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September 10, 2010

In '80, It was simply Herschel vs. George

I'll go ahead and warn you, the two videos below are rather awful in quality; however, I couldn't pass up showing footage of an interview with freshman Herschel Walker, George Rogers' memorable fumble, and, perhaps most of all, Keith Jackson with a beard.

The first clip is a piece ABC-TV put together on Herschel and shown just prior to the start of the Georgia-South Carolina game from 30 years ago.  It is apparent people believed the Bulldogs definitely had a freshman phenom on their hands but in actuality, they hadn't seen nothing yet...  Including his game against Carolina, Walker's best performances of 1980 were still ahead of him.

By the way, I can see why Coach Dooley labelled assistant Mike Cavan “Vice President in Charge of Herschel."  Again, please bear with the poor quality: 

There was a big buildup going into the 1980 Georgia-South Carolina game; a hype that Gamecocks football was certainly unaccustomed to.

Fourteenth-ranked South Carolina was at its highest position in the AP Poll since during the 1959 season, while its 6-1 record was the team's best in 56 years.  The Bulldogs, on the other hand, were undefeated and ranked fourth in the country. 

The ABC-TV broadcast was only the third nationally televised game in the history of Sanford Stadium.  It was a telecast only made possible because of a couple of particular running backs.

Carolina's George Rogers, a Georgia native, had led the Gamecocks to wins over the Bulldogs in both 1978 and 1979, rushing for a combined 280 yards on 57 carries in the victories.

The week of the game, George Rogers' father - George Rogers, Sr. - was in the news nearly as much as his celebrated son.  Nearly eight years prior, the elder Rogers was imprisoned for unpremeditated murder and he had been paroled and released only 10 days prior to the game, just in time to see his son play the Bulldogs in person.

Rogers and Georgia's star running back, Herschel "Hercules" Walker, put on quite a show, undoubtedly not disappointing the 60,000 in Sanford Stadium and the millions of television viewers.  Walker rushed for 219 yards on 43 carries while Rogers tallied 168 yards on 35 rushes; each accumulating nearly 60 percent of their team's total yardage.

However, Rogers' performance was marred by a critical fumble with just over five minutes remaining in the game and with the Gamecocks trailing 13-10.  Rogers' fumble would turn out to cost South Carolina the game and be the eventual Heisman winner's final carry ever against the Bulldogs.

How intriguing is it that Rogers fumbles after getting injured, sitting out one play, and then being reinserted back into the game?  On the play, he probably should have been still standing on the sideline with Ray Goff recuperating instead of carrying the football.  

And how fortunate were the Bulldogs to recover the fumble?  The ball first flies into the arms of a teammate of Rogers before popping out of his grasp, before being recovered by Georgia's Tim Parks.  

Of course, the ball seemed to always bounce and breaks consistently go Georgia's way in 1980 en route to a national championship.

Three decades later, the Bulldogs could certainly use some of those bounces and breaks again, starting tomorrow in Columbia.


Anonymous said...

As always, awesome video and writing! Those videos are absolutely vintage...cheerleaders on sideline cheering "Dooley's Junyard Dogs!"...you'll notice the scoreboard towards the beginning of the first video, asking the Dogs to force a fumble...and Ray Goff as a 'Cock. Great stuff!
*Tiny Tim*

Anonymous said...

Notice Ray Goff on the Carolina sideline?