|Former starter John Lastinger came off the bench |
against the 'Cocks 30 years ago, paving the way
for an unforgettable finish to a senior year.
Now, check this out... Williams plays the entire first half and into the third quarter against the 'Cocks, and performs well, gaining 113 total offensive yards in 13 plays; however, Georgia is deadlocked 10-10 in a contest it entered as two-touchdown favorites. With the Bulldogs possessing the ball on the Gamecock 36-yard line, Williams suddenly goes down with a bruised thigh. Thereupon, Lastinger, the starter-turned-reserve, returns under center for Georgia.
On his first play since his dismal effort at Clemson, Lastinger connected with tight end Clarence Kay for 32 yards. Three plays later, he found Kay again for a 4-yard score, giving Georgia a touchdown lead. The next two times the Bulldogs had possession, Lastinger engineered touchdown drives, resulting in three touchdowns the first three times he had the ball after being benched for what amounted to nearly an entire game.
Playing less than half of Georgia's 31-13 victory, the fifth-year senior finished with an un-Lastinger-like 10 completions on 14 attempts for 108 yards and a touchdown, while adding 51 yards rushing and a touchdown on just three carries. Following the contest, Dooley stated, "I've never been prouder of an individual than I am of John Lastinger."
You can't help but feel somewhat sorry for Williams... He was never really the same after the South Carolina game of '83. After missing two entire games because of the injury, Williams returned to the bench. He would open his junior campaign as the Bulldogs' starting quarterback but would be sidelined again during the 1984 season with an injury -- on two occasions. By his fifth year, the one-time honorable mention national All-American in high school and starting Georgia quarterback as only a sophomore was the Bulldogs' third-stringer in 1986.
Lastinger, on the other hand, would never relinquish his starting role at Georgia after his memorable performance against the Gamecocks. And, just think, if Williams doesn't go down with a thigh bruise versus South Carolina, Lastinger likely doesn't lead Georgia to its epic 10-9 win over Florida later that season, or has one of the greatest moments in Bulldog history in the Cotton Bowl (Again, what time is it in Texas?).
As Cotton Bowl color analyst Pat Haden said, "This