The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 7, 2021: Kentucky

Hard to believe Mark Stoops has been at Kentucky 9 years. [checks record against UGA] Here’s to 9 more, coach!

Homecoming is here! To find out everything that’s going on this week and weekend, head over to alumni.uga.edu/football.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 6, 2021: Auburn

Let’s welcome first-year Auburn coach Bryan Harsin to the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry! By the way, if you lose, it’s the first time in 70 years Auburn’s lost five in a row. No pressure!

Beat Week is a one-week giving challenge where alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and fans are called together to show their support for Georgia and Auburn. Help UGA claim a second consecutive Beat Week victory, by making a donation of any size at AUvUGA.com!

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

History of the Rivalry: Auburn

The history of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is brimming with incredible moments, stunning victories, and crushing losses, and this week you can make the difference against the Tigers. Join the Beat Week challenge at AUvUGA.com, and help the Dawgs win twice this weekend!

It’s 1889 in Baltimore. Two Johns Hopkins University graduate students—one studying history, the other chemistry—go from class to class. The difference in their fields of study makes it unlikely that they will cross paths, which is ironic given that they are from neighboring states in the deep south. In all likelihood, they are unaware of one another, and they certainly don’t know that in three years, they will launch a rivalry that will stretch across three centuries and regularly involve two of the best college football squads in the nation.

In 1889 Baltimore, history student George Petrie of Mongtomery, Alabama, and chemistry student Charles Herty of Milledgeville, Georgia, had no idea they would soon create the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.

The birth of the rivalry

The 1895 Georgia-Auburn game at Piedmont Park in Atlanta

After graduating from Johns Hopkins, both Herty and Petrie returned to their home states in 1891 as university faculty and started building collegiate football squads—Petrie at Auburn, Herty at UGA. In 1892, both Georgia and Auburn fielded their first football teams. Georgia was the first to play a game, thrashing Mercer University’s team 50-0.

At that time, it was difficult to find people in the South who knew the rules of this largely Northern game well enough to officiate it. John Kimball, an Auburn graduate in Athens who followed the fledgling UGA team, asked Petrie, the Auburn coach, to come “umpire” the UGA-Mercer game (Petrie would send one of his players to officiate the game) and Petrie asked Kimball to extend an offer to Herty: to have Georgia and Auburn play in Piedmont Park in Atlanta as part of a three-day weekend celebrating George Washington’s birthday.

Herty accepted, and on Feb. 20, 1892, in front of a crowd of several thousand—each having paid 50 cents a ticket—Auburn played its first-ever football game, Georgia played its second, Auburn won 10-0, and the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry was born.

“It’s like playing against your brother”

The 1969 Georgia-Auburn game in Sanford Stadium

Time was running out for the Bulldogs. Down 13-7 against eighth-ranked Auburn, Wally Butts’ 1959 Bulldogs team could see their last hopes of an SEC championship fading as Auburn drove to run out the clock. But when Auburn QB Bryant Harvard put the ball on the ground, it found its way into the hands of UGA lineman Pat Dye. A few plays later, as time expired, the Bulldogs jumped ahead 14-13. A few games later, Georgia claimed the ’59 SEC Championship and won the Orange Bowl against Missouri. A few decades later, Dye became Auburn’s head coach.

As if that weren’t enough, Shug Jordan, the Auburn coach in the 1959 game—who would go on to become the Jordan in Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium—had previously been an assistant football coach and head basketball coach at UGA.

Oh, and one of Jordan’s graduate assistants on the sidelines for that 1959 game? Vince Dooley.

A hallmark of this rivalry is the interconnection of the schools. Even beyond Dooley, Dye and Jordan, a great many players and coaches on one side started or ended up on the other side.

  • Hugh Nall – played at Georgia 1976-1980, coached at Auburn 1999-2008
  • Neil Callaway – coached at Auburn 1981-1992, coached at UGA 2001-2006
  • Stacy Searels – played at Auburn 1984-1987, coached at UGA 2007-2010
  • Rodney Garner – played at Auburn 1985-1988, coached at UGA 1998-2012, coached at Auburn 2013-2020
  • Will Muschamp – played at UGA 1991-1994, coached at Auburn 2006-2007, 2015, coached at UGA 2021
  • Mike Bobo – played at UGA 1993-1997, coached at UGA 2001-2014, coached at Auburn 2021
  • Tracy Rocker – played at Auburn 1986-1989, coached at Auburn 2009-2010, coached at UGA 2014-2016

Firehoses, blackouts and revenge

Knowshon Moreno runs during the Georgia-Auburn game in 2007

The familiarity and ferocity of these two teams would be enough to create a litany of unforgettable contests, but add to that each school’s football pedigree and their fanbases’ demand for a high caliber football program, and you get unforgettable moments with championship consequences.

