Georgia Football: Remembering the victorious trip to South Bend

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Georgia football played its first game at Notre Dame in 2017, leaving South Bend, Ind. with a 20-19 victory on a late field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship.

Georgia football’s trip to South Bend in 2017 is one that will be remembered by all
Bulldog fans. But, only a small portion of the fan base was able to experience it in person.

Jason Cook was one such lucky fan. Growing up in Georgia, the first thing he can remember was watching Georgia football. Cook remembers watching the 1980 Georgia-Florida game when he was four years old. The game-winning touchdown by Lindsay Scott with Larry Munson’s iconic “Run Lindsay Run” call is his first memory of the Dawgs. From there, he was hooked.

Years later, Cook and a friend decided to create their own tradition and attend a Georgia road game together every year. When the 2017 schedule was announced, Cook said that a trip to South Bend, Ind. was a “no-brainer.” He and his friend bought their tickets early for $1,100 apiece. Despite the hefty price, Cook still says the game was worth it.

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The weekend of September 9th arrived along with Hurricane Irma and traffic was “unbearable” on the way to South Bend from Cartersville, with many people in North Florida and South Georgia fleeing the hurricane.

By chance, Cook and his friend ran into “friends of friends of friends” on the way to the game and even a Notre Dame fan from Cartersville who was a friend of the campus groundskeeper. While tailgating can be hostile for some road games, Cook said that Notre Dame fans were “terrific hosts.”

As Notre Dame fans and a disproportionate amount of Georgia fans gathered within Notre Dame’s stadium, the sun began to set and the game that would come to define the 2017 Georgia football season was underway.

It was a hard-fought victory under the lights as the offense rallied around freshman quarterback Jake Fromm in his first career start. The defense made stop after stop, forming the gritty identity that would later lead to them being called “Savages” and “Junkyard Dawgs.”

From Terry Godwin’s one-handed catch in the end zone and Rodrigo Blankenship’s field goal to give the Dawgs the lead to the game-winning strip-sack and fumble recovery by Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter, the game was full of moments that will always be remembered throughout Georgia football history.

The anticipation and atmosphere of the historic matchup were unforgettable and a memory Cook doesn’t regret.

"“Riding north and talking the ‘what if’s’ and all the unknowns of a true freshman Fromm,  freshman (D’Andre) Swift,” Cook said. “The excitement! To see the invasion of red and black in that pristine, newly renovated stadium. Best $1,100 I ever spent.”"

It was a priceless experience for the two friends, especially since it ended in a Georgia victory.

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