Georgia football usually plays Georgia Tech on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Since I’m a history nerd, I decided to look up how many times the Dawgs and the Jackets have played on Thanksgiving. I found on Google that Georgia has played four times on Thanksgiving against Georgia Tech. The first time was in 1971, and the Dawgs and Jackets played three more times on Thanksgiving in 1975, 1993, and 1995.
I had to look it up when I saw that Georgia and Georgia Tech played on Thanksgiving day in 1995. The 1995 season for the Dawgs was not great.
The Dawgs entered that game at 5-4, and Ray Goff (Goof to some) was told during the bye week before the game that he would be fired. But Vince Dooley, the athletic director at the time and Goff’s former coach allowed Goff to keep coaching the Dawgs until their season was over.
Goff was in his 7th season coaching the Dawgs, the coach who took over when Vince Dooley retired. Goff was one of the greatest Georgia players ever and even finished in the top 10 in Heisman voting. Needless to say, the situation between Dooley and Goff was awkward after the firing.
You can find a copy of the game on YouTube, and boy, it is a treasure trove of nostalgia. Keith Jackson is on the call of the game. Lynn Swann is doing the sidelines and even interviewed Goff about the firing pre-game.
The version I watched on YouTube included the ads. There were only a handful of Christmas ads during the entire game. If you watch any NFL games or the Egg Bowl tonight, you will see about 70 million Christmas ads.
Here’s another nugget: Georgia received the opening kickoff in that game. One of the returners for the Dawgs was Kirby Smart. I wonder if he will ever do anything important for Georgia football, given how he played, probably not.
Also, the Dawgs’ quarterback was Hines Ward. Mike Bobo, the current offensive coordinator and then quarterback for the Dawgs, was hurt and missed the game against Tech. I was shocked at how well Hines Ward could play quarterback. Ward was pretty accurate with the ball.
As a Steelers fan who had seen him throw to a wide-open Randel-El in Super Bowl XL, it was not all that surprising.
Georgia ended up winning the game 18-17. It took a last-minute field goal for the Dawgs to pull it out. Georgia was now bowl-eligible and would play Virginia in the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
So, what was the point of writing this blog on Thanksgiving? Well, I am grateful for where the Georgia football program is at. The program was a disaster after looking back and looking at the records after Dooley left.
It was also crazy seeing where the program was at until Mark Richt came along. So this Thanksgiving, I will be giving thanks to Mark Richt and Kirby Smart for what they did or have done to make Georgia football season as memorable as it has been.