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This Day in Georgia History

November 08, 1980

UGA Defeated Florida

According to most observers, the most memorable football play in Georgia Bulldog history occurred this day at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. The occasion was the annual Georgia-Florida Football game. Georgia entered the game unbeaten and ranked second in the nation. Ironically, the number one team - Notre Dame - was playing Georgia’s arch-rival Georgia Tech in Atlanta the same day. Georgia started off like one of the top teams in the land, as freshman Herschel Walker took a pitchout on his first carry of the game and raced 72 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Buck Belue added a touchdown pass in the second quarter, but Florida then answered with a touchdown and field goal - and Georgia went into halftime leading 14-10. In the third quarter, Bulldog Rex Robinson kicked two field goals to increase Georgia’s lead to 20-10. However, Florida then began to rally. Scoring a touchdown, two-point conversion, and a field goal, Florida took a 21-20 lead. Georgia got the ball deep in its own territory. With just over a minute left in the game, the Bulldogs were faced with third down on on their own eight-yard line. Hopes for an undefeated season now seemed doomed. Then the miracle happened! Quarterback Buck Belue dropped back to pass; rushed by a Florida defensive lineman, he rolled to his right. Suddenly he saw wide receiver Lindsay Scott breaking open in the middle of the field. Lobbing the ball over a defender’s outstretched arms, Belue saw Scott make the catch, hoping it was enough for a first down. But Scott, who had spent time in Coach Vince Dooley’s disciplinary doghouse early in the year and had been forced to work himself back into the coach’s good graces, came down with the catch, simultaneously turning to look for room to run. He slipped, put his hand on the ground to catch himself, then sprinted for the sideline, hoping to get out of bounds and stop the clock. But his slip had forced the Florida defenders to overcommit themselves, and Scott found the sideline wide open. Turning on his blazing speed (second on the team only to Walker’s), Scott out ran all defenders to the end zone for a ninety-two yard touchdown! The normally stoic Vince Dooley ran along with him, pinwheeling his arms ferociously! Legendary Georgia radio announcer Larry Munson abandoned all pretense of objectivity and bellowed “Run, Lindsay! … Lindsay Scott!!… Lindsay Scott!! … Lindsay Scott!!” As Scott crossed the goal line the Georgia fans erupted into pandemonious cheering that broke all decibel and longevity records, many pouring out onto the field to join in the celebration! But the game and good news were not over. Florida had one final chance - but that ended when Jacksonville-native Mike Fischer intercepted a Florida pass, and the clock ran out. Georgia won by the score of 26-21. But, then came the unbelievable word from Atlanta - Georgia Tech had tied Notre Dame! The Georgia Bulldogs were now the number one team in the nation!