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October 26, 2011

A Gator Bowl Beatdown

I thought I'd take a look back to a time when it was the Bulldogs who owned the Georgia-Florida series, and one of the sweetest of these victories was the 44-0 rout over the Gators in 1982:

The '82 Cocktail Party was suppose to be as close as its two preceding and thrilling 26-21 Bulldog victories.  Georgia entered as one of the country's best, although Florida was 6-2 and ranked 20th in the nation; the oddsmakers determined the Bulldogs to be just a 3½-point favorite.  As it turned out, the so-called experts would be a little off. 

In watching the game,  particularly the second half, the one thing that really stuck out were the numerous Georgia reserves that saw playing time.  Man, did Coach Dooley really empty the bench. 

At the skilled positions, Herschel Walker played for just 2½ quarters (and with the flu!) but still managed to rush for 219 yards and three touchdowns.  Nearly all of the playing time tailback Keith Montgomery and quarterback Todd Williams  both freshmen and future starters – saw in 1982 came in this one game.  Tailback Tommy Spangler, the current defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech, even got to carry the football – his lone rush in his Bulldog career.

What a thrill it must have been for the seldom-played freshmen, walk-ons, former scout-team members, etc., who had hardly seen the field as a Bulldog, if at all, to make an appearance in the Gator Bowl against the despised Gators.

On the touchdown run by Tron "the Electron" Jackson, another freshman, checkout the quarterback running the play.  Now, I thought I knew every single player from the last 30-to-40 years to ever don the red and black, but admittedly, I had to look up jersey-number 13 from 1982 - third-stringer Danny "Don't Call Me David" Greene from Wenonah, New Jersey.

Greene quarterbacked Georgia for its last couple of possessions of the game – his first, and last, drives (I'm willing to assume) directed as a Bulldog:

In watching all of Dooley's second-half replacements, I recalled the times Steve Spurrier ran the score up in the very same rivalry whenever given the opportunity.  Some examples:
Late in the game in 1990, with the contest having been settled long before, Spurrier sent his first-team defense back onto the field to prevent Georgia from merely picking up a first down.  With a 38-13 lead the following year, All-American quarterback Shane Matthews wasn't replaced until Florida's next-to-last offensive series, and even when the starter was finally sidelined, backup Brian Fox passed for a touchdown with less than two minutes to play.  In 1998, Spurrier punctuated another blowout Gators victory with a wide receiver reverse for a touchdown with mere seconds remaining.  I could go on... 

Now, the Florida faithful says Spurrier had very good reason to pull his classless acts against the Bulldogs.  Let me add, however, there's a few inaccuracies in the Gators' "Dooley-running-up-the-score-in-'68-is-the-reason-Spurrier-hates-Georgia" story.  For one, the "offensive lineman" that kicked the field goal for the game's final points was actually Peter Rajecki – the Bulldogs' backup placekicker, who had kicked a PAT earlier and would attempt several more field goals at Georgia from 1968 to 1970.  Also, the final field goal resulting with "with less than two minutes left to go" (another version of the story states "with seconds to go") actually occurred with 5:29 remaining – an eternity.

Nevertheless, the aforementioned seems to be yet another exaggerated story by a bunch of disgruntled Gators.  In Dooley's defense, unlike Spurrier, he wasn't much of one for running up the score on the opposition.  Take the 1982 pummeling of Florida, for example.  Danny Greene saw action at quarterback against the Gators, for God's sake!  And from what I hear, Dooley even had E.T. on the sideline warming up to go in...


Tommy Hay said...

I remember a cartoon picture in the Journal Constitution the next day with a Dawg biting the Gator's tail. Wish we could dominate like that again

Robert K. Burnham said...

I remember the AJC article by Furman Bisher the following day . Probably was the Bulldogs greatest victory ever

SEO Consulting Orlando said...

Haha, this was a great one for sure!

UGABulldogs said...

Great article!!

Anonymous said...

wow you had to go back to 1982 for this score, sad