We've seen a glimpse of the "favorite moments from 2009" from our Virginia Tech and North Carolina bloggers. Now it's time to venture to Athens and see what I can come up with. The 2009 Georgia Bulldog season was a roller-coaster ride. The opening stretch of games (Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Arkansas, Arizona State and LSU) were all up and down battles that had fans reaching for their favorite stomach relaxer. Georgia had a very disappointing year at 8-5 and there were a lot of good and bad moments to reflect on.
Contenders for 2009 Favorite Moment:
1. Branden Smith's redemption against South Carolina
In only his second game as a collegian Branden Smith fumbled a kickoff coming out of the end-zone in the first quarter of this game. South Carolina was able to capitalize with a field goal. At the beginning of the second quarter Branden Smith (a defensive back by trade) got a chance to redeem himself and took a reverse and out ran the entire state of South Carolina for a 61 yard TD.
2. Arkansas makes Joe Cox look like Peyton Manning. Cox went 18 of 26 for 375 yds 5 TD and 1 INT. Ryan Mallet actually had a better statistical game but after the Oklahoma State game I'm not sure anyone was expecting this out of Cox.
3. AJ Green blocks an Arizona State field goal to ice a Georgia win.
4. AJ Green takes a screen pass 65 yards to the house against Vandy.
I don't have a youtube video of this one, but it was one of those AJ Green moments that shows why he's the best player on the field in just about every game he plays in.
5. Bacarri Rambo separates an Mario Fannin from the football to save the game for us against Auburn(the downside to this one was that Rambo knocked himself out on the play and for a while no one was sure if he would be OK).
6. AJ Green catches a TD pass against LSU and then gets shafted by the refs. This one went from one of the best plays/moments of the year, to a WTF moment, to outrage at the incompetent refs. Georgia was down by 5 points and drove down the field and Joe Cox lofted a pass for AJ in the corner of the end zone. AJ rose up above the defender, who had the ball played well, and AJ just reached over top of him and took the football. AJ and his teammates then celebrated like any college kids that had just scored a go-ahead TD against the #4 ranked team in the country would. One of the worst calls of 2009 and one that directly effected the outcome of the game because LSU was able to get the kickoff pushed back and LSU returned the kickoff to the UGA 38 setting up the winning score.
7. Brandon Boykin tells Texas A&M "not so fast". In our bowl game, A&M scored first but then Boykin took the next kickoff 81 yards to the end zone. While not the most "exciting" play it was a big play in the context of the game because A&M had been really tough up until that point and from that point Georgia took over and never looked back. Boykin had 3 kickoff returns for TDs last year for us.
MY FAVORITE 2009 UGA MOMENT?
WE RUN THIS STATE. The Georgia/Georgia Tech rivalry is called "Clean, Old Fashioned Hate". But honestly since Mark Richt took over it was more like "One in the win column" for Georgia. Richt went 7-0 against Tech before Georgia Tech hired Paul Johnson. Johnson was able to lead Georgia Tech to a 45-42 win in Athens in 2008 and the Tech fanbase erupted like they each had finally gotten to first base with a woman. People who I had known my entire life and didn't know they were Tech fans had suddenly pulled out an entire wardrobe of yellow and black, Tech fans who avoided football season like the plague (and commonly told people that they were "basketball" fans) were suddenly in Georgia fans faces and lighting up the radio waves. Tech even had rings made for their players to commemorate the victory. Going into the 2009 game Georgia Tech was the favorite no matter who you asked. UGA had underperformed for the year and their defensive coordinator was on his way out of Athens. Georgia was 6-5 and coming off of a 34-27 loss to Kentucky and Tech was the #7 team in the country and was riding high on an 8 game winning streak.
Georgia responded by resorting to old-fashioned running and just rammed the ball down Georgia Tech and first round draft pick Derrick Morgan's grills. Ealey had 183 yards rushing and Caleb King had 166 and 2 TD. Both guys averaged 9.2 yards per carry.