Away Game Guide: Georgia Tech

UGA’s in-state rivalry game against Georgia Tech—or “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate,” to those who have experienced the heated rivalry—will be in Atlanta this year on Nov. 25. If you’re traveling to the ATL for the game, here’s a guide to all the best hotels, restaurants and attractions for your weekend in the biggest city in the South.  

Where to stay 

The Hampton Inn is the closest hotel to the Georgia Tech campus and makes getting to the stadium a breeze on game day. The Sonesta Select Atlanta is also convenient to Bobby Dodd Stadium, and many rooms have views of the city’s iconic skyline. 

For a luxury option, The Georgian Terrace, in the heart of Atlanta, is a stunning Southern interpretation of a Parisian hotel. The historic hotel was the location of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind,” and F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed there soon after its opening in 1911. 

Designed in the Beaux Arts style, the Georgian Terrace is a vision of timeless elegance in the city’s landscape. (Photo: The Georgian Terrace)

What to eat

The Varsity is one of the most iconic symbols of Atlanta and is close to the Georgia Tech campus. Even though the Athens location closed, you can still enjoy this game day tradition before heading to the stadium. What’ll ya have? 

The Varsity has been family owned and operated since 1928. (Photo: The Varsity)

Antico is a newer local favorite: a chain offering authentic Neapolitan pizzas and calzones. Their Georgia Tech location is part of a family of restaurants and cafes called “Little Italia”—there’s a bar, panini and pasta shop and gelateria right next door. 

Mary Mac’s Tea Room is another local standby, serving up classic Southern comfort foods since 1945. The restaurant is the city’s only remaining “tea room,” a title used by enterprising female restaurant proprietors in the South in the days before women business owners were more commonplace. 

The iconic restaurant has welcomed celebrities, leaders and politicians of all kinds to its dining room over the years, from President Jimmy Carter to Beyoncé. 

For breakfast, head over to the Silver Skillet, a ’50s-style diner that’s been featured in a long list of movies and TV shows because of its retro atmosphere. Their hot breakfasts are so legendary that Guy Fieri featured the diner on his hit show “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” 

On game day

Sports & Social’s over-30-feet-tall TV screen, interactive games and extensive food and drink menu make it a great place to gather for the game with friends and family. The two-level space is perfect for watching the Dawgs play even if you don’t have a ticket, and game day table reservations can be made in advance to ensure you and your crew have a place to sit. 

Eleventh Street Pub is closer to the stadium and serves up something to please just about every palate. They offer pub classics like burgers and wings as well as upscale dishes, including their garlicky roasted mussels, arancini rice balls or steak frites.  

More Atlanta attractions

Atlanta is home to the largest aquarium in the United States, the World of Coke, the College Football Hall of Fame and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, all of which are located within walking distance from one another near Centennial Olympic Park. 

Visitors to Atlanta can also explore the city by walking, biking or taking a scooter along the BeltLine, a 22-mile railroad corridor turned into trails and lined with parks, public art, restaurants and other businesses. Make a stop at Ponce City Market, a large retail and dining center complete with Skyline Park, a rooftop arcade with views of the city. 

Skyline Park has vintage amusements, games, minigolf and refreshments at its rooftop location. (Photo: Skyline Park)

Not traveling to Atlanta and looking to connect with Dawgs in your own area? Find your local UGA alumni chapter and cheer on the Dawgs with fellow alumni at a game-watching party near you.

Away Game Guide: Tennessee

If you’re headed to Rocky Top this year to cheer on the Dawgs in their annual tilt with the Tennessee Volunteers on Nov. 18, here’s a guide for where to stay, eat, and sightsee in the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains. 

Where to stay

The Graduate Hotel Knoxville is a boutique hotel with eclectic, locally-inspired décor. Their restaurant and bar, Saloon 16, is owned by Peyton Manning, who is frequently spotted there by patrons. The hotel chain has locations in college towns around the country—including Athens! 

Saloon 16’s Western-inspired decor was created in partnership with Peyton “The Sheriff” Manning. (Photo: The Graduate Knoxville)

The Oliver Hotel in downtown Knoxville is located in a historic building above Tupelo Honey, a regional chain restaurant known for delicious fried chicken and Southern favorites. For a luxurious experience, the grand Tennessean Hotel offers electric bikes to guests so they can explore Knoxville’s beautiful outdoor scenery with ease. 

