The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 10, 2021: Tennessee

Tennessee football has been on a run of bad coaches since 2009, but maybe this new one is different! He seems like he knows how to properly wear a gaiter, so that’s already an improvement.

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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: 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. In 2021, Heupel re-energized the Vol faithful with a potent offense led by Hendon Hooker and Cedric Tillman. And while that duo gave Dawg fans a scare early in the 2021 UGA-UT game, the Bulldogs figured out the Vols offense and extended their win streak in the series to five—one away from surpassing Georgia’s longest win streak in the series, set almost 100 years ago.

This year, Hooker and Tillman return, so if Heupel can add some wrinkles to the offense and find playmakers on defense, Tennessee could hang with Georgia. But that may be a few too many ifs for a Georgia team that shows no signs of slowing down.

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, and more.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 9, 2021: Missouri

The original script for this episode read “Missouri needed four quarters to put away a Vandy team we beat by 62.” That was the whole script.

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.

Through the Ages with “The Heart of the Bulldog Spirit”

Saturdays in Athens wouldn’t be the same without the sounds of the University of Georgia’s Redcoat Marching Band. Using the interactive timeline below, march through the ages to learn about the origins, the growth and the many traditions of “the heart of the Bulldog spirit.”

Through the ages with "The Heart of the Bulldog Spirit"

History of the Rivalry: Florida

The University of Georgia Bulldogs once kicked off from their own 8-yard line. This wasn’t at a time when the rules of football were dramatically different, nor was it the result of player error. The Dawgs kicked off in the shadow of their own goal posts by choice.

It was so important that they thumb their nose at their opponent and break the rules of the game that they said, “Fine. Put the ball wherever.”

What drives a team to this point? Winning at this level of college football requires scratching out every last tiny advantage, but UGA was willing to give up nearly 30 yards of field position in the first quarter of a game against a hated rival.

Why? It’s a long answer, over a century old, but it’s the reason the Georgia-Florida rivalry is one of the best in sports. And while there are dozens of moments one could point to, we’ll isolate three pivotal snapshots in the series.

Our villain’s origin story

 It’s 4th and 8 for the Gators. Down 20-10 against the Bulldogs, they’re on their own 25 with time running out. Stephen Spurrier is under center, the senior quarterback responsible for so many great Gator moments. Just last week, he had mounted a heroic, fourth-quarter drive against Auburn and kicked the game-winning field goal himself, practically cementing his place as the 1966 Heisman frontrunner.

The seventh-ranked Gators needed some of those heroics now, but Spurrier was having a bad day—multiple sacks and three interceptions—and he had always struggled in Jacksonville, having gone 1-1 against the Bulldogs, who were on the rise under third-year coach Vince Dooley.

Florida’s first undefeated season, a shot at their first SEC Championship, and the pride of having conquered the hated Bulldogs all hung in the balance for Spurrier on this fourth down.

The ball is snapped, and almost immediately Georgia’s pass rush is in his face. But Spurrier spots a receiver dashing for the first down marker. He finds his man two yards from a new set of downs and a sliver of hope. In an instant, three red shirts appear and topple Florida’s hopes.

Just like that, it was over: no undefeated season, likely no SEC title, and a losing record for Spurrier in his playing career against the Bulldogs.

In a post-game interview, Spurrier said, “I’ve never had a good day in the Gator Bowl and I guess I never will. It’s a jinx place for me.”

The Bulldogs couldn’t know it then, but embarrassing the hyper-competitive Spurrier here planted a seed. What grew out of it, nearly a quarter century later, would give the Gators everything they ever wanted and give the Bulldogs an archnemesis for the ages.

Reasons to destroy some property

After Spurrier left Gainesville, the Dawgs took control of the series, going 16-6-1 from 1967 – 1989. The Gators were no pushovers during this stretch: Ten times in those 23 games, the Gators came to Jacksonville ranked, and only once did they walk away with a victory. This run included perhaps the most well-known moment of the Georgia-Florida series.

