As we close the book on another decade, I can’t help but think back on some of the sports highlights the Bulldog Nation has witnessed during the first 10 years of the 21st Century. Here are five pretty memorable moments.
Comeback for the ages (2000)
The Dawgs rang in a new millennium with an astounding come-from-behind victory over Purdue on January 1, 2000 in the Outback Bowl. Drew Brees paced the Boilermakers to a 25-0 lead before UGA came storming back. But Quincy Carter’s 8-yard strike to Randy McMichael with 1:19 left in the fourth quarter sent the game into overtime, where Hap Hines won it with a 21-yard field goal. That 28-point burst completed the greatest comeback in bowl history, a win that elevated the Dawgs to 8-4 in Jim Donnan’s penultimate season at UGA.
Hobnail Boot (2001)
Just a season earlier, UGA fans tore down the goal posts at Sanford Stadium as the Dawgs beat the Vols for the first time since 1988. Now, with freshman QB David Greene leading the way against a hostile Neyland Stadium crowd, a second win in as many tries seemed within Georgia’s grasp. It was a see-saw game at the end with the Dawgs roaring down the field in the closing seconds. Fullback Verron Haynes slipped through the line and caught Greene’s dump pass in a play dubbed “P-44 Haynes” for the deciding TD in a 26-24 win. Seconds later, Munson exclaimed “We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose,” in what was his last great spontaneous call.
Keppinger's shot heard 'round Georgia (2001)
Lowly-regarded Coastal Carolina had UGA on the ropes in game three of the 2001 baseball Super Regional in Athens when Keppinger, the Bulldogs’ shortstop, came through with what would later be called the baseball equivalent of “Belue to Scott.” Keppinger’s 2-run blast in the ninth, his third homer of the game, vaulted the Dawgs past the Chanticleers and on to Omaha. It was the hallmark call of Jeff Dantzler’s career, who prefaced the shot by saying “If Coach Polk has a sign for ‘hit a home run,’ he just flashed it!” That prophetic statement preceded chants of “He did it again! He did it again!”
“He caught the ball!” (2002)
The Dawgs were working to stay within the tradition of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, where the visiting team had posted victory on the road in 8 of the 10 previous meetings (including a tie). Playing shorthanded at wide receiver, Georgia relied on the stellar play of Michael Johnson that afternoon. In the waning moments, UGA faced a 4th and 15, in which David Greene checked off to a little-used play—one which the Dawgs had not used in over a year. Johnson, though, was hip to notion and hauled in the winning pass for a 26-24 victory on The Plains. Munson, who originally though Fred Gibson made the grab, was ecstatic. While not one of Munson’s greatest calls, it remains one of Georgia’s greatest gridiron moments.
Celebration on the field (2007)
Totally worth it. That’s all you can say about the excessive celebration penalty Georgia incurred after Knowshon Moreno’s touchdown against Florida in 2007. With the entire Bulldogs’ bench running to the endzone—fans, announcers and even Urban Meyer himself were totally stunned at such an unprecedented event. “I told them if they didn’t get a celebration penalty after our first score, all of them would be doing early morning runs,” said Coach Mark Richt. The Dawgs went on to win 42-30. Bourbon and beer flowed like great rivers that night on St. Simons, where there was much property destroyed.
Jimmycrackedcorndawg is a contributor to Bulldog in Exile and believes he will have another big orange.