From the Classic City to country music: Ray Fulcher on his latest release, Love Ya Son, Go Dawgs

“Football at UGA is more than just a game or an event; it’s a lifestyle, it’s family, it’s engrained into our everyday life. This song hopefully captures that.”  – Ray Fulcher (BSED ’08, MED ’10)

When country music singer/songwriter Ray Fulcher (BSED ’08, MED ’10) was majoring in education at UGA, he went to a concert that changed his life. Eric Church performing on the Georgia Theatre stage inspired Ray to pick up a guitar—and he hasn’t looked back. He’s now written four No.1 hits performed by Luke Combs and has released a new song with a nod to his alma mater.

Ray admits choosing a new—and less certain—career path was probably the “dumbest” thing he could do. He also knows that’s what makes it so worthwhile. His advice for students considering a major life change?

“Don’t be afraid to go after it. Know that it won’t be easy and forget the word ‘quit.’”

Ray co-wrote the chart-topping When it Rains, It Pours in 2017. His first call when he found out it hit No. 1 was to his parents. The Double Dawg values his family, who supported his pursuit of a career in music, and his alma mater; both loves are evident in his latest release, Love Ya Son, Go Dawgs. The song highlights the bond between father and son, and while Ray hopes Georgia fans can relate, he believes the song is universal.

When asked if he would take requests from fans to tweak the lyrics to feature other teams, Ray is quick to say, “They can sing whatever version they want, but I don’t think I could ever sing anything but ‘Dawgs.’”

Check out Ray’s new song above and enjoy a few of his favorite college memories from his time in Athens.

Rapid-Fire with Ray Fulcher

  • Top Sanford Stadium moment: 2007 Auburn blackout game
  • Most prized UGA possession: 2005 SEC championship ring (I was a student assistant then a graduate assistant for the football team from 2004-2010) *see photo below!
  • Favorite song in college: Rhett Akins “That Ain’t my Truck”
  • Favorite UGA/Athens musician: Bill Anderson (ABJ ’59)
  • Gameday hype song: The Battle Hymn!
  • Uga X or Hairy Dawg: Uga!
  • Score prediction for UGA vs. Bama: Dawgs on top 37-35

Ray shared a few photos from his time at UGA and on the road performing:

Dawg Days Gone By: the top 10 UGA football games of the pre-Smart era

We’re living through a particularly exciting age of University of Georgia football at the moment—from recruiting coups to Rose Bowl victories to rivalry game winning streaks—and most of the moments that define Kirby Smart’s tenure as the Bulldogs’ head coach are still fresh in our collective memory. But UGA’s football history is rife with dramatic victories, come-from-behind wins, and heroic performances, so as we gear up for another season Between The Hedges, let’s take a look back at some of these historic moments that have come to define the Georgia football program.

UGA vs. GA Tech  – 1978

UGA came into this game ranked no. 11, but unranked, 7-3 Georgia Tech came into Athens with their hair on fire. The Yellow Jackets charged to a 20-0 lead, and late in the first half, Coach Vince Dooley decided to hand the reins of the offense over to freshman QB Buck Belue. The switch energized the Dawgs’ attack and they fought back to take a 21-20 lead before Georgia Tech scored to make it 28-21 after a two-point conversion. Led by Belue, the Bulldogs marched down field and scored late in the fourth quarter. And then, 28-27, with the opportunity to kick a point-after attempt to tie the game, Dooley opted for the two-point conversion. The freshman QB came through again and the Dawgs prevailed.

 

UGA vs. Tennessee – 1980

You have to be wearing a very specific shade of orange to feel at home in Neyland Stadium. It’s a hostile environment that shakes the most seasoned of players, so one might not expect great things from a freshman running back listed third on the depth chart, particularly when this was that running back’s first game of college ball, and especially not when he had to face down Freshman All-American safety Bill Bates. Where all those conditions collided is where Georgia football’s most enduring legend began.

 

UGA vs. Florida – 1980

With Herschel’s legend growing by the week and the 1980 squad proving to be true contenders, the 8-0 Bulldogs, ranked no. 2 in the country, traveled to Jacksonville for their annual match against the Gators, who were 6-1 and ranked no. 20 after suffering a beatdown at home against an LSU team that finished 7-4. Florida caught Georgia by surprise and held a 21-20 lead late into the fourth quarter. With 90 seconds left in the game, the Dawgs snapped the ball on third-and-long in the shadow of their own goalpost. Buck Belue scrambled to his right and pointed, Lindsay Scott ran to the gap in the Gator coverage, and Larry Munson made one of the most famous radio calls in the history of college football.