But in 1990, Florida called their Heisman winner home, and the impact was immediate: The Gators went from 7-5 in 1989 to 9-2 in 1990. Meanwhile, Georgia was in its second year under Ray Goff, who had been named head coach after Vince Dooley retired in 1988. In ’89, Goff’s Dawgs could only reach 6-6, but they did get a win over Florida.

That was Goff’s last victory over the Gators. Spurrier and his Florida teams began their ascent, and Georgia—despite going 9-3 in ’91 and 10-2 in ’92—got swallowed in the Gators’ wake. And in 1995, it all came to a head.

In the mid-90s, Jacksonville’s stadium was being rebuilt to prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars, so the Georgia-Florida game moved to each team’s home stadium for the ’94 and ’95 seasons. The 1994 game was played in Gainesville, where the Gators romped, winning 52-14. In 1995, things didn’t look much better. The Gators, back-to-back SEC champs, came to Athens with two wins over top-10 teams, while Georgia had not beaten a ranked team since January 1993.

So, on October 28, 1995, the Gators walked into Sanford Stadium for the first time in 63 years, and things played out exactly as you’d expect. Future Heisman-winner Danny Wuerffel threw 5 touchdowns before leaving the game in the third quarter. His backup would throw two more and bring the final score to 52-17.

It remains the record for points allowed by the Bulldogs at home. Legend has it that Spurrier stated after the game that he had wanted to “hang half a hundred” on Georgia because “we heard no one had ever done that before.”

This account is disputed by Spurrier, but whether it’s true or not, he exacted humiliating revenge on the Bulldogs that night, a highlight for his Florida coaching career, which ended in 2001 with 6 SEC titles, a national championship and an 11-1 record against Georgia.

“And here comes the entire team!”

The 2001 season began with a new head coach for UGA, Mark Richt—formerly the offensive coordinator for some of Bobby Bowden’s best Florida State teams—and it ended with Steve Spurrier’s departure from Florida.

Richt would quickly re-establish UGA as a contender, winning the SEC in 2002 and 2005, but he could not find consistent success against the Gators. This was especially frustrating for Georgia fans who watched Ron Zook, Spurrier’s successor, win no more than 8 games every year.

Things became even more frustrating when, after Richt’s first win against Florida in 2004, the Gators fired Zook and hired Urban Meyer, who immediately returned UF to their Bulldog-beating ways and won a national title in year two.

This brings us back to the start of our story. By 2007, Richt had more SEC titles (2) than he had wins against Florida (1). And with a trip to Jacksonville to play the defending national champions looming, Richt and every other Bulldog on Earth was well aware that the Dawgs were 2-15 against Florida since 1990.

Richt knew the Dawgs needed something, anything, to shake off this bad juju and inject some swagger into their game if they hoped to compete with the Gator Goliath. In the week leading up to the game, he told his team: after our first touchdown, celebrate so much that you get a penalty.

So, when Knowshon Moreno leapt over a pile of bodies to score the first touchdown of the game midway through the first quarter, the entire offense celebrated in the end zone. Eleven Bulldogs quickly turned into 53 as the Georgia sideline migrated as one into the endzone.

Nearly every referee on the field hurled a yellow flag into the air as Georgia players jumped, screamed, danced, posed, chest-thumped and fist-pumped in the end zone.

It felt like a dam breaking. Decades of nerves, doom-saying and head-shaking all shaken off with one exuberant moment. The Gators answered back with a touchdown almost immediately, but it didn’t matter: the “Gator Stomp” was such an unexpected, audacious and spirited action that the Gators flinched, and Georgia knew that was all they needed.

UGA won, 42-30, and the brazen celebration launched them to finish the season as the no. 3 team in the nation. Even when Florida won the next three matches, often by a great margin, the Gators knew Georgia could no longer be counted on to dutifully suffer through their Jacksonville trip on the way to a 9-3 record and a good-not-great bowl game.

Florida knew now that if you weren’t careful, the Bulldogs would stomp you.

