Thursday, May 10, 2012

GATArchives: last home game of the 1980 season

So last week we looked at the Railroad Track Crowd's last game before Sanford was expanded. Today let's focus on what happened 'tween the hedges in that edition of Clean Old Fashioned Hate.

It wasn't much of a game until the second half - Georgia led 17-0 at the half. And it's not that the second half was tight, it's just that Tech started scoring often enough to keep the game interesting. And after Belue scored on a 1 yard run early in the 4th quarter to give the Dawgs a 31-14 lead there was surely a feeling that the game was about to be on ice.

Picture credit: Steve Deal of the AJC. Sorry for the poor scanning job. It was
too wide for my scanner. Not a whole lot of explanation given for it. But it's
designed to show how one simple screen pass to Walker could go for a big
gain. The byline states: "Georgia quarterback Buck Belue passes to Herschel 
Walker, who breaks a couple of tackles and gains 31 yards to Tech's 41 to set 
up Rex Robinson's 57-yard field goal."
However, there were two problems with that scenario: Tech went on a methodical drive to pull back to within two scores (31-20 after a failed 2-point conversion), and Hershel Walker was still 42 yards shy of Tony Dorsett's freshman rushing record. UGA Sports Information Director Claude Felton called down to the sideline to get word to the coaches of how close the record was. However, once Tech scored to narrow the margin some the point was moot.

So, on Georgia's first play from scrimmage Walker took the ball on a "22 Draw" and scampered 65 yards to seal the victory. He'd racked up over 200 yards and helped Georgia earn a perfect 11-0 regular season. He'd also bested Dorsett's freshman mark by 30 yards. I think OG Tim Morrison summed up the post-game sentiments best:
"In my opinion he's the best running back in the history of football. I don't care what anyone says. That's the way I feel and that's the way a lot of people on this team feel."
There were more quotes in the article (11/30/1980 by the AJC's Dan Barreiro) about Herschel's quiet, humble manner. There were comparisons to other marquee backs of the era such as Charles White of USC. It was all to profess their love for #34, and their support for him as a Heisman candidate.

Unfortunately, as we all know, it was all for naught. In fact, the ballots had been sealed the Friday before. Voting was done. Herschel would end up third behind two seniors, Pitt's defensive lineman Hugh Green and South Carolina's George Rogers.

So in summary: despite not winning an award that was rightfully his. perhaps the only person to outwork the Track People that day was The Goalline Stalker, Hershel Walker.


Bernie said...

Here's the cover from the program for the game. Seniors on the cover. 

Bernie said...

Dawgs beat uSC 13-10 that year and I believe it was a Rogers fumble that sealed the chickens fate between the hedges that day.  Georgia goes on to a perfect schedule and the chickens are a pedestrian 8-3.  We got robbed.  Champ Bailey got robbed too when the Heisman was awarded to another db not half as talented! IMHO.

Bernie said...

Thanks for sharing Peter...even though the stadium isn't named for you. :)

Bernie said...

Rogers was probably the best back not named Herschel that season.