 

UGA vs. Notre Dame – 1981

After racking up 11 wins, the no. 1 ranked Bulldogs received an invitation to play no. 7 Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. Many expected that Georgia would have to open up a passing attack against the Fighting Irish, who would zero-in on Herschel and, being able to focus entirely on stopping one angle of attack—Georgia’s best angle of attack—functionally eliminate the Bulldog’s offense. What they found was that even with a separated shoulder, suffered in the game’s first quarter, Herschel could still amass over 150 yards on the ground and even while only completing one pass, the Dawgs could win. When the clock struck zero, Georgia had earned their 12th win of the season and their first consensus national title.

 

UGA vs. Auburn – 1996

In the midst of the disappointing 1996 season, the 3-5 Bulldogs traveled to Auburn in mid-November for their annual tilt. The month before, they’d lost to the no. 7 Volunteers at home, and the week before, they’d gotten thrashed by Steve Spurrier’s Florida team, the squad that would ultimately give the Gators their first national championship. Needless to say, the situation seemed grim as the Dawgs prepared for another rival, the 20th ranked Auburn Tigers.

But Jim Donnan’s Bulldogs—including future UGA coach Mike Bobo, future Pittsburgh Steeler great Hines Ward and future NFL Hall of Famer Champ Bailey—found themselves in a pitched battle with Tommy Bowden’s Tigers. The contest occurred in the first season that Division I college football had implemented overtime rules, and the SEC’s first-ever overtime game put the concept to the test: It would take four overtimes to decide a winner. And even if all of that doesn’t sound familiar, odds are you’ve seen at least a part of this game: This was the origin of that famous photo of Uga, reared back on hind legs, snapping at an Auburn player. That player avoided a bulldog bite, but the Tigers did not.

 

UGA vs. Tennessee – 2001

As exciting as that ’96 Auburn game was, Georgia wandered in mediocrity for decades after Herschel Walker left, ceding SEC East dominance to Florida and Tennessee. But when UGA hired Florida State offensive coordinator Mark Richt to be their new head coach for the 2001 season, things looked up. Expectations are always high for a Georgia coach, and after starting the season 2-1, fans were still largely positive on Richt even after a loss to no. 21 South Carolina. And with a trip to Neyland Stadium looming, no one would begrudge this first-time head coach and his unranked Bulldogs a loss to Philip Fulmer’s no. 6 Tennessee Volunteers. Instead, Richt gave Bulldog Nation a signature win and a legendary Larry Munson moment.

 

UGA vs. Auburn – 2002

In Mark Richt’s second year, he built on his initial success in Athens by piling up wins—including ranked victories over no. 22 Alabama and no. 10 Tennessee—on his way to the rivalry game against Auburn. Georgia walked into Jordan-Hare Stadium with a 9-1 record, a loss to Florida their only blemish, but it was a blemish that—should the no. 7 Dawgs lose again and the Gators continue to win—would cost them the SEC East title and a shot at an SEC Championship. Auburn had a narrower path to Atlanta, but with a win over Georgia and a loss by Arkansas, the no. 24 Tigers could compete for the championship.

With all this on the line, the contest was hard-fought, to say the least. But with 1:25 left in the game, things looked bleak for the Dawgs: after reeling off 14 points in the second half to close the gap to 21-17, the trailing Bulldogs’ offense stalled out in Auburn’s red zone. On fourth down with 15 yards to go, David Greene hurled a rainbow-arc pass to the back of Auburn’s end zone to find a leaping Michael Johnson and punched Georgia’s ticket to the championship—a game they would win decisively, giving Georgia their first SEC title in 20 years.

 

UGA vs. Florida – 2007

In 2007, Georgia entered the back half of their season feeling cautiously optimistic. They were 5-2—with two losses against South Carolina and Tennessee and a dramatic overtime win against Alabama—and neck-and-neck with UT and Florida for the SEC East title. But heading into Jacksonville, Dawg fans weren’t hopeful. Urban Meyer’s Florida won the national championship in 2006; Tim Tebow, the Gators’ sophomore QB phenom, had captured the nation’s attention; and the Dawgs had lost all but two of the previous 17 games. Georgia would need some magic to win, and they found it in sophomore QB Matt Stafford, freshman running back Knowshon Moreno and one of the most famous end zone celebrations in college football history.