Where to eat

Calhoun’s on the river serves barbecue and other casual American foods in their waterfront location in Knoxville’s historic district. The restaurant is accessible by boat and even has its own dock. 

Enjoy riverside barbecue on Calhouns’ outdoor deck. (Photo: Calhouns)

The Market Square district has many restaurants, bars and shops all within walking distance of one another. Cafe 4, located in the heart of Market Square, has an extensive list of cocktails made with syrups, shrubs, and mixes prepared in-house. The restaurant was part of Knoxville’s urban revitalization and has been dishing out American classics with a Southern flair and locally-roasted coffee for over 10 years.  

The Tomato Head, another Market Square favorite, serves fresh-made pizzas, sandwiches, cocktails and mocktails. The restaurant hosts monthly exhibits to support local artists and serves as a venue to musical acts, poetry readings, and performance art. 

On game day

Even if you don’t have a ticket, you can still watch the game alongside fellow Dawgs at a sports bar or restaurant in the area. 

The Hill Bar & Grill has views of the Sunspot and World’s Fair Park from its patio. They’ve won multiple awards for their wings, which have been voted best in Knoxville. 

Fieldhouse Social is a football-inspired bar and eatery with a massive TV perfect for watching the game.  

Knoxville attractions

The World’s Fair Park, initially created for the 1982 World’s Fair Exhibition with the theme “Energy Turns the World,” is one of the city’s most recognizable attractions. In addition to a large lawn and amphitheater, visitors can tour the Sunsphere, a sculptural tower and observation deck with views of the city. 

Maple Hall, a boutique bowling hall located in the historic J.C. Penney building, is one of the city’s most unique attractions. Upstairs, guests can enjoy craft drinks in the cozy cocktail lounge after they play. 

Maple Hall’s 11-lane bowling area is equipped with leather couches, a full bar, HDTVs from every angle and relaxing lounge areas. (Photo: Maple Hall)

Not making the trip to Knoxville and looking to connect with Dawgs in your own area? Find your local UGA alumni chapter and cheer on the Dawgs with fellow alumni at a game-watching party near you. 


Away Game Guide: Florida

The Georgia-Florida game, held annually in Jacksonville, Florida, is one of the most highly anticipated rivalry games in college football. If you’re headed to Jacksonville this year to cheer on the Dawgs, here’s a guide from fellow Bulldogs James Hopkins (BBA ’03) and Suzie Hutto (BBA ’06) for where to stay, eat, and sightsee. 

Where to stay

Suzie said staying downtown in the San Marco area puts you within walking distance of many of her favorite restaurants. She said the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront is the closest hotel to the stadium. 

If you’re hoping to spend some time at Jacksonville’s beaches, James said The Margaritaville Beach Hotel and Springhill Suites Jacksonville Beach Oceanfront are along the beach and are still fairly close to downtown. 

James advised against driving during the game weekend because of heavy traffic downtown, and he suggested focusing on seeing one part of the city at a time instead of trying to bounce all over town in a day. His favorite form of game day transportation? Water taxi or rickshaw! 

Where to eat

Suzie and James both enjoy visiting some of the city’s rooftop bars and restaurants. For an elegant atmosphere, Suzie recommends Cowford Chophouse, which has views of the Main Street Bridge. For a more casual night out, she suggests the seafood and steaks at River and Post. 

“They have a great happy hour,” Suzie said. “I love their ahi tuna.” 

River and Post’s rooftop bar boasts stunning views of the city. (Photo: River and Post)

Estrella Cocina is one of James’ go-tos. The trendy Mexican restaurant and bar has a rooftop with views of the city, and James described it as “hip” and “very chic.” 

For breakfast, James prefers Maple Street Biscuit Company. The chain’s original restaurant is located in Jacksonville and specializes in Southern-style biscuit sandwiches. Maple Street is a local hotspot, so for a quicker option James says to hit up Foxtail Coffee Co.  

