Georgia Bulldogs: Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker said recently that even at 50 he could still play in the NFL.

I’m not about to doubt him. Walker remains the greatest college football player I’ve ever seen play, and more than 30 years after he played his last game at Georgia, I’d still pay a lot of money to watch him play again.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Thomas
USA TODAY SportsDerrick Thomas set an NCAA single-season record for sacks while at Alabama.
In the immortal words of the late Larry Munson, “Oh, you Herschel Walker!”

But his comments got me to thinking: Other than Walker, who are those SEC players no longer playing that I’d most like to see play again?

Below are the five I came up with, and for clarification, they all played during my lifetime and I had a chance to see them play. I go back to the mid-to-late 1970s.

Here goes:

Eric Moulds, WR, Mississippi State: I can still see No. 1 making a catch, shaking off a defender and exploding up the field with that imposing 6-2, 225-pound frame. Even though he didn’t play in a pass-first offense, Moulds was tremendously productive and a nightmare matchup for opposing cornerbacks. In 1994, he averaged 21.7 yards per catch, and seven of his 39 catches that season went for touchdowns. He also led the country that season with a 32.8-yard kickoff return average. You just don’t see receivers every day with his size, strength, speed and hands -- nor his sense of humor. He once had a pizza delivered to a Mississippi State practice.

David Palmer, WR/QB/RS, Alabama: He was pure excitement no matter where he lined up and the ultimate ankle-breaker in the open field. A receiver by trade, “Deuce” was running the spread from the quarterback position before there really was a spread, and he was also a dynamic punt returner. He averaged 16.1 yards on punt returns in 1991 and 15.8 yards per catch for his career (1991-93). In 32 career games, he averaged 122.4 all-purpose yards, which is third all-time in Alabama history. He was a big part of Alabama’s 1992 national championship team, finished third in the 1993 Heisman Trophy balloting and was easily one of the most entertaining players to play in the SEC in my lifetime.

[+] EnlargeEmmitt Smith
USA TODAY SportsEmmitt Smith twice led the SEC in rushing.
Emmitt Smith, RB, Florida: Most people in thinking back to Smith’s career remember his days with the Dallas Cowboys and all those Super Bowl championship teams he played on in Big D. But before he rose to fame in the NFL, Smith was a tackle-breaking machine with the Gators. Nobody ever seemed to be able to get a good shot in on him. Tackling the guy was like trying to tackle a beer keg, and he had deceptive acceleration. The coaches voted him SEC Player of the Year in 1989, and he set 58 Florida records. He led the SEC in rushing in 1987 and 1989, and in my mind, remains the standard in this league when it comes to getting the tough yards.

Derrick Thomas, OLB, Alabama: Sadly, we lost Thomas in 2000 following a car accident. Those who saw him play with the Kansas City Chiefs know what a disruptive force he was coming off the edge. Seven sacks in one game speaks for itself. But before he carved out a Pro Football Hall of Fame career, Thomas was terrorizing SEC quarterbacks. He set an NCAA record in 1988 with 27 sacks and finished his career with 52 sacks. His pass-rushing ferocity was something to behold. Coaches throw around the term “unblockable” pretty freely these days, but Thomas was the essence of the term and one of the true measuring sticks in this league when it comes to rushing the passer.

Al Wilson, LB, Tennessee: The heart and soul of Tennessee’s 1998 national championship team, Wilson played every game as if it were his last. He almost single-handedly willed the Vols to their dramatic 20-17 win over Florida in 1998 with 12 tackles and a school-record three forced fumbles. It’s no coincidence that in Wilson’s three seasons as a starter at Tennessee that the Vols were 34-4 with a pair of SEC championships and a national championship. Wilson played the game with a fire that filtered down to his teammates and was at his best when it meant the most. He finished his career second all-time on Tennessee’s tackles-for-loss list and remains one of the most revered players in school history.

Looking at other memorable SEC plays

November, 18, 2013
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They will be talking about Nick Marshall’s miraculous 73-yard touchdown pass to Ricardo Louis on the Plains for a long time.

