I will post something new regarding the approaching Auburn game later. But for now... here is a repost of a couple of my first ever blog posts from November 2005. (I find them still relevant) ...
MEMORIES FROM PAST UGA-AUBURN TILTS: Part I
I cannot exactly remember the first Georgia-Auburn game I saw, but I can remember the better part of the last 25-30 contests. Since my birth, in 1966, the Dawgs are 17-20-2 (update: 20-21-2) against the WarPlainsTigerEagles. Since Auburn holds only a 4 (update: 2 game lead) game advantage in the total 108 (update 112)times the teams have met, we have lost ground during my 39 year tenure as a loyal Dawgs fan. This is a disturbing trend that I would like to see reversed - starting Saturday.
One of the earliest memories I have of this series is back in the late '70s when both teams wore tear-away jerseys. I remember Ray Goff going through several jerseys running the old veer attack, but it always seemed like Auburn's backs were wearing paper jerseys the way the came apart with the slightest tug. Of course, after watching the big boys play, my friends and I would get out our oldest t-shirts for the next pick-up tackle football game. For good measure, we would go ahead and get a few rips started in the old shirts so that before the afternoon was over, we would return home in shreds. For some reason, I have no visual images of other SEC teams wearing tearaways like Georgia and Auburn.
My senior year in high school (Fall 1983), I was fortunate enough to be on a recruiting trip to the UGA-Auburn game in Athens and was in the locker room after the game the Dawgs lost (7-13) which cost us the SEC Championship. I don't remember exactly what Coach Dooley told the players, but I recall thinking that he was a great leader who commanded instant respect. I still do!
In 1986, I was a Midshipman at the Naval Academy, but I vividly recall watching the "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Hose 'Em" game at Chadwicks on K-Street in Georgetown with my friend Mark Haden from Ladue, MO. That year, my brother Drew (USNA '86; pictured at right) was in flight school in Pensacola and made the trip to the Plains with a few other Aviators in training. After Wayne Johnson led the Dawgs to a 20-16 win, the celebration was on. To keep the Georgia fans off the field, West Opelika's finest turned fire hoses on the crowd. My brother, being the way he is and all, got hosed Selma Style. I wish I had seen that! (UPDATE 9-25-07: Apparently this one paragraph from my blog keeps getting linked at al.com on an Auburn message board eliciting discussion from those who want to say Auburn is classless (which I have not done) and those who defend Auburn by stating that there were no firehoses, only sprinklers. Whether or not the water came from firehoses or sprinklers was not particularly germane to my paragraph, but in the interest of accuracy and to not inflame Auburn folks, I will stipulate that some Georgia fans were soaked with "sprinklers" rather than firehoses. Furthermore, I will stipulate that Georgia fans, my brother included, should have stayed off the field. Finally, I will stipulate that I never considered what happened as classless or unwarranted, I simply thought it was funny. That is all. It happened. It was funny to everyone I ever talked to about it. My brother got soaked. I laughed then and I laugh about it still. Life should not be boring - unlike my blog! Furthermore, within a few days of posting this series of recollections in November 2005, I posted this about Auburn fans. I certainly did not intended to throw any trash on Auburn anywhere in this blog and I am disappointed that one innocuous paragraph has been linked several times as an indication of some sort of Auburn bashing. But, it has been amusing seeing how much traffic my little blog has gotten "out of the blue" the past few days. I will also say that I was in Sanford Stadium in November 1995 when Auburn players and fans as well as Georgia fans destroyed our hedges, but it did not matter because the hedges were coming out to make room for the 1996 Olympic Soccer games. Now, don't even try to tell me that didn't happen because I saw many Auburn players walking around the field after the game with pieces of the hedges 3-4' long. Still, so what? The hedges were doomed anyway and that was the last game in Sanford that season.
One last note, while growing up, I worked on our farm and we used "sprinklers" to water our tobacco, corn, peanuts and soybeans. Those sprinklers operated at 110 p.s.i. and would shoot water 120 feet. I'm just sayin.')
In 1988, having graduated from Navy, I was a student at the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens - located not too far from Allen's Famous Hamburgers on Prince Avenue (a brief moment of silence please). Okay, I just spent the last 5 minutes thinking about all the good times at Allen's. I wish I had some of the brain cells back, but other than that, Allen's was good to me and my crew. Anyway... Georgia was playing at Auburn with a shot at tying for the SEC Crown. I stayed in Athens and we had a party at some girls' condo at Eagle (Something) off of South Lumpkin. The Dawgs were playing rather poorly. However, the beers were going down rather nicely. During the half-time, we went out into the parking lot and were throwing a nerf football around. With an excess of zeal, I chased after one throw and rolled my ankle on the curb like Tyrone Prothro. Ok, not quite that bad, but it hurt like I had gotten caught in a steel bear trap and started swelling instantly. The rest of the afternoon, I watched the game with my right foot and ankle submersed in the icy water of our beer tub.
MEMORIES FROM PAST GEORGIA-AUBURN TILTS: Part II
1994 - The Little Man's Streak is Over
In my first visit to Jordan-Hare, the Little Man, Terry Bowden, had led the Tigers to 20 consecutive victories. However, on a night when it seemed that Georgia would never tackle Stephen Davis, somehow Eric Zeier guided the Dawgs to a tie, which was a moral victory at a time when we would take any kind of victory we could get. Other than ending Deddy's Little Boy's winning streak, the game was not that memorable. What was memorable was watching former Glynn Academy great, Bobby Wilkes, scalp two tickets from a fan at face value, sell them for $50 each, then parlay that $100 into more tickets that he rescalped for $150. He did this in the span of 5 minutes while walking to the gate. Mind you, Bobby did not need a ticket, he was just grifting the Aubies for sport. This is the man you want selling your junk on Ebay.