Near the beach, Suzie enjoys eating at The Local for its live music and grabbing late-night Mexican eats at the Flying Iguana. She and James raved about the restaurant’s guacamole, which is prepared tableside. 

The Local’s globally inspired menu includes everything from hot chicken and waffles to tuna poké tacos. (Photo: The Local)

On game day

In addition to tailgates surrounding the stadium, Suzie and James suggest trying some of Jacksonville’s breweries before the game. 

Intuition Aleworks is a brewery near the stadium where the Jacksonville Alumni Chapter has held events in the past. James likes visiting their walk-up counter and getting a beer to-go. 

Wicked Barley Brewery has a dock—James says people can even kayak straight to it! If you don’t have a ticket for the game itself, the breweries are a great place to stay and watch with other fans. 

Wicked Barley Brewery sits on the banks of Goodby’s Creek and has a large outdoor beer garden. (Photo: Wicked Barley Brewing Company)

Jacksonville attractions

If you have some extra time before or after the game, there are plenty of places to explore in and around Jacksonville. 

James and Suzie both recommend shopping at St. Johns Town Center, an outdoor mall with a range of luxury shops and restaurants.  

“That’s where I do all my shopping,” Suzie said. “They just got a Gucci store.” 

Jacksonville has a large brewery scene, and many of the breweries are family-friendly. Suzie likes Strings Sports Brewery, which is located on Main Street. James enjoys Bold City, which is in the Riverside neighborhood downtown. 

Not making the trip to Jacksonville and looking to connect with Dawgs in your own area? Find your local UGA alumni chapter and cheer on the Dawgs with fellow alumni at a game-watching party near you. 


Home Game Guide: Athens

Fall is just around the corner—which means it’s almost time for the Dawgs to hunker down Between the Hedges once again. If you’re traveling to Athens for a home game this season, here’s a guide to all the best hotels, restaurants and attractions for your weekend in the Classic City. 

Where to stay

UGA’s very own Center for Continuing Education and Hotel is a convenient place to stay, just steps from Myers Quad and an easy walk to the stadium. Fun fact: the hotel has a dedicated suite for Uga to stay in on game days—maybe you’ll pass by him on the way to your room. 

If you’d like a boutique hotel experience, The Graduate Athens may be just the place for you. Graduate hotels are located in college towns across the country, each with their own quirky decorative style. 

The Graduate Athens has its own coffee shop and a bar, restaurant and music venue. (Photo: Graduate Athens)

What to eat

Athens has a renowned and diverse restaurant scene. Check out Classic City mainstays downtown like The Grill, a 50s-style diner, or Dawg Gone Good BBQ, a hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint. 

Those looking for a taste of Athens’ fine dining options could head to The National, a Mediterranean-inspired favorite founded by UGA alumnus Peter Dale (ABJ ’99). Peter also owns Seabear Oyster Bar and co-owns Condor Chocolates and Maepole, a counter-service health food restaurant.  

On Sundays, brunch options abound downtown at Mama’s Boy, Trappeze Pub and South Kitchen and Bar. Plan for long waits at many restaurants, but know that the food will be worth it. 

Mama’s Boy’s made-from-scratch breakfasts have been written about in Oprah Magazine, Southern Living, Sports Illustrated and more. (Photo: Mama’s Boy)

On game day

Before the game, cheer on the Redcoat Band, cheerleaders, players and coaches as they enter Sanford during the Dawg Walk, which happens approximately two hours before kickoff at Gate 10 of the stadium. Show up early and you can watch the Redcoat drum line perform a concert before the walk. 

Even if you don’t have a ticket to the game, there are plenty of places in Athens to enjoy the game day atmosphere. Tailgaters surround most of the UGA campus, and big-screen viewing of UGA games is available downtown at both Paloma Park and the Georgia Theatre. If you’d like to stay on campus, the Tate Theater inside the Tate Student Center also screens football games. 

After a Dawgs win, make sure to celebrate by ringing the Chapel Bell on North Campus. 

The Georgia Theatre shows most games on their big screen throughout the season, although you must be 21 or older to enter the venue. (Photo: Georgia Theatre)

More Athens attractions

In addition to UGA sports, Athens has lots of opportunities for cultural exposure and outdoor adventure. Explore Athens’s history as a musical hub by taking the Athens Music Walk of Fame downtown, or pay a visit to the Georgia Museum of Art, which features traveling exhibitions plus an eclectic permanent collection including a sculpture garden. 