As Hail Marys go, that one has to be right there at the top. But where does that play rank among some of the more thrilling and/or memorable ones in SEC history?

[+] EnlargeRicardo Louis
Shanna LockwoodRicardo Louis' catch will live in SEC lore.
Here’s a look at a few more that will live eternally, and we’ve listed them chronologically.

Obviously, there are countless others. Let us know what we’ve missed.

  • Oct. 31, 1959: Billy Cannon’s tackle-breaking 89-yard punt return on Halloween night stands as one of the most famous plays in college football history. It was the only touchdown scored that game, lifting No. 1 LSU to a 7-3 win over No. 3 Ole Miss in Baton Rouge.
  • Dec. 2, 1967: Alabama quarterback Ken Stabler’s 47-yard touchdown to beat Auburn 7-3 is known simply as “The Run in the Mud.” The game was played in a driving rainstorm, and Stabler saved the Tide that day with his scamper around right end in what was a quagmire of a field.
  • Dec. 7, 1972: Known as the “Punt, Bama, Punt” game, Auburn’s Bill Newton blocked two Alabama punts in the fourth quarter, both returned for touchdowns by David Langner to lead the Tigers to a 17-16 win over the previously unbeaten and heavily favored Crimson Tide. Langner’s game-winning score came in the final minute and a half.
  • Jan. 1, 1979: Who can forget Barry Krauss’ fourth-down, midair stop of Penn State’s Mike Guman just inches short of the goal line in the Sugar Bowl? It’s one of the most memorable defensive plays in Alabama’s storied history and preserved a 14-7 win over the Nittany Lions, leading to the first of two straight national titles for the Tide.
  • Sept. 6, 1980: It was the day Herschel Walker was introduced to the college football world. He ran over Bill Bates at the goal line on the first of two touchdown runs in his freshman debut, rallying Georgia to a 16-15 win over Tennessee in Knoxville and setting the stage for the Bulldogs’ national championship run.
  • Nov. 1, 1980: Mississippi State snapped Alabama’s 28-game winning streak with a 6-3 win over the Tide in Jackson, Miss. With the Tide threatening in the final seconds on first-and-goal from the 4, the Bulldogs got a huge defensive play to secure one of the more memorable upsets in SEC history. Tyrone Keys darted through and forced Alabama quarterback Don Jacobs to fumble on an option play, and Billy Jackson was there to recover for Mississippi State. Afterward, Bear Bryant came into the Mississippi State locker room to congratulate the Bulldogs.
  • Nov. 8, 1980: This one also has its own name, “Run, Lindsay, Run.” Lindsay Scott’s 93-yard touchdown catch and run on third-and-8 from Georgia’s own 7 allowed the Bulldogs to pull out a 26-21 win over Florida in the final seconds in Jacksonville and keep alive their national championship season.
  • Oct. 8, 1988: There aren’t many touchdowns that lead to earthquakes, but Tommy Hodson’s game-winning 11-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Fuller on fourth down in LSU's 7-6 victory over Auburn registered vibrations on a seismograph in the LSU geology department.
  • Dec. 5, 1992: Antonio Langham returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown with 3:15 to play in the inaugural SEC championship game, leading Alabama to a 28-21 win over Florida and setting the stage for the Tide’s national championship victory over Miami in the Sugar Bowl.
  • Nov. 14, 1998: Clint Stoerner’s stumble and fumble after it appeared all Arkansas had to do was run out the clock in the final 1:43 gave Tennessee new life, and the Vols zipped in for the game-winning touchdown to stay unbeaten and keep alive their 1998 national championship season in miraculous fashion.
  • Nov. 9, 2002: Yep, another one with a nickname, “The Bluegrass Miracle.” Marcus Randall threw a desperation 75-yard touchdown pass that was batted around and caught by Devery Henderson as time expired, lifting LSU to a 33-30 win over Kentucky in Lexington.
  • Nov. 16, 2002: David Greene threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Michael Johnson on fourth-and-15 with 1:25 to play, giving Georgia a 24-21 win over Auburn on the Plains and paving the way for the Bulldogs’ first SEC championship in 22 years.