It would be nearly impossible to sum up all the memorable moments from the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry in the space of this blog. If you have some time, it’s worth it to scan the Wikipedia entry for the rivalry, just to see all the incredible moments that define Georgia-Auburn. Here are a few of our favorites.

  • The 1986 Bulldogs walked into Jordan-Hare Stadium as three-touchdown underdogs, coming off a 31-19 loss to the Gators the week before. They were without their starting QB, who was a late scratch due to a death in his family. Despite all this, Georgia fought their way to a 20-16 win over the no. 8 Tigers, and in the post-game hysteria, UGA fans stormed the field. The stadium’s sprinkler system and fire hoses were turned on these fans, but amid the chaos, the hoses were turned on fans (and the Redcoats) celebrating in the stands. Auburn issued an official apology for the response afterwards.
  • Following losses to South Carolina and Tennessee, the 2007 Georgia squad nearly tumbled out of the top-25. A close win over Vanderbilt, a raucous upset of Florida and a surprising shootout victory over Troy gave the Bulldogs a swagger they had lacked earlier in the year, which they would carry into the Auburn game. Rumors began to swirl the week of the game that UGA might wear black jerseys, something they had not done since the ‘40s. The team wore their standard home reds for warm-ups, but when the team returned to the field for the game, they burst through the Super G banner clad in black. The stadium erupted, and the game was decided at that point: Georgia dominated from the opening whistle, winning 45-20 on their way to an overpowering performance against Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl and a no. 3 finish in the polls.
  • Much like Richt’s second year, Kirby’s second year was a charmed run. The Bulldogs were 9-0 headed into the Auburn game and ranked no. 1 in the College Football Playoff Poll. The offense was potent and the defense was stifling, but 10th ranked Auburn had an answer for both: The Tigers crushed the Dawgs 40-17 at Jordan-Hare. However, both Georgia and Auburn would finish conference play at the top of their respective divisions, meaning the SEC Championship would be a rematch—one that would be an almost complete inverse of the previous game. Auburn scored first, but they would not score again. UGA scored 28 unanswered points and left Atlanta with the Dawgs’ first SEC title in 12 years, a ticket to their first Rose Bowl in 75 years and, eventually, a spot in the national title game.

Today, Auburn is adjusting to life under first-year head coach Bryan Harsin—with a close loss to Penn State in Happy Valley, a thrilling win over LSU and a narrow escape against Georgia State—while the Dawgs are brushing off all opponents en route to what appears to be a banner year. Still, there’s a certain level of chaos one can always expect in any Auburn game, doubly so in a Georgia-Auburn game. So, throw out the records: as usual, this is anybody’s game.

Your one-stop shop for UGA football fandom is alumni.uga.edu/football! Check in every week for new football blogs and videos, information on UGA Alumni events, new backgrounds for your phone, computer and Zoom and more.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 5, 2021: Arkansas

Arkansas is doing great, and we love that for Coach Pittman! So happy for him. It’s a real shame we’ve got to roast these Hawgs.

With Homecoming just a few short weeks away, make sure you know the when, where and how of every exciting Homecoming event by going to alumni.uga.edu/football!

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 4, 2021: Vanderbilt

Jerry looks at the Dawgs’ week 4 opponent, Vanderbilt, which hired a new head coach during the offseason. He immediately lost to East Tennessee State, so it seems like he’s a perfect fit!

There’s a UGA student out there who could benefit from your experience, and the UGA Mentor Program wants to make that connection happen. Help the next generation of Bulldogs and stay connected with your alma mater: become a UGA mentor today at mentor.uga.edu!

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 3, 2021: South Carolina

Jerry takes a look at week 3, when Shane Beamer returns to Athens not as a Georgia special teams coach but as the South Carolina Gamecocks’ head coach. You hate to see a guy take a step back like that.

Your one-stop shop for UGA football fandom is alumni.uga.edu/football! Check in every week for new football blogs and videos, information on UGA Alumni events, new backgrounds for your phone, computer and Zoom and more.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

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 is entering a new era this year with Will Muschamp gone (and on the Georgia sidelines, actually) and Shane Beamer now leading the team, so we’ll see how our rivalry evolves. Will Beamer reignite the border war, or will the Gamecocks return to little brother status?

Your one-stop shop for UGA football fandom is alumni.uga.edu/football! Check in every week for new football blogs and videos, information on UGA Alumni events, new backgrounds for your phone, computer and Zoom and more.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 2, 2021: UAB

After a strong showing in Charlotte, the Dawgs return home to the first capacity crowd at Sanford Stadium since 2019. This might appear to be a win UGA could sleepwalk through, but the UAB Blazers are no pushover! … Even if we probably will push them over.

