As a Georgia fan, I’m still thankful to have had the good fortune of my first football season at UGA being the 2002 campaign.
But before the euphoria of routing Arkansas in the SEC Championship and the happy pilgrimage to Bourbon Street, there was a hot afternoon in Tuscaloosa. Although the Dawgs were highly ranked and had a solid win over Clemson, there were still many doubts. including some by Pat Dye who questioned whether or not Georgia was ‘man enough’ to beat Alabama.
Yes, even though Georgia was higher-ranked, some ‘experts’ picked Alabama. On that hot day, Georgia went toe to toe with the Crimson Tide, pulling out a big road win which sent a strong message to the rest of the country that the Dawgs were to be reckoned with.
Flashforward to this past Saturday. Georgia headed to Columbia depleted by injuries and suspensions. And against Mizzou’s mighty spread offense – my god, how in the world were we gonna stop those guys?! It was enough to make talking heads on the ‘world wide leader’ pick Georgia to lose in addition to others, such as local sportstalk hosts who’ll remain nameless.
And then there was our good friend, Mizzou defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who branded the Bulldogs as playing ‘Old Man Football.’
It’s funny….that brand of football battered and bruised the Tigers in the second half when Richardson was on the sidelines. To his credit, Richardson appeared to apologize to Mark Richt after the game, so give him credit for owning up to his words – unlike the one-armed wonder Casey Clausen.
Bottom line is this – Georgia was counted out and had a chance to make a statement on the road on a big stage – and it did. Was it a flawless victory? No, there were some things that could have gone better. But it was a big win on a big stage, one which in the past we have seen the opposition be the ones with the big win.