Q&A: UGA DE Garrison Smith

October, 18, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- As the lone senior starter on Georgia's defense, preseason All-SEC defensive end Garrison Smith probably knew before the season that there would be some bumps in the road as the Bulldogs faced a number of highly-ranked opponents in the first half of the season.

The group's struggles have probably been a bit worse than the Bulldogs expected, however, with Georgia ranking dead last in the SEC in scoring defense (33.7 ppg), eighth in total defense (399 ypg) and forcing just three turnovers by opposing offenses to date.

[+] EnlargeGarrison Smith
Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMIDE Garrison Smith expected some growing pains, but he says the young UGA defense will continue to improve with more experience.
Smith discussed the defensive struggles this week, as well as teammate Ray Drew's recent emergence two seasons after signing with Georgia as a highly-recruited five-star defensive end.

Here is some of what Smith had to say:

What has been your impression of Ray Drew's play lately?

Garrison Smith: He's doing good. I'm proud of him and I'm glad he's doing good. Like I said, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. Everybody can't be a Herschel Walker. Everybody blossoms at different times.

Do you think he just needed to develop some confidence? He came here as such a big prospect -- the only defensive end rated higher than he was in 2011 was Jadeveon Clowney -- and it seemed for a while there like it was reasonable to wonder whether Ray would ever pan out.

Smith: Let's be honest, it kind of messes with you when you're a five-star recruit and you get all this attention and love from the media and public about how good you are, and then all of a sudden you come to college and you're nothing no more. You've got to build yourself all the way back up and you're not playing on that level that you want to play on and then you've got the guy right in front of you playing like he's in the NFL already, Jadeveon Clowney. So that would mess with anybody's self-esteem. But that's why it's like a marathon. It's not about how you start, it's how you finish and he's getting better and better, and that's what it's all about.

Did you deal with that at all? You were a U.S. Army All-American, but it was around the end of your sophomore season before you started to make an impact.

Smith: I knew I was going to have trouble because I came out of a program where I was just taught to go play. My coaches [at Atlanta's Douglass High School, which went 1-9 in Smith's senior season] just told me, 'Go do what you know how to do. Make plays.' So I knew I was going to have trouble, but I was just determined to learn what I had to learn to make me a better player. I just knew that in time, I would get it. I'm getting it. I'm still getting better. I'm getting better every day, so it's that sort of situation, same thing. But I knew how my situation was going to be, so I wasn't surprised or depressed or anything like that.

What is the key factor in you guys becoming more effective at generating turnovers?

Smith: Just patience. Just working hard. That's what it's all about. When we get them sacks, we've got to try to strip the quarterback and just think about it.

Is part of it that the defense is so young?

Smith: It's experience. As you get more comfortable, you're able to do different things. When you're so young and so fresh to the game, you're just trying to not make a mistake and make sure you get the person down.

Is it frustrating to you older players on defense that some of the young guys are having to find their way right now?

Smith: It don't frustrate me because I was that guy at one time, so I can't look down on somebody else. I was once in that situation. I've got a very different outlook because I can see things from both sides of the perspective. That's why I don't point the finger at anyone. I point the finger at myself and the defensive line because we've got to get more pressure on the quarterback to take the pressure off of them. That's how I look at things. I don't ever say, 'It's his fault, it's his fault.' It's not their fault. We've got to do better as a whole.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Scour the locker rooms at Georgia and Clemson and it might be difficult to find a player who knows much about their historic rivalry.

“You know me, I don’t know much about Georgia’s history from before I got here,” Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray chuckled in one such response about the longtime rivalry between schools separated by only about 70 miles.

Murray is far from alone in that regard. The 22-year-old Floridian was 13 the last time Georgia and Clemson met, in 2003, and was not even alive when the annual 1980s meetings between the Bulldogs and Tigers often carried national-title implications.

Fans of a certain age might harken back to those days on Saturday, however, when the rivalry resumes -- ending the longest gap between games since the series started in 1897 -- and No. 5 Georgia visits No. 8 Clemson in Death Valley.