Enjoy nature by visiting Bear Hollow Zoo, a free zoo of non-releasable, rehabilitated wildlife, or walking the trails of the sprawling State Botanical Garden of Georgia. 

There’s a lot to see in the Classic City! Not making the trip to Athens and looking to connect with Dawgs in your own area? Find your local UGA alumni chapter and cheer on the Dawgs with fellow alumni at a game-watching party near you.


Away Game Guide: Vanderbilt

If you’re headed to Music City this year to cheer on the Dawgs when they meet the Vanderbilt Commodores on Oct. 14, here’s a guide from fellow Bulldog David Fabozzi (AB ’09) for where to stay, eat, and sightsee. 

Where to stay

David suggests renting houses or condos in the 12South area, a walkable neighborhood with many local boutiques and restaurants. If you prefer a boutique hotel experience, The Joseph is in the heart of downtown, just a block from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. 

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, David recommends staying at one of the two Hampton Inn locations in the West End area, near the Vanderbilt University campus. 

Where to eat

Jack’s Bar-B-Que is a Nashville institution, with award-winning sauces, smoked meats and sides served out of their three locations around downtown Nashville. Another favorite of David’s is Assembly Food Hall, a multi-story space with over 30 bars and restaurants. 

Jack’s Bar-B-Que on Broadway is one of the city’s most recognizable restaurants. (Photo: Jack’s Bar-B-Que)

“This is great for indecisive eaters with an appetite,” he said. 

For dinner, David likes heading to Kayne Prime Steakhouse, grabbing a slice at MAFIAoZA’S or trying tapas and fine wines at Barcelona Wine Bar. 

For brunch the day after the game, David recommends any of the omelets at Noshville, a New York style delicatessen. 

On game day

The Nashville Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association hosts their own BYOB tailgate in the Holiday Inn parking lot next to the stadium.  

David said that watch parties are located at two bars in town, The Valentine on Broadway and Party Fowl in Cool Springs. 

The Valentine has three floors and a rooftop patio, each with their own themed decor. (Photo: The Valentine)

Nashville attractions

Nashville is known around the globe for its legendary music scene, and there are plenty of attractions in the city to immerse visitors in the city’s music and culture. David suggests paying a visit to Robert’s Western World, an old-fashioned country music bar, the Johnny Cash Museum and a few of the Broadway bars.  

“Broadway will get crazier as the day goes on,” he advised. “Go early, enjoy it, then branch out.” 

Beyond its music scene, the city has beautiful parks and historic homes to explore. Tourists can wander the Parthenon in Centennial Park, stroll around Percy Priest Lake, tour Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, or enjoy a wine and bourbon tasting at Belle Meade, a historic home and gardens. 

The Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. (Photo: Metro Parks Nashville)

Fans of Tennessee whiskey can tour a number of Nashville distilleries, including Nelson’s Green Brier, Jack Daniel’s, George Dickel and Pennington Distilling Company. 

Not making the trip to Nashville and looking to connect with Dawgs in your own area? Find your local UGA alumni chapter and cheer on the Dawgs with fellow alumni at a game-watching party near you. 


Away Game Guide: Auburn

The Georgia-Auburn game will be held in Auburn, Alabama, on September 30. If you’re traveling to Auburn for the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, here’s a guide from fellow Dawg Megan Kelley (AB ’11) with all the best places to stay, eat and sightsee. 

Where to stay

The Hotel at Auburn University provides luxury accommodations and is located near the Auburn University campus.  

If you’re looking to stay in downtown Auburn, The Collegiate Hotel could be another great option. This boutique hotel is home to Auburn’s first elevator and has a rooftop bar and wraparound porch—perfect for enjoying views of the city. 

The city of Opelika is less than 20 minutes away and is also home to a number of hotels, restaurants and attractions, including the Auburn Marriott Opelika Resort & Spa at Grand National. 

The Auburn Mariott’s large swimming pool is surrounded by the golf course. (Photo: Auburn Mariott Opelika Resort and Spa)

Where to eat

Megan’s all-time favorite restaurant is Acre, a Southern-inspired fine dining pick with thoughtfully sourced ingredients and house-made charcuterie. The head chef, David Bancroft, is an “Iron Chef” Showdown Winner. 

Megan also enjoys David’s more casual Texas-style smokehouse, Bow & Arrow. The restaurant has plenty of parking and an extensive drinks menu.

A barbecue spread at Bow & Arrow. (Photo: Bow & Arrow)

A trip to Auburn isn’t complete without a stop at Toomer’s Drugs for their famous, fresh-squeezed lemonade. This historic drugstore and soda fountain is beloved in Auburn and sells lunch, ice cream and gifts in addition to their iconic drink.

Toomer’s lemonade, an iconic sweet-tart treat. (Photo: Toomer’s Drugs)

On game day

Even if you don’t plan to tailgate, there are lots of places to gather with other fans before the game. The Plains Taproom in downtown Auburn is the city’s first self-pour restaurant, with pay-per-ounce beers and a full menu of shareable, upscale pub foods. 

Red Clay Brewing Company is in Opelika. Their TVs and pizza menu make it a great place to watch the game if you don’t have a ticket. 

Resting Pulse Brewing Company, just a minute walk away from Red Clay, is located in downtown Opelika and has a comfortable patio space and 11 individually-controlled TVs. 

Megan typically watches the game at The Office Sports Bar & Grill in Columbus, where her local alumni chapter hosts watch parties for select games throughout the season. 

Auburn attractions

Many people pass through Columbus, Georgia—Megan’s hometown—on their way to Auburn. The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, a free historic museum with interactive exhibits and a giant-screen theater, is one of the city’s most popular attractions. 

When she’s in Auburn, Megan likes to stop at her favorite store, The Maker and Merchant in Auburn Mall. The store features a collection of goods from local jewelers, designers and artisans. 

Not making the trip to Auburn and looking to connect with Dawgs in your own area? Find your local UGA alumni chapter and cheer on the Dawgs with fellow alumni at a game-watching party near you. 


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History of the Rivalry: South Carolina

When considering whether a team is a rival of the Georgia Bulldogs, you can look at a number of factors. Does the team reside in a state bordering Georgia? Have they played UGA for over a century? Have they kept the Dawgs out of national and/or conference title contention and vice versa? Were they coached by Steve Spurrier? While two schools fit that bill, today we’re going to focus on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.

The “rivalry”

The UGA vs. South Carolina rivalry prior to 1975 could be described as dubious at best. A rivalry tends to be competitive, and the first 80 years of this series were anything but: the Gamecocks won 4 of the 29 games they played against the Bulldogs over that span.

And while there wasn’t a sudden shift in the series beginning in 1975 (South Carolina has won 15 of the 44 since then), that year did mark the arrival of USC head coach Jim Carlen, who recruited arguably the greatest Gamecock in program history: running back George Rogers. Rogers, a Georgia native, got to Columbia in 1977 and quickly became a star, rushing for 1,006 yards as a sophomore, 1,681 yards as a junior and 1,781 as a senior.

That senior season in 1980 earned him a Heisman Trophy, but not before he encountered another stellar RB from Georgia.

A Tale of Two Heismans

When Georgia played South Carolina in 1980, something like a passing of the torch – let’s call it one torch lighting another – happened. George Rogers had run roughshod over the Gamecocks’ opponents for the last four years, and in his senior season, most expected him to do the same. But the Bulldog team that George Rogers, Jim Carlen, and the USC squad encountered turned out to be a team of destiny, led by Buck Belue and featuring a freshman phenom named Herschel Walker.

UGA won the day, with Herschel running for 219 yards, but Rogers finished with 168 of his own, a good enough showing to bolster the season that would win him South Carolina’s first and only Heisman Trophy. Herschel would, of course, go on to win his own Heisman two years later, and strangely enough, a very similar passing of the torch would happen that year in the Georgia-Auburn game…

And things were going so well…

From the post-Herschel 1980s into the mid 2000s, Georgia’s dominance remained in place, with the Dawgs going 13-7 from 1983 to 2004 (the series went dormant in 1990 and 1991, before South Carolina joined the SEC in 1992). The last Gamecock victory during that span came in 2001, Mark Richt’s first year as head coach of the Bulldogs. Following that loss, Richt would reel off five wins in a row, including one in 2002 that featured the play that introduced David Pollack to the nation.