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Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.

History of the Rivalry: Clemson

Which of UGA’s rivals is closest to the Classic City? It’s not South Carolina, it’s not Tennessee, it’s not even Georgia Tech. If you drew a straight line from the center of Athens to the center of the next closest rival city, it would land 58.89 miles away in Clemson, South Carolina.

Clemson is unusual among UGA rivals in that we haven’t played them annually since 1987, but the history, the proximity, both schools’ status as college football bluebloods and the slew of unforgettable gridiron moments between the Tigers and Bulldogs makes this a rivalry nonetheless.

The early years

The first contest between UGA and Clemson happened in 1897, when “Clemson” was short for “Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina.” The two schools played annually from 1897 – 1916, meeting in Athens, Clemson, Augusta and even once in Anderson, South Carolina. By the end of that stretch, the Bulldogs narrowly lead the series 10-9-1. Afterwards, the neighboring teams only played intermittently over the next 46 years, but the Bulldogs dominated this run, going 10-1-1.

By this time, UGA was becoming a football powerhouse and the record had begun to reflect that. Even when the UGA-Clemson series became an annual affair once again in 1962, the Dawgs were the dominant team. But Clemson was on the upswing, having expanded to become a co-educational, civilian college in 1955 and then changing its name in 1964 to Clemson University—a change that reflected the growth of the college and, indirectly, its athletic programs.

From here, things began to change: slowly at first, but when Danny Ford became Clemson’s head coach in 1978, this rivalry went from regional contest to national spotlight.

“Worse than bonkers”

Danny Ford and Vince Dooley brought their programs to national prominence right around the same time—the late 70s into the 80s. It could be argued that Dooley got there a little sooner, but it was in this period that the Georgia-Clemson games started carrying national title implications.

In 1978, eighth-ranked Clemson walked face-first into a shutout courtesy of Erk Russell’s defense, a loss that would be the only one Clemson endured that season, shutting them out of national title consideration.

In 1981, UGA was riding high after winning a national title the year before and opening the season with wins over Tennessee and California. But Clemson’s defense kept Herschel Walker (and every other Bulldog) out of the endzone, ultimately costing Georgia a shot at back-to-back titles and giving the Tigers a win that set them on the path to a national championship.

These types of contests typified the series at that time, but the moment most UGA fans would identify with UGA-Clemson at this time (and perhaps all time) came off of Kevin Butler’s toe in 1984.

The modern day

Since 1987, the rivalry has returned to its intermittent status: a series of home-and-homes with four or five or 10 years between them. It’s sad to see a contest with such history fade, particularly when the programs involved field nationally relevant teams, but the Tigers and Bulldogs make up for lost time on the occasions they do get together.

There was the time that the 2002 Bulldog squad that would go on to win UGA’s first SEC championship in 20 years was on the ropes against Clemson until DJ Shockley came in for the fourth quarter and sparked a Georgia comeback.

Or the time the rivalry returned after 10 years away and Tajh Boyd narrowly outdueled Aaron Murray for the win in 2013—a game that saw Todd Gurley run for 154 yards on 12 carries despite the loss, presaging his single-handed immolation of the Tigers the following year (198 yards on 15 carries, 100 return yards, 4 total touchdowns).

And now we renew the rivalry once again. It’s been seven years since we played and once again, the contest could either be a launching pad or a stumbling block. Either way, it figures to follow the recent trend of the series: should be a hell of a game.

Your one-stop shop for UGA football fandom is alumni.uga.edu/football! Check in every week for new football blogs and videos, information on UGA Alumni events, new backgrounds for your phone, computer and Zoom and more.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 1, 2021: Clemson

We made it! College football is back, and we’re kicking it off by playing that other school from South Carolina. Who was it again? Coastal? Furman? We’ve beat them twice as much as they’ve beat us, I know that. I’m sure it’ll come to me.

There’s just nothing quite like watching a Georgia game with a bunch of Dawg fans, and you can do just that anywhere in the country thanks to our Alumni Chapters’ Game Watching Parties! Go to alumni.uga.edu/football to find one near you, and you’ll Never Bark Alone.

Jerry Tanner is everyone you’ve ever met at a UGA tailgate, everyone who’s ever talked about Georgia football by your cubicle, and every message board poster who claims to have a cousin who cut Vince Dooley’s grass. He’s a UGA alumnus, he’s a college football fanatic with a Twitter addiction, and he’s definitely a real person and not a character played by Clarke Schwabe.