[+] EnlargeClemson, Danny Ford
AP Photo/Kathy WillensCoach Danny Ford and Clemson beat Georgia 13-3 in 1981 and went on to win the national championship.
“Georgia was really good every year, so it meant that doggone it, somebody was going to get a lot of publicity and a lot of press, whoever won that football game,” said former Tigers coach Danny Ford, who will be enshrined in Clemson’s Ring of Honor on Saturday. “You could still be a good football team if you lost that game, but it just put a cramp in everything and it was so early in the year -- the first or second game or third game every year -- and you kind of knew what kind of football team [you had].

“It was kind of like a Wednesday where the kids in school call it Hump Day, you know? You’re in the middle of the week, get your classes over with and you’re about halfway to the weekend. That was the same kind of a hump game, where if you get off and win that football game, you’ve got a great chance to have a good year.”

Back then, your season could be more than good if you slipped away with a win. Thanks to a 67-yard punt return touchdown by Scott Woerner and a 98-yard Woerner interception return that set up another score, Georgia edged Clemson 20-16 in 1980 despite failing to register a single first down in the opening half.

“At the end, they’re back down there and Jeff Hipp makes an interception on about the 1-yard line right at the end of the game,” recalled former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, who posted a 15-6-1 record against Clemson in his 25 seasons as the Bulldogs’ coach. “But statistic-wise, they just knocked us all over the place.”

The 10th-ranked Bulldogs went on to win the national title that season after barely surviving the Tigers’ upset bid. And Clemson returned the favor the following year, generating nine turnovers to beat Herschel Walker and No. 4 Georgia 13-3 en route to a national title of its own.

Clemson’s 1981 win marked the only time that Georgia lost in the regular season during Walker’s three seasons on campus.

“They’re the only team that he played more than once in his college career and didn’t score a touchdown against,” said UGA grad Kyle King, whose new book detailing the Georgia-Clemson series history, “Fighting Like Cats and Dogs,” was published, oddly enough, by the Clemson University Digital Press. “So they really were the ones who -- to the extent anyone had Herschel’s number -- they’re the ones who had his number.”

[+] EnlargeVince Dooley
Dale Zanine/US Presswire for ESPN.comIn 25 years as coach at Georgia , Vince Dooley posted a 15-6-1 record against Clemson.
Just how close were the two teams in their respective pursuits of the national title? Georgia scored exactly 316 points during the 1980 regular season before beating Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl to claim its first national title since 1942. The following year, Clemson matched that scoring total to the number, notching the very same 316 points in the regular season before beating Nebraska in the Orange Bowl to claim the school’s first national championship.

The series continued to produce memorable outcomes on an annual basis throughout the 1980s. Take 1982, for example, when No. 7 Georgia hosted No. 11 Clemson in the first night game in decades at Sanford Stadium. Much like Saturday’s game at Clemson, the 1982 game aired before a prime-time national TV audience on ABC -- that year on Labor Day evening.

Bulldogs defenders picked off four passes by Clemson quarterback and Athens native Homer Jordan en route to a 13-7 win and another undefeated regular season. Once again, the Georgia-Clemson winner played in the game that would determine the national champion, although the Bulldogs lost this time, 27-23 to Penn State in the Sugar Bowl.

Nonetheless, those first three games set the standard for one of the nastiest rivalries of the 1980s -- one where defense, big special-teams plays and general hard-nosed aggression became trademarks.

“I remember it was always a tough game for Georgia. It was a tough game, period,” said Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon, who appeared in the series’ last two games, in 2002 and 2003, and whose father Willie preceded him as a Georgia player and coach. “It was always one of the biggest games out there in the country and it’s a lot like this year, to be honest with you. You never knew who was going to come out on top. Both teams always had high expectations going into each year, let alone that game. It was always a hard-fought war out there on the field.”

There was the 1984 game where Georgia beat No. 2 Clemson 26-23 on a 60-yard Kevin Butler field goal -- a play that produced what King called Bulldogs announcer Larry Munson’s most memorable call from a home game, when he estimated that Butler would “try to kick one 100,000 miles” and then proclaimed that “the stadium is worse than bonkers” once the kick cleared the uprights.