But in 2005, South Carolina was in need of a new head coach after Lou Holtz’s retirement, and they hired former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Stephen Orr Spurrier. It took Spurrier three years to get his first win in the Georgia vs. South Carolina series, but from that point forward, he became a menace to the Bulldogs. He went 5-4 against Georgia from 2007-2015, including three consecutive wins from ’10-’12 that concluded with UGA’s worst ever defeat against USC. He wasn’t as omnipotent as he had been at Florida, but the fact that he did this with the formerly lowly Gamecocks made it all the more frustrating.

But Spurrier retired in 2015, Kirby was hired in 2016, and things have returned to normalcy—other than… that one thing. South Carolina has entered a new era under head coach Shane Beamer, who took the Gamecocks to a surprising 7-6 finish (with a bowl win) in his first year and finished 8-5 last year, closing the regular season with wins over Tennessee and Clemson. Quarterback Spencer Rattler, in his final year, still has game-changer talent, and true freshman wide receiver Nyckoles Harbor could be a one-of-a-kind player, but South Carolina has a ways to go before they can catch up to Georgia. But given time, Beamer may yet reignite the Border War, and this year’s game may provide some sparks… 

Your one-stop shop for UGA football fandom is! Check in every week for new football blogs and videos, information on UGA Alumni events, and more.

History of the Rivalry: Tennessee

Larry Munson is one of the all-time greats in college football commentating, and his legendary career covering the Georgia Bulldogs—from 1966 to 2008—made him as central to UGA’s football history as Vince Dooley. Munson’s highlight reel spans decades and includes dozens of teams, but two of his most legendary calls signaled the start of new eras of Georgia football. And they came against the same opponent: Tennessee.

Munson’s calls made those games legendary, but even without a freshman “running over people” or a “hobnail boot,” games in the Georgia-Tennessee series were destined to have iconic moments. After all, we’re talking about the second and third winningest football programs in SEC history.

A Coronation in Knoxville

Perhaps the strangest thing about this rivalry is that, despite having played each other since 1899, despite being founding members of the Southeastern Conference and despite the schools’ campuses being separated by less than 150 miles, the Dawgs and the Vols have only met 50 times. Compare that to Georgia and Auburn, who started playing each other in 1892, but have met 126 times.

By 1980, the Bulldogs and Volunteers had only met 17 times, with Tennessee holding a one-game lead in the rivalry: 8-7-2. Georgia went to Knoxville to open the 1980 season, and the hopes they had to tie the series faded quickly. The Dawgs found themselves down 9-0 quickly, and their offense couldn’t sustain a drive. Vince Dooley knew his team of upperclassmen was strong at a number of positions, but tailback wasn’t one of them, and the early results here had proven that. So, he made a change.

The impact of that decision wouldn’t become clear until the second half, when Tennessee extended their lead to 15. No one knew it then, but that was the end of their scoring, and the beginning of Georgia’s season. Freshman Herschel Walker, who had spent the second quarter feeling out the defense and getting up to game speed, broke out in the second half and announced himself to the world with the Bulldogs’ first touchdown of 1980, immortalized by Larry Munson.

A safety and another Herschel touchdown later, UGA stunned the Knoxville crowd, pulled even in the series with the Vols and began their march to a national championship.

11 years, 11 points and a lot of praying

In 2000, Jim Donnan was in his fifth season as UGA head coach and in the proverbial hot seat. At most schools, a record of 32-15 doesn’t put you in trouble. But at Georgia, when that 32-15 contains a 5-11 record against Florida, Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia Tech, your record against everybody else means a lot less. Nevertheless, UGA started the 2000 season with a 3-1 record heading into a home game against Tennessee, who owned a nine-game winning streak over the Dawgs.

Tennessee was 2-2, with losses to no. 6 Florida and an unranked LSU team. This was out of character for the Vols, who were just two years removed from a national championship, and their ranking tumbled to 21. Still, they had no fear of the no. 19 Bulldogs. After spending nearly every year of the 90s beating Georgia, why would they?