 

UGA vs. Auburn – 2007

After their win over Florida, the 2007 Bulldogs vaulted up the rankings, reaching no. 10. After a win over Troy at home, the Dawgs would welcome no. 18 Auburn into Sanford Stadium. The race for a spot in the SEC title game—in both divisions—remained tight, so this game had plenty on the line. Early in the week leading up to the game, rumors began to circulate about a possible uniform change for the Bulldogs, and as game day came closer, those whispers grew louder. Fans urged one another to wear black to the game, and when the gates opened, legions of black-clad Bulldogs filled the stands. Pregame warmups seemed to quash the rumors: The players appeared on field in their traditional home reds. But when the team burst through the super G banner, they were wearing black. The stadium rocked in response, and that energy carried the Bulldogs to a 45-20 victory.

 

UGA vs. Alabama – 2012

Mark Richt’s 2012 Georgia Bulldogs entered the season highly ranked and proved their mettle on the way to an 11-1 season, the lone loss coming against then-sixth ranked South Carolina. Alabama, in their sixth season under Nick Saban, followed a similar trajectory, with their only stumble coming against a 15th ranked Texas A&M team. By the time the two met in Atlanta for the SEC Championship, the Bulldogs had reached no. 3 in the rankings, and the Tide had the no. 2 spot. The winner of the contest was bound for the national championship. The stakes were high, but the quality of play was higher.

The titanic fight saw six lead changes, a successful fake punt, an Alabama fumble on Georgia’s one-yard line, an endzone interception and a field goal blocked and returned for a touchdown. Finally, with UGA down 32-28 and just over a minute left in the game, Aaron Murray drove the Dawgs to Alabama’s eight-yard line. The final play is burned into the memory of Bulldog fans who saw it and is far better seen than read. It’s a result that didn’t go the Dawgs’ way, but it was an appropriately dramatic finish for one of the most exciting football games Georgia’s ever played.

Previewing the (new!) 2020 UGA football schedule

It seemed in doubt for a while, but for the moment, Georgia football is on the horizon.

The COVID-19 pandemic has required a dramatic reappraisal of fall sports by colleges and universities across the country, but after much deliberation, the Southeastern Conference is moving forward with fall football, unveiling reconfigured 10-game, conference-only schedules for its 14 members on August 17.

Let’s begin with the major caveat: this is as tentative as tentative gets. As public health conditions change in the shadow of COVID-19, so too will college football conditions. But let’s assume that things go as well as can be hoped, and we see full-powered college football in 2020. What do our Bulldogs face?

University of Arkansas

Saturday, Sep. 26, 2020 | 4PM ET | SEC Network
Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium – Fayetteville, AR

Arkansas RazorbacksFor many Georgia fans, it may seem a little cruel that in the Razorbacks’ first season under head coach Sam Pittman— beloved former offensive line coach for UGA—they would open their season against the formidable Bulldogs. Blame COVID-19 if you want, but the Dawgs should walk into and out of Fayetteville comfortably, as the Razorbacks have lost 19 consecutive SEC games and lost several key players on a defense that finished last year ranked 110th in total defense.

Auburn University

Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020 | 7:30PM ET | ESPN
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Auburn Tigers

Things were already going to be strange with this matchup—it’s been 83 years since this game was played in October—but now with the schedule shake-up, the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry becomes a week 2 matchup. It will be a notable contest for another reason, however: this is Georgia’s 125th game against the Auburn Tigers. The last 15 contests against the Plainsmen have favored the Dawgs: UGA is 12-3 since 2006, a record that would likely surprise most of Bulldog Nation. In that same time period, however, the Bulldogs have never gone more than 4 games without giving one up to the Tigers. After winning three in a row, can Kirby keep the streak alive, or will shouts of War Eagle drown out the Chapel Bell?

University of Tennessee

Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

The unchecked UT dominance of the 90s has waned ever since Verron Haynes planted a hobnail boot into the checkered end zone of Neyland Stadium: Georgia is 13-6 against the Vols since 2001, and our last three contests have been decided by an average of 32 points. That said, after last season’s loss to the Dawgs, Tennessee reeled off a 6-1 record—an impressive feat after early season losses to BYU and Georgia State. If Jeremy Pruitt has gotten the Volunteers to turn a corner, Tennessee could give UGA much more of a game this go-round. But without the time and structure of the typical offseason where that corner-turning usually occurs…

University of Alabama

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 | 8PM | CBS
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL

The last time the Georgia Bulldogs went to Tuscaloosa, they left on an overtime, game-winning bomb from Matt Stafford to Mikey Henderson. Since then, as Dawg fans are well aware, things have been all Bama in this series, which stands at 40-25-4 all-time in the Crimson Tide’s favor. Any trip to Bryant-Denny is difficult, but this one may be even more challenging than our originally scheduled one—at least then there was a possibility of catching early-season Bama napping. As it stands now, though, this game will likely see two heavyweights tuned up and ready for high-level football.

