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September 17, 2010

Hog-Related Humor

Tomorrow marking just the 13th time the two teams have met all time, the Georgia-Arkansas football series is certainly an abbreviated one.  Nevertheless, two of my most favorite Bulldog football stories - though one was in a losing cause - regards the Hogs. 

Back in June 2009, I recounted the more recent story with a piece on the late, great Bill Hartman.

In short, Uga V was set to be the first live mascot ever to appear at Arkansas' Razorback Stadium until Hartman stumbled the week before, nearly harming Georgia's beloved bulldog.

The mascot would have an enjoyable weekend but instead of in Fayetteville, Uga flourished in the Georgia town of Moultrie.

Nearly a quarter-century before, the Bulldogs capped their 1968 undefeated regular season with a trip to the Sugar Bowl to face the Razorbacks for the first time in history.  With a win - a victory that seemed certain - Georgia had an outside chance to claim the national championship.

Arkansas had achieved a 9-1 record during the season and a tie for the Southwest Conference title.  However, in doing so, the Razorbacks had been somewhat unimpressive, losing their only game against a ranked opponent.

Georgia, on the other hand, featured Outland Trophy-winner Bill Stanfill and safety Jake Scott - arguably, the two greatest defenders in UGA football history - and a Bulldog offense that was absolutely explosive, averaging nearly 30 points, 200 rushing yards, and 200 passing yards per game. 

Georgia was assumed to especially expose the Razorbacks' mediocre defense.  Against their 10 regular-season opponents, the Hogs had allowed all but three to score 15 points or more, including five foes to tally three or more touchdowns.  The Bulldogs were a substantial, 7-point favorite entering the bowl game.

Regardless, somehow Arkansas pulled off the upset of all upsets, prevailing 16-to-2 on a chilly day in New OrleansHow was it possible?

First off, how could Georgia allow the game's MVP flanker Chuck Dicus to find holes in the Bulldogs' renowned secondary?  Dicus caught 12 passes for 169 yards and scored the bowl's lone touchdown.

And just two points scored?!?  What happened to Georgia's celebrated offense? 

The fact the Bulldogs committed a whopping eight turnovers - 5 fumbles, 3 interceptions - certainly didn't help. 

Perhaps the answer lies not with what the Dogs didn't do on the field, but what they did in the French Quarter the night before.

Decades later, regarding a rumor that he, Scott, and fullback Brad Johnson had been on Bourbon Street the night before the game until 4:00 AM, Georgia's starting quarterback that season, Mike Cavan, said, "Let's get the record straight...I can't speak for Brad or Jake, but I was in my room..." 

Cavan, who had been recognized as the SEC's Sophomore of the Year, turned the ball over four times himself (photo) in the game's first eight minutes alone.

Cavan might have been off by a couple hours or so.  According to newspaper writer Jesse Outlar, a New Orleans taxi driver picked up a group of saddened Georgia fans following the devastating loss.

“I don’t understand what happened to that Georgia team," said the straight-faced taxi driver.  "When I brought several of [the players] to the hotel at 2 AM this morning, they told me there was no way they could lose to Arkansas.”


Anonymous said...

Looks like this year's team was out on Broad Street the night before yesterday's game and Coach Mike Dumbo and his play calling must have been drinking with them

Anonymous said...

you think canan, scott, and bj can come back and play 'tween the hedges? they'd be better than the jokers we have out there now!