Clemson enjoyed its own kicking-game heroics in 1986 and 1987, when David Treadwell booted game-winning field goals at the end of the Tigers’ respective 31-28 and 21-20 victories.

“We were so evenly matched, and so many came down to a field goal or a touchdown, and we were so evenly matched that all of them kind of run together in my thoughts,” Ford recalled. “They’d win one and we’d win one.”

That proved true throughout Ford’s 11-year tenure at Clemson. A rivalry that Georgia once dominated -- the Bulldogs are 41-17-4 all-time against the Tigers and went 11-1-1 against Frank Howard, the winningest coach in Clemson history -- was extremely even in the 1980s.

Ford went 4-4-1 against Georgia while at Clemson. The scoring differential during that period? Georgia 153, Clemson 152.

“It was more about respectability for us because Georgia had the upper hand for so long back when Coach Howard [was here],” Ford said. “I tell the story all the time that Coach Howard would have to play Georgia and Georgia Tech, who was in the SEC back then, Alabama and Auburn and lose four games to have enough money to make his budget and then win the ACC conference. But back then he had to do that and he couldn’t hardly ever get them to come play at our place. It was just a thing of respectability I think, more so for us in the '80s."

Respectability is no longer a problem for either of the programs who will renew their longtime rivalry on Saturday in Death Valley. Georgia’s Mark Richt led his team within an eyelash of playing for the BCS title last year, and the Bulldogs enter Saturday’s game with their highest preseason ranking since opening the 2008 campaign in the No. 1 spot. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney has led the Tigers to a 21-6 record over the last two seasons and, blessed with a Heisman Trophy contender in quarterback Tajh Boyd, should boast one of the nation’s most explosive offenses.

The programs no longer resemble the Ford- and Dooley-era squads that relied on defense and the kicking game to win low-scoring games, but considering the standing the Georgia-Clemson game once held in the national championship race, it seems fitting that Saturday’s reunion occupies a marquee spot in college football’s opening weekend.

“I grew up with this game being played pretty much every year, and it was at a time that Georgia beat Florida every year, and Georgia beat Georgia Tech every year, so Clemson and Auburn were really the two games that you went into the year thinking, ‘Boy, I hope we can get out of that one with a W,’ ” King said. “I didn’t want to lose that, and that was really what ultimately inspired me to go back and write this book.

“We’re going into a season where it looks like you have two top-10 teams, two frontrunners in their conferences, two top-drawer quarterbacks going up against one another,” he added. “I think it’s important to remind fans that this isn’t a new thing. We butted heads with these guys in big games before, and hopefully we’ll get the chance to keep doing it in the future.”

Respect for UGA high with 2015 DT 

May, 24, 2013
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When 2015 defensive tackle T.D. Moton (Shreveport, La./Calvary Baptist Academy) picked up an offer from Georgia on Thursday, he thought about of a lot of things. He thought about the program’s five national championships and 12 SEC titles. He thought about quarterback Aaron Murray and defensive lineman John Jenkins, two figureheads for the Bulldogs.

Those are names of the present. What first caught Moton’s mind upon getting the offer was a Bulldog of the past -- a player some consider the greatest to put on a Georgia uniform.

Georgia RB to watch: Keith Marshall 

April, 16, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- By this point we know what Todd Gurley can do. So if there is untapped potential between the 2012 freshman backfield duo of Gurley and Keith Marshall -- the pair Georgia fans affectionately dubbed “Gurshall” last fall -- we will likely see that progress from Marshall.


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You’ve no doubt been flooded with online stories, social media jokes and commentary about the Mayan doomsday scenario that supposedly arrives today, 12/21/12.

Let’s hope it’s not the end of the world as we know it. But just for conversation’s sake, let’s imagine that it is.

Caring about Georgia football would seem fairly trivial at that point, wouldn’t it? But that subject is why we gather here at DawgNation. So if the clock stopped on the Bulldogs program tomorrow, what would have been its legacy?

Although there is no shortage of notable achievements in program history, I’d think any discussion of Georgia football would have to begin with the Herschel Walker era of the early 1980s. The three seasons when Walker -- arguably the best running back in college football history and the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner -- was on campus represent Georgia’s all-time high-water mark.