They found the why by halftime, when Georgia took a 7-3 lead into the locker room thanks to a stifling defense. After the half, Tennessee scored to take the lead, 10-7. But Georgia answered with a Jasper Sanks rushing TD, then ended the discussion in the fourth quarter with a Musa Smith touchdown and Tim Wansley’s second interception of the day with less than two minutes remaining.

The feeling of impending victory over the Vols, foreign to Bulldog fans for over a decade, was too much for many in attendance. The raucous crowd began to spill onto the field after the game-sealing interception, and play had to be halted until the crowd could be removed.  Security kept the fans under control until the final whistle.

It was dramatic, it ended Tennessee’s dominance over UGA and it marked the only time the goal posts were torn down in Sanford Stadium’s history. But many may not remember this game, because by season’s end, there was much more this game did NOT do than what it did do. It did not spark a magical season for the Dawgs. It did not save Jim Donnan’s job. It did not herald the arrival of a new era.

Bulldog fans would have to wait a year for that.

“Another Hobnail Boot?”

Richt’s tenure at Georgia wouldn’t be quite as dominant as the Tennessee streak that preceded him, but he certainly leveled out the rivalry before his 2015 departure: Richt went 10-5 against the Vols from 2001 – 2015, bringing the all-time series record to 21 Georgia wins, 22 Tennessee wins, and 2 ties.

When Kirby Smart arrived in Athens, Knoxville had been in disarray for some time. Lane Kiffin’s ignominious midnight exit, Derek Dooley’s poor results and Butch Jones’ big game struggles all kept the Vols from coming close to their former glory. But in 2016, Tennessee was fresh off a bowl win over the no. 12 Northwestern Wildcats, they had brought in a top-20 recruiting class, and it looked as if they might finally be pulling things together.

They were 4-0 coming into a week 5 game in Athens, including a win over no. 19 Florida the week before. Georgia was 3-1 and had just been blown out by Ole Miss, a loss that nearly saw them fall from the top 25.

Smart had prepared his team well, taking a 17-7 lead into halftime. But in the second half, the Volunteers outscored the Dawgs 21-7. After multiple miscues, Georgia finally managed to string together a drive as the final minute wound down, and with 10 seconds left, down 28-24, Jacob Eason found Riley Ridley for a 47-yard touchdown pass that gave the Bulldogs the lead.

A short kickoff was returned by Tennessee to midfield, and with four seconds left, the Vols turned a heart-stopping Georgia win into a heartbreaking loss.

This one stung for Georgia fans, and it stung even more when Tennessee rattled off three consecutive losses after this: no. 8 Texas A&M, no. 1 Alabama, and unranked South Carolina, who Georgia would beat in week 6.

That sting lasted exactly one year. Because in 2017 and every year since, the Bulldogs have beaten the Volunteers by no fewer than 23 points. This is the most dominant stretch of games in the history of this rivalry, which now stands at 26-23-2 in the Bulldogs’ favor.

So, if we understand a “Hobnail Boot” play to be one that signifies a dramatic, come-from-behind game-winner that ushers in a changing of the guard, then when Gary Danielson called Tennessee’s 2016 Hail Mary “another Hobnail Boot,” he did Mr. Munson a great, great disservice.

Today, Josh Heupel is the Volunteers’ head coach, Tennessee’s sixth in 15 years. Last year,  UT came into Athens with all the hype in the world, fueled by the potent offense of Hendon Hooker, Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman. But from the first whistle, the Bulldogs figured out the dynamic offense that felled Alabama and earned lavish national praise and extended the Dawgs’ win streak in the series to a record six—surpassing a win-streak record that had stood for just under a century. 

 Just a few short years ago, the UGA-UT rivalry was barely significant, but national spotlights are shining on these contests once again. For now, the Bulldogs maintain a firm grip on the series, but with a resurgent program igniting the long dormant Volunteer fan base, we’re going to see the best shot Tennessee can muster when the Dawgs enter a raucous Neyland Stadium on Nov. 18. Hopefully, this trip goes as well as the one 21 years ago. 

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