43-10 in Atlanta. Another Thanksgiving Day game on TV. This is the one where a brawl between the two teams broke out late in the game. There was a lot of trash talking throughout the game by both teams. I can still see Ray Goff pulling players out of the fray like they were children.
1997: Georgia won 27-24 in Atlanta. Tech took a 24-21 lead and thought it had won the game, but Mike Bobo, who threw four touchdown passes that day, led the Dogs downfield. He completed four passes in 40 seconds. The folks in yellow and white still complain about an interference flag that helped the Dogs move into scoring position late in the drive. Corey Allen made the winning touchdown catch.
2002: Georgia won 51-7 in Athens. Total domination from beginning to end for Mark Richt’s SEC champions. Easily the most dominating performance ever seen by a Georgia team against Tech. While I felt somewhat sorry to see Tech beaten so badly, I think I took the stance that if Georgia was going to win so easily, they might as well pile up the points.
2006: Georgia won 15-12 in Athens. Tech was the ACC Coastal Division champion and No. 16 in the country while Georgia was unranked. You would have expected Tech to be the overwhelming favorite, but the oddsmakers liked the Dogs by 2. Probably because Reggie Ball was Tech’s QB and no team could get in Ball’s head like Georgia. I remember having no doubt the Dogs would win this game simply because the Jackets still had QB Ball. It didn’t hurt, though, that Paul Oliver never let Tech’s celebrated receiver, Calvin Johnson, become a factor.
2009: Honorale Mention: Georgia won 30-24 in Atlanta. Georgia uncharacteristically took the ball after winning the coin toss and set the template for the game by marching down the field on a 10-play scoring drive that saw the Dogs keeping it exclusively on the ground. Washaun Ealey ended up with 183 yards rushing on the night and Caleb King had 166, including a fantastic 75-yard touchdown run where the Jackets trailing after him reminded me of one of Herschel’s scores against Tech way back when.
I had to move a couple of games down to “honorable mention” status in order to get these games mentioned. My second "Honorable Mention" Game was the 1995 game, Georgia won 18-17 in Atlanta — coincidentally, the last time the Dogs had to beat Tech in order to become bowl-eligible. Hines Ward was still at QB and led Georgia back from 14 points down, with Kanon Parkman’s late field goal providing the difference. Ray Goff may not have been highly thought of as a coach, but he still managed to win five straight over Tech.
There you have them. My top 10 ( or 12 ) Georgia wins over the years against the Yellow Jackets.
I think Georgia will beat Tech this Saturday. It will be a very close game. Maybe a field goal difference or less. I maybe understating the facts when I say "It's been a tough year for the Bulldogs", but a win over Tech and a 9 - 3 record in 2015 will really be another fairly good year record wise.