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Georgia 10: Week 13 

November, 19, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Following its 45-14 win against Georgia Southern on Saturday and a major shakeup atop the BCS rankings, No. 3 Georgia has the ability to play for a BCS championship.

Thanks to big contributions from several players who remain atop this week’s UGA Power Rankings, the Bulldogs (10-1) continued their ascent in the polls by blowing past Georgia Southern (8-3) in the third quarter on Saturday. Now they must handle rival Georgia Tech (6-5) this weekend and the SEC West champion -- most likely No. 2 Alabama (10-1) -- in the SEC championship game to play for a national title for the first time since the early 1980s.

Let’s review the Georgia 10 through 11 games (last week’s rank in parentheses):

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Game breakdown: Ga. Southern vs. UGA

November, 16, 2012
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NO. 6 (FCS) GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT NO. 5 (FBS) GEORGIA
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga.
WSB-TV (Atlanta)/ESPN3

Records: Georgia 9-1 (7-1 SEC), Georgia Southern 8-2 (6-2 SoCon)

Last week: Georgia beat Auburn 38-0, Georgia Southern beat Howard 69-26

[+] EnlargeJenkins
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesJohn Jenkins will be key for UGA this weekend.
What’s the Story?: After clinching the SEC East title last week for the second straight season, Georgia has a pair of out-of-division games against untraditional offensive teams -- Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech, both of which feature run-heavy option attacks -- to complete the regular season. Containing those offenses will be a headache for the Bulldogs, who only recently started to peak on defense after struggling for most of the first half of the season.

Five headlines: Check out our recap of this week’s biggest storylines from Thursday.

Players to watch:
Georgia
1. John Jenkins: The massive defensive lineman and his cohorts up front -- throw in Kwame Geathers, Garrison Smith, Cornelius Washington and Ray Drew -- handle their business against Eagles offensive linemen who are consistently diving at their knees, that will make it much easier for the defensive playmakers to tackle Georgia Southern’s ballcarriers. This will be a game built for a quick and powerful lineman like Jenkins.

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The Georgia Top 10: Week 11 

November, 12, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Rare is the instance where a 38-0 victory is deceptive, but that is accurate where Georgia’s win at Auburn on Saturday is concerned.

Auburn (2-8, 0-7 SEC) provided almost no resistance as No. 5 Georgia (9-1, 7-1) rolled to a win that clinched the SEC East title -- with the Bulldogs’ usual suspects leading the way.

That allowed for only minor movement within this week’s Georgia Power Rankings, although this week’s big mover, senior safety Bacarri Rambo, jumped all the way to No. 5 after ranking second on the team in tackles and intercepting a pass against the Tigers.

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GatorNation links: Top 5 rivalry players

October, 22, 2012
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Note: During this rivalry week, DawgNation will offer you a peek behind enemy lines with links to GatorNation stories.

Michael DiRocco writes: Georgia's Herschel Walker and Florida's Danny Wuerffel are two of the top-five performers in the Florida-Georgia rivalry all-time.

DiRocco: Florida's offense is suspect this season, but the Gators' excellense on special teams has helped with field position.

DiRocco Insider: Florida 10: Week 8 power rankings

DiRocco Insider: Scouting report: Georgia
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It’s Florida-Georgia week, which means it’s time to take a look back at the annual series between the two Southeastern Conference rivals.

Each day this week, GatorNation will have a top five list that captures the colorful history of the series.

Today’s list:

Top 5 Players in Florida-Georgia history

1. Georgia RB Herschel Walker: Walker rushed for 649 yards and six touchdowns from 1980-82. He had 53 touches in the 1981 game (47 rushes, four catches, two kick returns) and averaged 39 carries in his three games against the Gators.

2. Georgia RB/QB Charlie Trippi: Trippi rushed for 412 yards, threw for 198, and accounted for 10 touchdowns in three games against the Gators. He threw for two touchdowns (on only three pass attempts) and ran for two more in the 1942 game. He also ran for 239 yards in the 1945 game, which at the time was the SEC single-game record.

