Georgia Football: Power Ranking the 10 Most Memorable Games in Bulldogs' History

Brian Jones@Brian_L_JonesContributor IJuly 3, 2013

Georgia Football: Power Ranking the 10 Most Memorable Games in Bulldogs' History

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    If everything goes according to plan, the 2013 season should be a memorable one for the Georgia Bulldogs.

    That means that there will be some memorable games that fans will be talking about for decades to come.

    Speaking of memorable games, there have been quite a few of those in the many years of Bulldogs football, which has dictated the direction of the program. Most of them have been memorable in a good way, but there have been a few that have been memorable for the wrong reasons.

    The following list will feature the 10 most memorable games in UGA history. There will be a few you that will not agree with the list, but this is just one man’s look at the games that have stood out and made an impact on the Bulldogs players, fans and coaches.

    So let's get things started, shall we?

No. 10: 2012 SEC Championship Game vs. Alabama

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    I know this game ended as a loss for the Bulldogs, but very few fans can deny that this game was arguably the best SEC Championship Game in its history.

    Nobody was giving the Bulldogs a chance to win the game as the Alabama Crimson Tide came into the game as a touchdown favorite. The winner of the game would not only win the SEC Championship, they would also have the right to play for the national title.

    The Bulldogs came out swinging, and at one point, they led by 11 midway through the third quarter. Alabama settled down after that as they let running backs Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon do the dirty work.

    Both Lacy and Yeldon rushed for a combined 354 yards and three touchdowns to give the Tide the 25-21 lead. The Bulldogs would counter as Todd Gurley scored early in the fourth quarter to help the Bulldogs regain the lead.

    But the Tide would strike again, this time through the air, as AJ McCarron threw a touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 3:15 left in the fourth quarter.

    Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs had one last drive, and they almost were able to cash it in. But when Chris Conley inadvertently caught a Murray pass after the ball was deflected by an Alabama defender at the 5-yard line with no timeouts left, the Crimson Tide narrowly escaped and became SEC champs.

    After the game, Nick Saban told ESPN that he almost "had a heart attack." On the opposite side, Mark Richt told ESPN that they just "ran out of time."

    But both coaches and players from both teams can agree that the two best teams in the country gave everything they had for 60 minutes, and it will be considered as one of the greatest college football games ever played.  

No. 9: 2007 vs. Auburn

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    What made this game memorable was not so much the beating Georgia put on Auburn, but the Bulldogs did it with a different style.

    The Bulldogs surprised everyone when they dawned the black jerseys, which gave the Bulldogs extra motivation to take down the Tigers.

    Georgia was ranked No. 10 in the country, and they needed to keep winning in order to stay in the SEC and national title race. Auburn was ranked No. 18 in the nation and was looking to stay in the hunt for the SEC West title.

    With the help of Knowshon Moreno and a raucous Bulldog crowd, the Bulldogs took care of the Tigers, 45-20.

    Like I said, it wasn’t so much the actual game being played that made the game memorable, it was the atmosphere that fans won’t forget. Over 92,000 at Sanford Stadium were rocking out to AC/DC’s “Back in Black” as well as Soulja Boy. In fact, the announcers were getting into the dancing as well (Check out the video above). 

No. 8: 2007 vs. Florida

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    If the 2007 Auburn game was memorable, then the 2007 contest against Florida has to be mentioned as well.

    The Florida Gators were the defending national champions, and Tim Tebow was on his way to winning a Heisman Trophy.

    But the Bulldogs had other plans.

    When Moreno scored the first touchdown of the game, the entire team celebrated with him in the end zone. That fired up the entire Bulldog nation which led to a 42-30 win over the No. 9 Gators.

    That celebration led to a chain of events over the next few seasons which favored the Gators. In 2008, Florida dominated Georgia, 49-10, and coach Urban Meyer rubbed it in when he called two timeouts in the final 44 seconds of the game.

    In 2009, Florida would, once again, dominate Georgia, and that game stood out because Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes would gouge the eyes of Georgia running back Washaun Ealey.

    The Florida-Georgia rivalry was always fierce, but the 2007 game took it to an entirely new level. 

No. 7: 2001 vs. Tennessee

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    This was another game where the Bulldogs were the underdogs, but they made an improbable rally to take the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers.

    After being down by 11 in the first quarter, the Bulldogs came roaring back in the second quarter to tie the game going into halftime.

    The Bulldogs broke the tie with a Billy Bennett field goal, but the Vols would answer with a 62-yard touchdown pass to Travis Stephens from Casey Clausen.

    Then magic would happen for the Bulldogs.