University of Kentucky

Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020
Kroger Field – Lexington, KY

Kentucky WildcatsAfter a 10-3 year in 2018, Mark Stoops’ Wildcats regressed a bit in 2019 with a 7-5 record. This was mostly expected, as the Cats lost a number of all-timers on both sides of the ball to the NFL Draft. Kentucky loses another playmaker this year in Lynn Bowden, the dynamic WR/QB who gave defenses fits. Well, MOST defenses: Georgia handled Bowden and Kentucky in a miserable, soggy game in 2019. This game lines up as a classic “trap game” for the Dawgs, who will be coming off of an undoubtedly grueling, highly anticipated game against the Tide and could overlook the ‘Cats as they look ahead to the bye week and the Gators after that.

University of Florida

Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 | 3:30PM ET | CBS
TIAA Bank Field – Jacksonville, FL

Florida GatorsUnfortunately, this new schedule doesn’t allow the Georgia-Florida game to fall directly on Halloween, which always feels like the appropriate time for this match: hordes of lizard creatures assemble, draped in rags of garish orange and blue. The good guys in red and black will fight to extend Georgia’s win streak to 4, which would be the longest streak in this series in over a decade. Dan Mullen has steadily improved the Gators since his arrival in 2018, and our last game was decided by a single touchdown, so this figures to be yet another hotly contested match on the bank of the St. Johns River.

University of Missouri

Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020
Faurot Field – Columbia, MO

Missouri TigersSince Missouri joined the SEC in 2012, the Tigers have only managed one win in eight games against the Bulldogs. But those games all saw either Gary Pinkel or Barry Odom at the helm for Mizzou, and now head coach Eli Drinkwitz will lead the Tigers. Drinkwitz served in various assistant roles for over a decade at a variety of schools before taking over the Appalachian State Mountaineers last season. In his one season at App State, his team set a Sun Belt record for wins (12), won the conference and became the first-ever Sun Belt program to earn a Top 20 ranking in the AP poll.

Mississippi State University

Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

Mississippi State BulldogsOne of the more exciting SEC developments in the last year was Mike Leach’s arrival in Starkville. This is actually Leach’s second stint in the conference—he was Kentucky’s offensive coordinator/QB coach from 1997-1998, when he and head coach Hal Mumme turned quarterback Tim Couch into a no. 1 NFL Draft pick (you read that right). It remains to be seen how well Leach’s prolific offense translates to the modern-day SEC, but even without his high-flying scheme, MSU already had senior running back Kylin Hill, the SEC’s leading rusher in 2019. And Leach’s new defensive coordinator, Zach Arnett, led a San Diego State defense that, over the last two seasons, was among the nation’s best in multiple categories. Don’t be surprised if this game gives us some trouble.

University of South Carolina

Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020
Williams-Brice Stadium – Columbia, SC

The Dawgs will travel to their second Columbia of the year with one thing in mind: revenge. The 2019 USC-UGA game set off a wave of soul-searching and second-guessing that still lingers in the minds of many Bulldog fans and, ultimately, became the reason Georgia was kept out of the College Football Playoff. Despite UGA holding a massive advantage in the all-time series (51-19-2), this game now looms large for the Dawgs. But with former Georgia QB and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo joining former Bulldogs Will Muschamp, Bryan McClendon and Thomas Brown on the USC coaching staff, the Gamecocks could have a rejuvenated offense, so the South Carolina of 2020 may be more difficult than the 2019 edition.

Vanderbilt University

Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020
Sanford Stadium – Athens, GA

This isn’t who we normally close the season with, but I guess we can trade one set of nerds for another. The ‘Dores and the Dawgs face-off Between The Hedges for their 81st meeting. This series has been one-sided for decades, with the Bulldogs winning 43 of the last 50 contests. Still, Kirby is 3-1 against Vandy, and head coach Derek Mason is good for one or two upsets a year, so UGA will need to give an honest effort to make sure they don’t give Vanderbilt a reason to extend Mason’s contract.

More than ever before, make sure to stay connected with the UGA Alumni Association this season. COVID-19 will change how we enjoy the game this year, but the Alumni Association will be rolling out a variety of ways, before and throughout the season, to bring the “Saturday in Athens” feeling directly to you, wherever you are. From the hedges to your home, we Never Bark Alone! Go Dawgs!

Submit a photo wearing a UGA-themed mask

Wondering how you can help keep yourself and others safe as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic? One simple way is to wear a mask! 