Since the Gator Stomp, the Georgia-Florida series has been dead even, with both teams winning seven games. However, since Kirby Smart’s return to Athens in 2016, the Dawgs have taken four games to the Gators’ two. This year will be especially interesting, as Billy Napier will lead the Gators into TIAA Bank Field for the first time. Georgia is at the height of its powers and Napier is working to rekindle hope in the hearts of Florida fans, so expect a classic Georgia-Florida contest: a charged battle between two well-acquainted foes with championship aspirations.

One of whom wears jean shorts.

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, and more.

The Jerry Tanner Show – Week 8, 2021: Florida

Call him crazy, but Jerry feels pretty good about the best-in-the-nation Georgia Bulldogs versus the SEC East’s fourth best team.

Make sure you Never Bark Alone by finding game-watching parties near you at 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 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.

UGA claims Beat Week victory (again)

It’s always an exciting matchup when UGA and Auburn go head-to-head, and Beat Week 2021 was no exception.

Beat Week is the philanthropic counterpart to “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry,” and the rules are simple: the university with the most gifts raised during the week leading up to the game wins!

Following our narrow 3,200 to 2,900 victory last season, Auburn was looking to even the series this year—and early on, it appeared they might just do it.

However, the UGA community overcame a slow start and took a Monday afternoon lead, which they never relinquished. The result was a double dose of victory for UGA on and off the field. And when the dust settled in the Gift Accounting office, the final score stood:

  • UGA–2,790
  • Auburn–2,247

A good coach always acknowledges that every win is a team effort, and that’s certainly true for Beat Week. Everyone played a role: alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of UGA!

UGA’s student body had an impressive outing worthy of SportsCenter’s Top-10 performances; over 800 students flexed their philanthropic muscles and took part in the effort!

Beat Week raised over $650,000 to over 200 fund designations across campus supporting scholarships, research, academic programming and a lot more; proving that UGA isn’t just No. 1 in the latest AP Poll, but also in generosity.

Thank you to everyone who made Beat Week a success! GO DAWGS!

Written by Evan Tighe (BSED ’08, MA ’11), Senior Director of Annual and Special Giving

With Halloween right around the corner, here are 10 things that scare UGA fans

With Halloween around the corner, we’ve built a list of 10 things guaranteed to scare UGA fans … from wearing orange to Alabama quarterbacks, let us know what’s missing from the list!

1. Wearing orange and blue

Bulldog fans can agree this color combo needs rethinking.

2. Noon kickoffs

Noon games with thousands of fans sweating during a typically hot and humid fall in the South? No thanks!

3. Being ranked No. 1 at the start of the football season

Being an underdog gives the Junkyard Dawgs room to rise to the occasion.

4. Seating in Sanford Stadium

With a 92,746-seat capacity, making room for friends and family can be stressful.

5. Misspelling Dawgs or referring to the Arch as “The Arches”

True UGA fans know that “Dogs” is not the preferred spelling and that the Arch is singular–not plural.

6. Alabama backup quarterbacks

The backup QB spot somehow manages to save Alabama time and time again.

7. Forgetting the words to “Glory, Glory”

We promise we won’t tell anyone.

8. Leaving before the fourth quarter of a night game

Don’t miss the red glow, twinkling cell phone lights and the Redcoat Band’s rendition of Krypton!

9. Sideline penalties

The Bulldog Nation’s unsung hero is Scott Sinclair, director of strength and conditioning and Kirby Smart’s “get-back” coach.

10. Uga overheating

UGA fans want to protect this good boy at all costs. That’s why Uga’s on-field home is a permanent, air-conditioned doghouse with a bag of ice to chill on during even the hottest Saturdays in Athens.

The Jerry Tanner Show – 2021 Season Preview

The 2021 season is upon us! Another chance to dream of gridiron glory and have our hopes vaporized by the indifferent chaos of college football. Jerry Tanner is back to provide the temperate, nuanced analysis that’s made him a household name. Just kidding, he’s back to hollering and carrying on.

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.