UGASports - Counting the Days – Day 80
football Edit

Counting the Days – Day 80

"80" is for (L to R) a No. 80 and his second chance for a great play; an unsurpassed success rate; and, the late and legendary Coach Russell.
"80" is for (L to R) a No. 80 and his second chance for a great play; an unsurpassed success rate; and, the late and legendary Coach Russell.

Dave McMahon and Patrick Garbin

Welcome to our countdown! Almost three weeks ago, this countdown began and we hope you are enjoying it. In 80 days, Georgia will be facing North Carolina at the Georgia Dome. Each day leading up to the season opener, Patrick Garbin and I will show three unique and creative ways why that number is special to the Dawgs. Most of you remember the television program That ‘70s Show, but how many remember that in 2002 there was a television program called That ‘80s Show? The show starred Glenn Howerton a few years before he would play Dennis on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The show lasted just one season. But, Bulldog memories last a lot longer, so here are our memories on why “80” is important to Georgia football (yes, I know it would be easy just to use “80” for the 1980 season, but that just seems too easy)…

By Dave McMahon

3 – There have been many Georgia offensive touchdowns that have covered exactly 80 yards (and, Patrick will mention, at length, a very famous one later). Obviously, that is primarily because many drives start at the 20-yard line. Whether it is a pass or run, this happens probably more than you would think. Instead of me listing them all, here is how many times it has resulted for the Dawgs, and the last time it happened:

Georgia's 80-yard TDs No. Last Time vs. opponent

Passing

9

Aaron Murray to Tavarres King

Michigan State, 2012 Outback Bowl

Rushing

7

Brandon Boykin

Boise State, 2011

2 – Earlier in this countdown, I cheated by using Rodney Hampton in a stat that was rounded (86.1 down to 86). And, I am going to do the same thing here… If you had to guess who Georgia’s all-time percentage leader is in field goals in a career, you might say Kevin Butler, Rex Robinson, Billy Bennett, or maybe someone else. But, would you guess Brandon Coutu? Yes, the former walk-on connected on 80.3 percent of his field goal attempts (53-for-66) during his career. As primarily Andy Bailey’s backup during his freshman season of 2004, Coutu made 2 of only 3 field-goal attempts. But, he was 23-for-29 as a sophomore, 10-for-11 his junior season, and 18-for-23 as a senior in 2007. Coutu was 29-for-31 in his career from field goals from 39 yards and in. He was 18-for-23 from 40 to 49 yards, and 6-for-12 from 50 yards or more. His 58-yarder against Louisiana-Monroe in 2005 is the third-longest successful field goal in Georgia history. And, although it isn’t video featuring a field goal, the following is a fun memory during Brandon Coutu’s Georgia career:

1 – One of Georgia’s 80-yard scores not executed offensively was by defender Joe Jackura. In the Bulldogs’ 1948 game against Alabama, Jackura was everywhere. He intercepted three Ed Salem passes, and the Bulldogs defeated the Crimson Tide, 35-0. One of his three picks was returned for an 80-yard touchdown. Officially, Jackura was the first Dawg to record three interceptions in a game, and is still one of four Bulldogs to have done so in history.

By Patrick Garbin

3 – As Dave mentioned, there have been quite a number of touchdowns covering 80 yards in UGA football history—and, that’s just in the modern era. Still, perhaps the greatest of them all was the APPLEBY-TO-WASHINGTON 80-yard pass play to defeat Florida in 1975. On a wet and heavy Gator Bowl surface, the Gators led the Bulldogs 7-3 with roughly three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the game. Needing a big play, quarterback Matt Robinson took the snap and faced his left. Senior tight end Richard Appleby, as he had done several times during the season, ran an end around from his left to right, and was handed the football by Robinson. Appleby suddenly stopped and planted his feet into the rain-soaked turf. He arched back his right arm and threw a long, wobbly spiral nearly 50 yards in the air. Flanker Gene Washington, left all alone by an unsuspecting secondary, caught the ball in stride around Florida’s 35-yard line and easily strolled untouched into the end zone for a touchdown, and the Bulldogs went onto a historical 10-7 upset over the Gators.

2 – What many Bulldog enthusiasts don’t know about the “Appleby-to-Washington” pass was that the very same play, in the very same game, had actually been attempted by Georgia two quarters before—except the go-ahead score was intended to be “Davis-to-Washington” instead. With the Bulldogs trailing 7-0 during the second quarter and having just passed the midfield mark, Georgia ran the same end-around with intention to pass. No. 80 STEVE DAVIS, a co-starter at split end who occasionally lined up at tight end, took the end around from quarterback Robinson. But, just as he planted his feet to throw, Davis slipped on the rain-soaked field for a four-yard loss. Nevertheless, the following season of 1976, Davis would get a second chance at a big play—this time, and as it turned out, one of the biggest plays in the history of Sanford Stadium. A year later against South Carolina in Athens, Georgia trailed 12-7 in the third quarter, and faced third down on its own 41-yard line. The Bulldogs called for Robinson to throw to Davis, who was lined up at a tight end position. Davis looked straight up above him just as Robinson’s pass arrived, lunging in full anticipation of the ball sailing beyond his hands. With both arms fully extended, his fingertips came in contact with the back nose of the ball. Somehow, using only a few tips of his fingers, Davis flicked the ball towards himself, grabbing the back-half of the football with both hands for an astonishing completed pass. Pulling the ball in (photo above), Davis stumbled down inside South Carolina’s 10-yard line for a 50-yard gain. Davis’ phenomenal catch seemed to spark the Bulldogs; they scored a touchdown soon thereafter, and eventually defeated the Gamecocks, 20-12. The day after the victory, a newspaper writer declared Davis’ reception was “likely the greatest catch in the history of Sanford Stadium.”

1 – It’s hard to believe it has been nearly an entire decade since ERK RUSSELL passed away in September of 2006 at the age of 80. And, oh, what to say about the greatest defensive coordinator in the history of college football, who then started a football program from literally nothing in 1981 to three national titles within only eight years, except this countdown has and will continue to pay tribute to the legendary coach and man. But, sticking with the 1975 Georgia-Florida theme, what often gets lost in the hoopla of the miraculous Appleby-to-Washington play was that there was still 3:12 remaining in the game, Florida would have possession of the ball two additional times, and the Gators actually attempted a field goal in the final seconds that would have tied the game. Whereas “Appleby-to-Washington” was a tremendous and memorable play, it was Coach Russell’s “Junkyard Dogs” defense that ultimately defeated the Gators. Created by the defensive coordinator, the Junkyard Dogs defensive unit was a group of small, inexperienced defenders given little chance to succeed. However, despite its shortcomings, the defense was quick, feisty, overachieving, and the primary reason the team trekked to Jacksonville with a surprising 6-2 record. Following Appleby-to-Washington, the Gators reached Georgia’s 36-yard line on their ensuing possession before a Dicky Clark sack of quarterback Don Gaffney caused a fumble. Following a Bulldog punt, Florida was again on the move, driving all the way to the Bulldogs’ 21-yard line. However, the Junkyard Dogs stiffened and forced Gaffney to throw three consecutive incomplete passes. With 50 seconds remaining, Florida’s David Posey, an eventual All-SEC placekicker who made two 50-yard field goals in 1975, lined up for a 38-yard field goal try. His game-tying attempt missed badly and Russell’s Junkyard Dogs had saved the day: