We all know names like Walker, Pollack, Greene, Scott, Hearst, and Hoage. These gentlemen are some of the finest to ever suit up for the Dawgs, and grace the field of play between the hedges. And while their play was inspiring and spectacular to say the least, let us not forget that there have been several other individuals throughout the ages whose play has not only helped the Dawgs out from time to time. In some instances, it was the sole reason we were able to come away as victors.
No, these men did not don the silver britches, sport the red and black, or run through the giant G at Sanford Stadium. Instead, they share a sacred bond, and belong to a brotherhood based on failure and lackluster performance. The men I’m referring to are the Bulldog Nation’s favorite individuals to laugh about in regards to victories over their teams.
Perhaps it was a few bone-headed plays that entered them into this fraternity of follies. Maybe it was our defense that thoroughly and diligently scouted them out in the week prior to the contest (spoiler alert: they’re all offensive players). Or better still, it might have just been a bad day at the office for these guys who often entered these games surrounded by an unfair amount of hype and promotion.
Whatever the reason for their dismal performances, they have forever etched themselves in our memories and our hearts, and have cemented their laughable moments in the archives of Georgia football lore.
So here’s my list of my 5 favorite players for opposing teams who helped us out the most. I realize that it is mostly comprised of recent players so feel free to add your own favorites and share your thoughts. Go Dawgs!
5. BLAIR KIEL – QB – NOTRE DAME
Okay, so technically this pick was a one and done, but it was in the biggest game on the biggest stage in the program’s history. Herschel’s 150 yards and 2 TDs might’ve been the MVP performance, but the game absolutely could not have been won without that Junkyard Dawg defense and the less than stellar performance by Kiel. Not to overlook the performances of Scott Woerner and Mike Fisher, but 3 interceptions is 3 interceptions. They weren’t all overly tough throws, and they were at terrible times for the Irish. However, much respect is to be paid to the late Kiel because he was a freshman who led his team to the national championship against an incredible Dawg defense. Nothing to laugh at there. The importance of this game and how much his play helped us is why he’s on here.
4. CASEY CLAUSEN – QB – TENNESSEE
I’m pretty sure this picture is of Casey, but Google also asked if I meant Vanilla Ice or Ivan Drago in a Tennessee football outfit. This guy was one of the best of the best coming out of high school in a long line of Clausen family quarterbacks. And nothing displays that more than going 0 – 4 in your college career against one of your biggest conference rivals (us). Here’s his career rundown versus UGA:
- 2000: He completed less than 50% of his passes (5 for 11) and threw 1 INT
- 2001: Best game. Almost 300 yards and 4 TDs, but he also had an INT…then there was a Hobnail Boot, and top 10 ranked Tennessee went down.
- 2002: A no show in Athens (can’t remember if he was hurt or suspended)
- 2003: He completed less than half of his passes again, had 1 TD, 2 INTS…then there was this
Always had the talent, but never caught a break against the Dawgs.
3. JABARI DAVIS – RB – TENNESSEE
So this one might be a little personal, but I loved seeing this big tub of nothing struggle against Georgia. I first witnessed the wonder that was Jabari his senior year of high school, when his alma mater Tucker made the trip down to Statesboro. My dad and I had heard that he was one of the best in the country, so we thought we’d make the trip across town to see what all the fuss was about. All we knew was to look out for, “big old Jabari.” Well, we looked, and honestly, Darrius Swain was the most impressive Tucker athlete on the field that night. Remember that guy? I’ve never seen a big boy move that fast and swiftly! Shame he didn’t work out. Anyways, what made Jabari personal was when the 5-Star back made a big deal about moving UGA into his finalists circle, leaned towards us, then spurned us at the last second when he bolted for Rocky Top. Here are the career highlights against the Dawgs for the guy who was billed as the next Jamal Lewis:
- 2001: No show (only 60 yards and 2 TDs all year)
- 2002: 65 yards on 14 carries
- 2003: This again…
Oh, and in 2004, Tennessee beat us…while Jabari didn’t play. Sometimes we get those 4 and 5 Star backs who don’t pan out for us (i.e. Crowell, King, and Ealey). Then again…sometimes it’s for the best when they don’t sign with us.
2. Brandon Cox – QB – Auburn
When Auburn came to Athens in 2005 and beat us in a classic game for the ages, I thought for sure that Cox was only going to get better. However, the football Gods deemed him unworthy, and the next 2 years included 4 INTs in 2006, 4 INTS in 2007, and most importantly, 2 major SEC losses. ’06 was particularly sweet with Auburn being ranked 5th while we were struggling. Rest assured, those UGA squads certainly played their hearts out and earned the win, but Cox’s performances (or lack there of) were major contributors. Here’ s the stat line.
- 2004: Backup. No action.
- 2005: 50% on completions, 1 INT
- 2006: 33% completions, ONLY 35 YARDS! 1 TD, 4 INTs (one of which was returned for TD)
- 2007: 45% completions, 133 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs yet again.
Nicely done Tra Battle. If we had won in ’05, he might’ve taken the top spot. But…………………..there’s this guy.
1. REGGIE BALL – QB – GEORGIA TECH
Seriously, is there any debate here? The Dawgs have been absolutely dominant over the Techies since 2000 (only one loss in 2008). And for 4 brilliant years, Ball was just as integral to our victories as our efforts were. The scary part is this: for 3 of those years, he had arguably the most physically gifted wide receiver to ever play the game in Calvin Johnson. If any, and I mean ANY other QB had been under center for Tech, they could’ve had some sort of aerial attack. In Megatron’s final season (’06), Ball completed less than half of his passes, and Johnson still had 1,200 yards and took home the Biletnikoff Award. Imagine if Joe Cox had been the QB (no offense Joe, just making a point). Fortunately for us, head coach at the time Chan Gailey stuck by his man, and we as a fan base are forever grateful. Without further ado, I present, Reginald’s stats against Georgia throughout his career. Please hold all applause until the end.
- 2003: The ACC Rookie of the year (might want to go wash your mouth after saying that one) went 8 of 16 for 80 yards and an INT. Pretty solid right? Not!
- 2004: 13 of 31 (41%) for 141 yards and sacked numerous times. No love for Calvin Johnson. Instead, we got perhaps the greatest play an opponent has ever made for the Dawgs. I suggest you watch the whole minute and a half video as it is hilarious, but you could also skip to 1:19. Wait for it….
- 2005: He finally completed at least 50% of his passes, and found Megatron in the endzone. But there was one interception early, then there was this (might want to skip to 1:52):
- 2006: Wow. He was still the starter? We didn’t complain. One more year, one more loss to go along with 42 passing yards and 42% completion. He still had Calvin Johnson folks. I’m not really sure how much I can stress that. Oh, and then there were the 2 INTs, and Tony Taylor fumble recovery for a TD that ultimately made the difference in the game.
There you have it folks. I want to hear your input though, especially from some of the folks who were at the games in the 80s and 90s. Go Dawgs!