1996 - The Game That Wouldn't End
From January to August, 1996, I took and passed the bar exam, proposed to Leslie McDaniel, graduated Law School, traveled to Europe for 30 days with fellow law grad Chris Hall, came back in time for the Atlanta Olympics and started working at the Atlanta Law Firm, Hawkins and Parnell. I don't suppose much of this is all that relevant except the year (1996) and the part about proposing to Leslie. Because I was so clearly attempting to marry up, her acceptance of my proposal was not a foregone conclusion. However, having been hornswoggled, she accepted and we set our date for December 14 since the SECCG would be played on December 7, and with a new coach (Jim Donnan) at the helm, you had to leave that date open just in case. Actually, the point of this wedding discussion is that our engagement precipitated the absurd, albeit well-intentioned, Southern ritual of having your mother's friends host several engagement parties in your honor during the weekends leading up to your nuptials. Inescapably, a party was to be held in our honor on the same night as the Georgia-Auburn game.
The game was at Auburn during the afternoon. The party was to start at a time well after the game would end...or so we thought. Instead, an epic battle was unfolding that would change the face of college football forever. The Dawgs trailed 28-7 as the fourth quarter began. My dad was sound asleep in his chair, mumbling something about "should've hired Erk, should've hired Erk." Anyway, while my dad slumbered, the Dawgs awoke, scored 21 points and forced a tie at the end of regulation. At some point, Rip Van Winkle also woke up to learn that the Dawgs were battling back. Speaking of waking up, it was during the first over-time, that Coach Donnan realized that he had Robert Edwards in uniform and inserted him into the football game, fresh legs and all. It was all Robert Edwards and Hap Hines in the four overtimes until Georgia finally emerged victorious by the score of 56-49. As a result of the long long long game, the NCAA enacted the overtime rule requiring teams to attempt 2 point conversions beginning in the third overtime. Also as a result of the long long long game, we were late for the party, prompting my wife to enact a rule that parties should never be planned on days of Georgia games unless it is a party to watch the game. I love that woman! Would you believe that she helped me devise a sneaky plan to miss her cousin's wedding in October of 2002 so I could watch Georgia defeat Alabama in Tuscaloosa? Yep, I love that woman.
Major sidenote to the 1996 Georgia-Auburn game: the greatest photograph of any collegiate mascot in the history of athletic competition was taken on this day. Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker, learned the meaning of "Let the Big Dawg Eat."
2002 - 70-X-Takeoff
Get the picture, Georgia must beat Auburn to secure the SEC East and advance to the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta for the first time since its inception in 1992. Two weeks earlier, the nasty Gators had provided the only blemish of the season, erasing the Dawgs' fleeting hopes of a chance at the mythical National Title. Sound familiar? The game got off to an ominous start when Ronnie Brown scampered half the field for an Auburn touchdown. Georgia trailed 14-3 at the half and it would have been worse if Sean Jones had not picked two Jason Campbell passes. Very Hoage-ish.
During the gloomy halftime, Mr. Jerry Rothschild of Columbus, a very brilliant man, commented to me that we were getting beat at the line of scrimmage and asked me what I thought. He had a look of profound puzzlement and despair. At a loss for any existential, metaphysical, philosophical answer, I simply replied, "If we can't beat them in the trenches, then I guess they are just better than us." Upon hearing these uplifting words of encouragement, Mr. Rothschild actually smiled and said, "I had not thought of that." It was an "Eureka" moment. Suddenly, we simultaneously came to the realization that if our team was not good enough to win the game, there was precious little we could do to change the outcome. So maybe my comment was a little bit existential, metaphysical, philosophical after all. It was kind of like the final scene in Breaker Morant when, staring at the firing squad, the Brian Brown character says, "Shoot straight you bastards." We were fully prepared to face our unfortunate fate.
But the Dawgs on the field were not done fighting. Behind a career performance from Oklahoman Michael Johnson, Georgia steadily came back. Still trailing by 4, with time running out, on 4th and 15 at the Auburn 19, Richt called a play the Dawgs had never, ever, run in a game and had scarcely practiced. 70-X-Takeoff. I suppose they drew the play out in the palm of David Greene's hand, but somehow, at least two players knew what to do. Greene pump-faked towards Fred Gibson (the odds on favorite to get the ball) and lofted the ball into the left corner for a jumping contest between the 6'-4" Johnson and the much shorter Horace Willis of Auburn. We were seated in the opposite endzone, about 150 yards away with a line-of-sight right down the Georgia sideline. Sadly, I can never tell my grandchildren that I saw Michael Johnson haul in the pass because the players on the sideline all crept out a few yards onto the field and totally obscured my view. But, from the eruption of the Red and Black nation all around me, I knew that it was a night for "Old Lady Luck". The Dawgs escaped with the 24-21 victory and went on to secure their first SEC Championship in 20 years. How 'Bout Them Dawgs!
You can hear Larry Munson make the call by visiting http://www.larrymunson.com/.