Masks reduce the spread of COVID-19 from respiratory droplets, especially in public settings—like a college campus. Wearing a mask, combined with social distancing (6 feet) and frequent sanitation, is critical as we navigate the pandemic. Some people may not know they are infected due to a lack of symptoms, so it’s important to take precautions and correctly wear a mask at all times, especially in instances when social distancing may be difficult. If wearing a mask is not possible due to mental or physical conditions, consult a health care provider for alternative safety methods. 

Let’s show our strength as a Bulldog Nation; masks are a symbol of respect for our family, friends, and fellow Dawgs. 

Wearing a UGA-themed mask? Send us a photo to be featured on our social channels and maybe even in the winter issue of Georgia Magazine! 

UGA activity pages for the Bulldog family

Connect the dots. Find the words. Color in the lines. Escape the maze.

We know that every minute of distraction can be a blessing to a parent trying to get work done – and that every minute of entertainment for those passing the time alone is a welcome escape. Here are five activity pages for Bulldog fans of all ages as we shelter in place.

Looking for more fun?

University of Georgia crossword puzzle

The first crossword puzzle ran in New York World on December 21, 1913, and was created by Arthur Wynne. Other newspapers began to run crossword puzzles shortly after, and the rest is history. Crossword puzzles now test our minds in newspapers, books, and more.

The University of Georgia’s independent newspaper, The Red & Black, publishes daily crossword puzzles online and in print on Thursdays, much to the delight of students seeking a distraction from their homework.

For many alumni, the R&B crossword was a daily endeavor on the bus and in (-between) classes. In honor of this little piece of UGA nostalgia, we designed a special UGA-themed crossword puzzle for you, our alumni and friends, to enjoy–after your homework is done, of course. See if you and your friends can get the answers correctly without peeking at the answers! Pro tip: we hope you remember the names of bus routes, dorms and dining halls.

90 years of UGA football tickets

Times have certainly changed since the Bulldogs first kicked off on Herty Field in 1892. From the initial two-game season to game venues to the uniforms, we’ve seen drastic transformations⁠—and tickets are no exception. With Homecoming week upon us, we thought it would be fun to look back at how tickets have evolved over the years … starting in 1929.

Which one is your favorite? I’m partial to the nostalgic illustrations (and $3 price tag) of yesteryear. Unfortunately, the only similarity seems to be that they still don’t grow on trees. But I imagine the feeling you get between the hedges is about the same.

Happy Homecoming, Georgia family, and as we’ve been saying for a century: Go Dawgs!

1. 1929: Yale vs Georgia


Date: October 12, 1929
Price: $3
Score: 0-15 (W)

 

2. 1931: Georgia Tech vs Georgia

University of Georgia vs Georgia Tech ticket from 1931
Date: November 28, 1931
Price: $3
Score: 6-35 (W)

 

3. 1942 National Championship: UCLA vs Georgia


Date: January 1, 1943
Price: $4.40
Score: 0-9 (W)

 

4. 1963: Alabama vs Georgia


Date: September 21, 1963
Price: $5
Score: 32-7  (L)

 

5. 1966: Ole Miss vs Georgia


Date: October 8, 1966
Price: $5
Score: 3-9 (W)

 

6. 1971: Oregon State vs Georgia


Date: September 11, 1971
Price: $7
Score: 25-56 (W)

 

7. 1980: Vanderbilt vs Georgia


Date: October 18, 1980
Price: $10
Score: 0-41 (W)

 

8. 1980 National Championship: Notre Dame vs Georgia


Date: January 1, 1981
Price: $17
Score: 10-17 (W)

 

9. 1997: Mississippi State vs Georgia


Date: October 4, 1997
Price: Unknown
Score: 0-47 (W)

 

10. 2008: Georgia Tech vs Georgia


Date: November 29, 2008
Price: Unknown
Score: 45-42 (L)

 

11. 2019: Notre Dame vs Georgia


Date: September 21, 2019
Price: $75
Score: 17-23 (W)

 

Special thanks to the Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library for helping us track down many of these ticket images. Be sure to check out “Beautiful and Brutal: Georgia Football, 2017” on display each Friday before home football games at the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

We hope to see you in Athens for Homecoming 2019. Learn more about school/college events, including the annual Black Alumni Homecoming Tailgate, at alumni.uga.edu/athletics.

Get the UGA coloring pages you never knew you needed

These coloring pages are perfect for Bulldog fans of any age, whether you use them to distract a toddler, de-stress after a long day, or decorate your space with reminders of Athens. And yes, you can use more colors than just red and black … just no orange!

Show us your creativity by posting these on social media and tagging the UGA Alumni Association and be sure to include #AlwaysADawg.

Click on each of the following images to download them. Don’t worry; we’ve made them printer-friendly! [And we added a new option in Spring 2020].