3. Florida QB Shane Matthews: Matthews threw for 948 yards and nine touchdowns in three games against the Bulldogs. He didn’t throw an interception.

4. Florida QB Danny Wuerffel: Wuerffel threw for 730 yards and a series-record 11 touchdowns in four games (three starts) against Georgia. Wuerffel threw five of those TD passes in UF’s 52-17 victory in 1995.

5. Georgia RB/DB Frank Sinkwich: Sinkwich ran for 142 yards and two touchdowns and kicked a 20-yard field goal in a 19-3 victory in 1941. Modest stats, right? Well, he'd played with a broken jaw.

By the numbers: UGA at South Carolina 

October, 5, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each week, the good folks at ESPN Stats and Information will help us take a look inside the numbers that matter prior to Georgia’s games -- and they really knocked it out of the park for this week’s showdown between No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 South Carolina. We’ll share some of their data here on the blog every Friday this fall.

NO. 5 GEORGIA AT NO. 6 SOUTH CAROLINA
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
Williams-Brice Stadium/Columbia, S.C.

  • It would be reasonable to say this is the biggest Georgia-South Carolina game ever. This is the first time that both teams are ranked in the Associated Press top 10 at the time of their meeting -- a major step in a series that started in 1894 and includes 64 meetings. The closest challenger came in 1980, when No. 4 Georgia beat No. 14 South Carolina 13-10 in Athens.
  • Georgia fans’ nickname for freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall -- “Gurshall,” a reference to famed Bulldogs back Herschel Walker -- is quickly catching on. Walker wore jersey No. 34 and led Georgia to a national championship as a freshman in 1980. Gurley wears No. 3 and Marshall wears No. 4 and the Bulldogs have similar championship aspirations this season.
So let’s take a look at how the “Gurshall” two-headed monster compares to Walker’s rushing production from his freshman season, when he totaled “only” 463 yards through his first five games, but then ripped off 1,153 over the final six -- including four games of 200-plus yards:

Marshall and Gurley in 2012:
Rush yards: 964
Yards per carry: 8.0
Rush TDs: 14
100-yard games: 6

Walker in 1980:
Rush yards: 463
Yards per carry: 5.3
Rush TDs: 5
100-yard games: 2

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Barking Dawgs: UGA quotes of the week 

October, 5, 2012
10/05/12
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ATHENS, Ga. -- As the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs (5-0, 3-0 SEC) prepare for a key SEC East game at No. 6 South Carolina (5-0, 3-0) on Saturday, here is a selection of quotes from the Bulldogs’ coaches and players from throughout the week:

“We just try to come out there and play our game. We’re not trying to be like nobody else. But it’s a cool thing.” -- Tailback Todd Gurley, on the nickname ‘Gurshall’ that Georgia fans have bestowed on Gurley and freshman backfield mate Keith Marshall, a reference to legendary Bulldogs running back Herschel Walker

“Keith does a great job of pressing the hole on the zone plays and then his cuts are not two or three steps. They’re one-step cuts and he’s going vertical. Sometimes he’s moving so fast I feel like he’s almost going to fall down. It’s hard for a defender to stop when he’s pressing and his step is so fast and so vertical, I think that’s what makes him so dangerous.” -- Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, on Marshall, who broke touchdown runs of 75 and 72 yards last week against Tennessee

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3 Up, 3 Down: UGA 51, Tennessee 44 

September, 30, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia fans no doubt came away from Saturday’s 51-44 win against Tennessee breathing a sigh of relief -- and perhaps questioning what they thought they knew about the fifth-ranked Bulldogs.

Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC) scored 40-plus points for the fifth straight game, but huge errors allowed what was shaping up as a blowout win to turn into a nail-biter. And the Bulldogs know they’re fortunate to have survived those errors against an offensive team as explosive as Tennessee (3-2, 0-2). They might not be so lucky next time if such errors occur again.

[+] EnlargeTodd Gurley
AP Photo/John BazemoreTodd Gurley (above) and Keith Marshall were off to the races early and often against Tennessee.
Let’s review some of the highlights and low-lights of the game from a Georgia perspective:

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SEC SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12