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June 29, 2010

25 Years Ago: UGA Versus Its MOST Hated

If the strife between Georgia and Georgia Tech is recognized as clean, old-fashioned hate, the Georgia-Clemson football rivalry, at least from the late 1970s until the late 80s, was simply plain hatred

Although I was rather young, from what I remember during that time period, the Tigers were likely the most hated opponent on the Bulldogs' schedule.  I believe many other Dawg fans from that time, like Kyle King at Dawg Sports, would probably concur.

The 20-13 victory over Clemson in 1985 is especially distinctive for a variety reasons.

First off, the underdog Bulldogs weren't supposed to win the game.  Georgia opened the season by losing to Alabama at home and then was nearly defeated by Baylor in its second contest.  The Bulldogs hadn't won in Death Valley since 1976 and, for the first time in six meetings, faced the Tigers unranked.

Secondly, Georgia surprised onlookers by wearing its red britches for the first time in more than five years.

Coach Dooley debuted the red pants in 1978.  The Bulldogs would sport them for eight consecutive away games, whenever they would wear white jerseys, through the season opener of 1980.  When silver britches were introduced in '80, the red ones were discarded until the '85 clash at Clemson. 

The Tigers were the team that usually altered their uniform for important home games, wearing orange pants (instead of white) along with their orange jerseys.  On this day, however, it was Georgia willing to try, or wear, anything to change its recent misfortune in the Valley.

As evident, the game also featured something you don't see too often in football - an offensive lineman scoring a touchdown.  Besides Along with Bulldog lineman Don Hayes, who scored on a guard-eligible touchdown pass from Kirby Moore against Mississippi State in 1966, and lineman Jon Stinchcomb recovering a fumble for a score against Auburn in 2002, and Nick Jones recovering a fumble for a score doing the same against Georgia Tech in 2003, Peter Anderson's touchdown is one the of only a few times I can think of in the last 50 years a Georgia offensive lineman has scored.  

Nicknamed "Bell Cow" in 1984 by Dooley for his leadership, Anderson would eventually be recognized as a consensus All-American at center following his 1985 season - a senior campaign mostly remembered for his touchdown recovery against the Tigers.

In addition, as the video and Dooley explain, the Bulldogs were still unsettled at quarterback.  Redshirt freshman Wayne Johnson was the starter but sophomore James Jackson was a close second.  Apparently, even true freshman Joey Hester, according to Dooley, could see playing time.

Coach Dooley was known to exaggerate every once in a while.  Incidentally, Hester would redshirt in 1985 and, although he was the team's primary punter from 1987-1989, he would never attempt a single pass as a Bulldog.

For the third time in three games, Johnson started for Georgia under center while Clemson combated with Randy Anderson, who, like Johnson, was a young and large quarterback, standing at around six-foot-five.   

Nevertheless, it was a diminutive Jackson that stood out among all signal callers.  After a couple of possessions, he soon replaced Johnson and rallied the Bulldogs from a 10-3 fourth-quarter deficit.  In the final stanza, Georgia held the ball for more than 11 minutes while outscoring the Tigers 17-3.  The Dawgs finished the game with an impressive 360 yards rushing, 69 of which were gained by Jackson on 12 carries.

For Jackson, the '85 Clemson game was the beginning of a distinguished career at Georgia.  Following the win over the Tigers, he was named the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs, where he remained for 30 of the team's next 33 games.  

Upon his departure following the 1987 season, Jackson had thrown for the fourth-most yards in school history while his 1,359 career rushing yards still rank second all time among Georgia quarterbacks. 

Four weeks later and its first away game since the win over Clemson, Georgia, a 19-point favorite and wearing the red pants again, were tied 13-13 by Vanderbilt in Nashville.  Over the next three years, the Bulldogs would don the red britches only three more times - two losses and one tie - until the pants would be retired in 1988 and have not been seen since.

The Georgia-Clemson football series would soon fizzle out as well.  After meeting every year from 1897-1916 and all but twice from 1962-1987, the Bulldogs and Tigers will have played one another just four times in 25 years when the two meet in 2013.

King, an expert on the Georgia-Clemson encounter, is in the process of finding a publisher for his manuscript - Fighting Like Cats and Dogs - detailing the series.  Once published, it will undoubtedly be a must-read, reminding us older Dawgs while enlightening the newer ones of Georgia's one-time most hated rivalry. 


shliknik said...

Jon Stinchcomb scored a TD during the 2002 AU game. I thought I remembered him recovering a fumble in the endzone, but from this box score, they say he scored on a 1-yard run:


JaxDawg said...

Peter is one of the unsung Bulldog greats b/c he started for teams that failed to garner much attention, probably b/c they didn't win an SEC. At the time, AU, LSU, and FL were the hot teams and UGA was slipping a bit.

He know lives in Jacksonville and I see him often at the gym. He's still very big and sweats like a horse when riding the bike.

A great Dawg with intellect and class.

Patrick Garbin said...

You are correct sir. I had forgotten Stinchcomb's. I'm sure there is another one or two I omitted. Thanks for reading and posting.

Patrick Garbin said...

I recently read that one of the main reasons Anderson (from New Jersey) and several other recruits from far away decided to come to UGA as part of the '81 class was because of the Bulldogs winning the 1980 national title. So, it appears that although Anderson never started on a great team, it was because of arguably the greatest Bulldog team that he was persuaded to come to UGA.

Unknown said...

Peter Anderson is definitely an all time great bulldog!!! Love u dad!!

<3 Tory

Anonymous said...

Great Dawg, Great Friend and as you see from Tory's comment most importantly a Great family man.