Sep 13, 2014; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks fans wave towels in the game against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports
More from Georgia Football
- Georgia Football: Top 5 Nick Chubb Moments at Georgia
- Georgia Football: Know the enemy UAB Blazers
- Georgia Football: Should laundry list of injuries be a cause to panic?
- Georgia Football: Report cards for Week 3 game against South Carolina
- Georgia football: Sunday afternoon thoughts and feelings
With less than a minute remaining in the game and Georgia protecting a 31 -26 lead, the Dawgs needed to kill extra seconds from the clock to keep Gamecock head Coach Jim Morrison from returning his offense to the field. Willing to go to great lengths to remove any chance of South Carolina scoring the winning touchdown, Georgia Head Coach Vince Dooley instructed his quarterback, James Jackson, to run a variation of the Victory Play. Jackson was to scramble to kill additional time, then fall to the ground. Jackson obliged, the clock wound close, but not yet to, 00:00.
The plan worked once, so Dooley called for it again. The South Carolina defense, on to the strategy and desperate, soon had Jackson running for his football life. Rather than risk capture by a gang of garnet clad defenders and with little space to fall down before being pillaged, the diminutive Jackson saw the clock hit 00:00 and dropped the ball the ground. By rule, the result was a fumble. Also by the rule of the day, the ball could not be advanced. The play – and the game – ended when it was picked up by South Carolina defender Norman Floyd.
But the Gamecock cornerback ran the dead ball into the end zone, the South Carolina team exploded from the sidelines, and the nighttime home crowd’s roar was heard for several miles outside of Columbia. Georgia left the field, the officials having correctly ruled the game over, but in the excitement, Gamecock head coach Jim Morrison convinced the officials that there should be time left on the clock. The idea was preposterous and Dooley’s reaction, caught on camera, reflected the moment’s absurdity.
For 15 minutes, pandemonium reigned as the officials discussed the play. The game eventually ruled over, all post game conversation revolved around Jackson’s decision to drop the ball to the turf.
“We were glad to come away with the win but that was poor coaching at the end,” Tracy Theo of the Spartanburg Herald Journal quoted Dooley. “Next time Jackson will fall on the ball.”
Asked about the play after, Floyd said, “Jackson was showboating, running around at the end and that was uncalled for.”
Not exactly. In fact, the coaching was poor. Dooley employed a risky strategy and placed Jackson – and the team – in a precarious position. One might wonder, what would have happened had Jackson – an angry horde of Gamecocks surrounding him – fumbled trying to fall to the turf and had the ball plucked out of the air or the desperate South Carolina defenders stripped him of the ball?
Jackson made the decision to drop the ball and Georgia won the game. But Jackson, despite many other Bulldog heroics, has never lived the play down.
Next: Brandon Bennett's Second Leap