For the Georgia Football faithful, the singular moments that happen on Saturdays in the fall continue to be the stuff of legend for years to come. But, for years, the fan base has wondered “what if?” since the Georgia Bulldogs football program came so close to achieving the ultimate prize repeatedly.
When the confetti fell on January 10, 2022 and the Kirby Smart team got rid of the demons that plagued previous generations of Dawgs, fans were finally able to recall memories of the past painlessly.
With the 2022 college football season kicking off this weekend, we compiled a list of the top ten UGA football moments since 2005. (the beginning of our cognitive memory) There was plenty of discussion about which moments belonged and where they should be ranked. , and all those conversations can be heard in the latest episode of Baxter Street Boys.
10. Clemson in Georgia, 2014
Fresh off a classic in Death Valley the year before, the Dawgs sought revenge against the Tigers Between the Hedges led by Dabo Swinney. Amid one of the best environments Sanford Stadium has seen, the Dawgs succeeded in defeating Clemson 45-21. Todd Gurley put on a show as he rushed for 198 yards, three touchdowns and a 100-yard touchdown kickoff return. Dawgs fans also met a true freshman sensation named Nick Chubb, who scored his first career touchdown, despite losing his shoe during the run.
9. 2005 SEC Championship: Georgia vs. LSU
Georgia’s last win in the SEC Championship at the old Georgia Dome was memorable, as quarterback DJ Shockley led the Bulldogs to a 34-14 upset victory over the LSU Tigers. Tim Jennings’ pick-six to seal the win is a replay often shown at Sanford Stadium and capped one of the Dawgs’ biggest wins of the 2000s.
8. Auburn @ Georgia, 2014: The Blackout
After head coach Mark Richt encouraged fans to shut down Sanford Stadium, he followed through on his request when the team went without black uniforms for the first time in history, prompting the 92,000-strong crowd to enter a chaos. That excitement and energy from the fans propelled the team to a 45-21 win over the Auburn Tigers. Quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno stole the show, including Moreno’s inspirational CBS commentators Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, “running that Souja Boy” on live television.
7. Georgia vs. Florida, 2007
When RB Knowshon Moreno crossed the goal line to score the first goal of the game, the entire UGA roster ran onto the field to celebrate on the goal line. Yes Gary Danielson “THIS WAS PLANNED!” didn’t reveal that this stunt was preconceived, Mark Richt’s famous smile definitely did. Moreno rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns, while Matthew Stafford added three more to propel the Dawgs to a 42-30 win over the 11th-ranked Tim Tebow-led Florida Gators.
6. LSU in Georgia, 2013
A large portion of the fan base will tell you that this game was the loudest game in Sanford Stadium history, and we agree. It’s rare to see a conference shootout between the hedges, but that’s exactly what happened. Former Bulldog Zach Mettenberger put on a show as the Tigers’ signal caller, with 372 yards and three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough as Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs overtook LSU in the high-flying affair. One of Murray’s many highlights as a Dawg came when he connected with Justin Scott-Wesley for a touchdown with 1:44 left to seal UGA’s 44-41 victory.
5. Georgia @ Notre Dame, 2017
Dawgnation appeared in full force as the Georgia Bulldogs traveled north to South Bend, Indiana, for a matchup with top-ten ranked Notre Dame. Rookie quarterback Jake Fromm was making his first start at one of college football’s most storied ballparks. With around 40,000 fans from Georgia making the trip with him. Fromm did just enough to give the Dawgs a chance to win, and the defense closed out the game with a Brandon Wimbush sack of Davin Bellamy en route to a 20-19 victory. Cole Wilcox describes this game on the podcast as “the game that fans knew times were changing.”
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4. Orange Bowl 2021: Georgia vs. Michigan
The build up to the Orange Bowl Playoff game was the anticipation of an old school trench fight. Michigan boasted the best offensive line in the country, while Georgia claimed the best defensive line in the country. It was power against power, but former quarterback Stetson Bennett is the one who came out firing. While Dawg’s No. 1 defense arrived more than ready to play, Bennett threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns that earned him the game’s Offensive MVP trophy. Michigan rushed for less than 100 yards as UGA’s 34-11 win propelled them into the national championship game.
3. 2017 SEC Championship: Georgia vs. Auburn
The only thing standing between Georgia and the program’s first SEC title since 2005 was the team responsible for its only loss, the Auburn Tigers. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was caught on camera exclaiming, “We beat the dog shit out of them,” after finishing the perfect UGA season two weeks earlier. Georgia came out inspired by aspirations for revenge and earned it by beating Auburn in all facets of the game, leading to a 35-7 victory. Freshman Deandre Swift put the nail in Auburn’s coffin with a 64-yard TD to send Georgia to its first college football playoff.
2. The 2018 Rose Bowl: Georgia vs. Oklahoma
Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners opened the game on fire, scoring 31 points in the first half to take a 14-point locker room lead. Georgia’s defense, led by Roquan Smith, stepped up in the second half and allowed legendary UGA RB duo Nick Chubb and Sony Michel to level the score at the end of regulation. In double overtime, Senior LB Lorenzo Carter blocked Sooner’s field goal attempt to return the ball to Georgia’s offense. Michel needed only two plays to take a shot straight into the end zone and earn the Bulldogs their first trip to the National Championship game since the early 1980s.
1. The 2022 National Championship: Georgia vs. Alabama
This game needs no introduction. Alabama, the team that had caused so much pain to the Bulldogs team and the fans, was the last obstacle to hoist the trophy. After the Crimson Tide beat the Bulldogs in Atlanta 41-24, the Dawgs had the last laugh when Kelee Ringo’s 79-yard pick-six sent the demons packing. The Georgia Bulldogs were national champions for the first time since 1980, easily the best moment in UGA football this century.
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