    The Bulldogs were able to move down the field on the Vols in the final series of the game. And with five seconds left, David Green threw a touchdown pass to Veron Haynes to give the Bulldogs the 26-24 win.

    It was the first signature win for Richt, and it also provided one of the best Larry Munson calls in the history of the program. 

No. 6: 2002 vs. Auburn

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    This was another signature win from Richt, and it was a game that led the Bulldogs to their first SEC title in 20 years.

    The Tigers actually led the Bulldogs, 10-3, going into the first half. But led by David Greene, the Bulldogs rallied to score 21 points in the second half en route to a 24-21 win.

    But the last touchdown by the Bulldogs is what made the game so memorable.

    After three consecutive incomplete passes and a false-start penalty, the Bulldogs were facing a 4th-and-15 with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter. That is when Greene threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Michael Johnson to give the Bulldogs the win.

    That score snapped the Tigers three-game win streak over Bulldogs, and it gave the Bulldogs their first trip to SEC title game. They ended the season as SEC and Sugar Bowl champions and finished No. 3 in the AP polls. All-in-all, it was a good night for Richt and his crew.  

No. 5: Outback Bowl 2000 vs. Purdue

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    Some look at the Outback Bowl as a good way to start the New Year’s Day off on the right foot. But for the Bulldogs, the 2000 Outback Bowl became one of the biggest comebacks in the history of the program.

    The Bulldogs faced off against Drew Brees and the Purdue Boilermakers in the game that was called the “First Sporting Event of the Millennium.” After being down by 25 early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs slowly, but surely, fought their way back into the game. With the help of quarterback Quincy Carter, the Bulldogs tied the game at 25 with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter.

    The game went into overtime, and Hap Hines nailed a 19-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs the improbable win.

    Despite losing, Brees was named MVP as he tied six Outback Bowl records at the time.

    The loss put the Boilermakers at No. 25 in the polls while the Bulldogs finished at No. 14. 

No. 4: 1978 vs. Georgia Tech

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    Georgia quarterback Buck Belue is considered a legend in Athens, as he led the Bulldogs to a national title in 1980. But it all started two years prior when the Bulldogs were facing Georgia Tech.

    The Yellow Jackets were up, 20-0, late in the first half which was the same time Belue, who was a freshman at the time, came into the game.

    With the help of Belue and a huge punt return by Scott Woerner, the Bulldogs fought back and threw a touchdown pass to Amp Arnold late in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs decided to go for two and the win instead of going for one.

    Lady luck was on their side, and the Bulldogs completed the best comeback in the history of the series.

    The Bulldogs finished the 1978 season with a 9-2-1 record while Tech finished the year at 7-5. 

No. 3: 1980 vs. Tennessee

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    It was the first game of the 1980 season, and the Bulldogs rallied to defeat Tennessee, 16-15.

    But it wasn’t about the Bulldogs rallying to defeat the Volunteers that made this game memorable; it was who led them to victory that made this game special.

    Herschel Walker made his debut in that game, and that was when a legend was born. Walker scored his first touchdown in style as he ran over Tennessee defender Bill Bates near the goal line.

    Larry Munson had one of the most memorable calls in his career during the Walker run, and it can be found via ESPN here (subscription needed).

No. 2: 1980 vs. Florida

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    There is probably no other game more memorable in the Georgia-Florida series than the one that happened in 1980.

    Georgia was losing in the final seconds of play, and it looked like their shot at a national title was down the drain.

    But Belue threw a 93-yard touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott, and the entire Bulldog Nation in Jacksonville went crazy.

    It was a game where Georgia did not play their best against a Florida team that came into the game with a 6-1 record, which makes the play by Scott and the game even more memorable.

    And had it not been for this game, the No. 1 most memorable game for the Bulldogs would not have happened. 

No. 1: Sugar Bowl 1981 vs. Notre Dame

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    That’s right. The most memorable game has to be the 1981 Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame.

    The Fighting Irish, who came into the game as a favorite, despite being ranked No. 7 in the country, while the Bulldogs were ranked No. 1, jumped to a 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.

    But with the help of an injured Walker and an opportunistic defense, the Bulldogs scored 17 unanswered points going into the half.  

    Notre Dame scored early in the third quarter, but could not score again as the Bulldogs defense frustrated the Irish with precise tackling and tight coverage on the receivers.

    The Bulldogs were able to hold on and complete their prefect season.

    After the game, Walker said people had said that "this team was lucky." He went on to say that this team "played with a lot of heart, and they never quit."

    And looking back at this game along with the Florida game and Tennessee game, Walker is right on the money. The Bulldogs fans who were around at the time will never forget where they were when the Bulldogs were on top of the college football world in 1980.