As we get closer to kickoff for what I believe will be the "momentum" season for an eventual National Championship, I thought I'd list my Top 5 Away Games of my time at UGA. This will be followed by an eventual Top 5 Home Games segment as well.
So, let's get to it:
5. Tennessee 2003 – The blowout the Neyland never saw coming. This game was heavily hyped as UGA was chasing the SEC championship from a few steps behind as they had lost to LSU earlier in the year. UT was also a major player in the SEC East with having Jabari Davis in the backfield behind that massive OL. It also didn’t hurt to have Casey Clausen in his senior year. Not saying that Casey was a factor or anything, but a senior QB is a senior QB…even if he can’t be UGA…ever. I was really nervous about this one just because we had beaten UT for 3 years straight at this point and the fans were out for blood. It was also a night game, which gave 100,000 people a means to get drunk and rowdy before kickoff. I remember walking into the stadium and thinking “this could be really bad or really really good.” I knew we had a shot when UGA got off to an early lead and the offense was clicking. The “Money Shot Memory" of this one was right before the half when Clausen and Jabari had an error in communication on a handoff right inside the 5 yard line. The Dawgs scramble for the ball, Sean Jones ends up picking it up, and then takes it at least 95 yards for the score. From then on, UT had no motivation and it showed and the Dawgs ended up winning 41 -- 14.
4. Outback Bowl 2000 – Can you say “hungover and getting whipped?” This game started out as a drubbing as the Boilermakers, led by Drew Brees, were taking Quincy Carter and Co. to the cleaners. Things looked lost until Donnan started unleashing the Tunnel Screen and the points started rolling in. It's also worth nothing about half the Redcoat Band was so hungover that we couldn't play...I mean come on. It was the MILLENIUM. The "Money Shot Memory" comes after Hap Hines sealed the victory with an OT field goal and the Redcoats, for the first time ever, played Glory with the Angel Tag. ESPN caught all the audio, which was then transferred to an MP3 that I still have today. Aside from being one of the greatest comebacks in Bulldog history, the Glory Angel Tag tradition was born. What started out as a “miracle win only” situation for playing it became an “every win situation” after the Athletic Association loved it so much. Now, every time UGA seals a victory, the Dawg fans are treated to a special version of Glory. If you ever get the chance, go and thank The Song Writer, since the credit can only go to him.
Powered by Podbean.com The original recording of "Glory Angel Tag." The only thing every Redcoat played that day.
3. Tennessee 2001 – Mark Schlaubach called this the greatest game he’s ever seen in person. I would be hard pressed to argue with him, but obviously, I think I've only seen two better away games in person. This was Mark Richt’s first game away from Sanford Stadium and he had a couple of freshman, David Greene and Fred Gibson, leading the way offensively. This was my second time to Neyland and UT is famous for seating the opposing team’s band into the state of Tennessee, which is creative, but very cramped for those band folks. I was wedged just to the left of K@therine D0dd, and we were constantly bumping into each other and everyone around us due to the spacing issues. The game had been back and forth throughout the entire four quarters and UGA seemed to have it wrapped up until Travis Stephens took a screen pass the distance and put UGA 5’ 11” in the dirt. After the kickoff, Randy McMichael became a man among boys and owned the middle for a couple of large gains to get UGA around the 6 yard line. The “Money Shot Memory" happened with only a few seconds remaining in the game. Mark Richt made one of the greatest play calls I have ever seen (P-44-Haynes) and faked the handoff to the large and in charge Musa Smith, only to have Verron Haynes pretend to block a linebacker, run past him, turn around, and make a gorgeous catch. Larry Munson made one of the best calls (and I believe he thinks this is his best call) when he said UGA “stepped on their face with a Hobnailed boot and broke their nose." Nearly every away game after that one, I stood just to the left of K@t for good luck.
These boots are made for walkin...
2. Florida 2004 – FINALLY. Not since 1997 had we tasted victory against the Gators and it was getting very old, very quickly. I spend 5 seasons in Redcoats and had only known a handful of people that had actually experienced a victory against the Gators. Want to know what's frustrating? Going 5 years in Redcoats and wanting ONLY ONE of them to have a victory against Florida. Anyway, I digress. No one really knew who had the more emotional reason to win because Ron Zook had already been announced as leaving the Florida Program and this was Greene, Pollack, Gibson, Brown, etc’s last shot at beating Florida. None of the college football pundits knew who to pick because it was unclear as to whether or not Zook’s players (who were no big fans of his firing), would rally around their coach and win one for him, or would they just lie down on the field. We had the talent to beat them, just like nearly every year before that, but the Florida mental block seemed to be lifted and our players looked focused. The Dawgs led much of the game, but I do remember one point where we lost the lead. All I could think was “not again…please not again” but Reggie Brown and Fred Gibson stepped up their receiving efforts (and I also remember Leonard Pope having a coming out party during this game) to lead the Dawgs in the endzone enough times for victory. The "Money Shot Memory" of this one was after time had expired and the Dawgs were victorious, I finally saw a half full Gator Bowl that was Red and Black instead of Orange and Blue. It was opposite day indeed.
All the blue on the right? Not Florida fans....empty seats.
Look for Number 1 in a few days (possibly Tuesday or Wednesday).
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