If only Postseason Performances counted…
PAT’s WEEKLY STAT (you likely won’t see anywhere else): If you followed our 100-day countdown leading up to this season during the spring and summer, you might have noticed how we often mentioned that, for example, a certain player would have tallied a certain number of something if his postseason totals were included, however, since bowl game statistics were not recognized until 2002…
Notably, a number of major programs—like Clemson, Southern California, and Michigan being just a few I can think of off the top of my head—either always regarded bowl statistics in annual and career figures, or eventually counted the bowl-game totals in retrospect. Considering as much, and with the bowl season looming, I present my opinion of the most notable disparities in the Bulldogs’ annual or career individual records (in no particular order) “if only postseason performances counted” at Georgia prior to 2002:
TOTAL OFFENSE: As it stands now, the 4,602 total offensive yards gained by halfback Frank Sinkwich from 1940 through 1942 was a school career record for just over a decade until surpassed by quarterback Zeke Bratkowski’s 4,824 total. However, if you were to consider his 382 total yards against TCU in the 1942 Orange Bowl and 71 versus UCLA in the 1943 Rose Bowl, Sinkwich’s 5,055 career total offensive yards would have been a Bulldog record for 40 years until surpassed by Herschel Walker in 1982.
RUSHING: Nick Chubb needs only 12 rushing yards to join Herschel Walker and Knowshon Moreno as one of only three Bulldogs in history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark for at least two seasons. However, if bowl statistics counted prior to 2002, Chubb would be set to become one of only four as Lars Tate’s 63 rushing yards against Boston College in the 1986 Hall of Fame Bowl ensued a regular season in which he rushed for 954 yards, followed by a 1987 regular season whereby he totaled 1,016 rushing yards.
Although Garrison Hearst still would have fallen short of a 1,000-yard rushing season in 1991 if the Independence Bowl that year was included (968 yards in regular season; 989 yards including bowl), his 1,594 rushing yards in the 1992 regular season would have included 163 more for his spectacular performance against Ohio State in the Citrus Bowl. Including his bowl totals, Hearst finished his career with 3,416 rushing yards, which would still rank him second all time at the school, instead of his current third, and not having been surpassed by Todd Gurley (3,285) two years ago for the runner-up spot.
INTERCEPTIONS: A look at the Georgia record book and you’ll notice a log-jam of players, including Scott Woerner (1977-1980), tied for fifth all time in career interceptions with 13. However, if you were to include the two picks Woerner corralled against Notre Dame in the 1981 Sugar Bowl, his career total would be 15 interceptions, which would stand all alone as the third-most ever by a Bulldog.
KICKOFF/PUNT RETURNS: Again, here’s to Georgia’s most recent College Football Hall of Famer, Woerner, who, as it stands, trails Brandon Boykin’s 124 total kick returns by a single return for the most all time at the school. But, if his combined six punt returns and two kick returns in the 1978 Bluebonnet Bowl and 1981 Sugar Bowl were to be included, “Woerner the Returner” would have never been surpassed by Boykin in the first place, comfortably sitting at the top with 131 career returns.
And, here’s to the recently departed Zippy Morocco, whose 14.2 career punt return average from 1949 through 1951 ranks third at Georgia behind Thomas Flowers and Prince Miller, both of whom averaged 14.9 yards per return. Still, if one was to consider his 81 yards on three punt returns against Texas A&M in the 1950 Presidential Cup, the late great Morocco’s average would be boosted to a Georgia career-best 15.2.
SCORING: Saving perhaps the best for last, placekicker Blair Walsh became Georgia’s all-time leading scorer in 2011 with 412 points, just barely surpassing fellow kicker Billy Bennett, who totaled 409 points from 2000 through 2003. However, Bennett’s total does not include the 11 combined points he scored in the 2000 O’ahu Bowl and 2001 Music City Bowl. For if it did, his career point total of 420 would not only be a Bulldog best, but an SEC record, as well.
PASSING (Honorable Mention): An honorable mention, of sorts, since more so than a “record,” this is a remarkable feat: Including the 1995 Peach Bowl and 1998 Outback Bowl, the career rushing and receiving yardage totals for versatile Hines Ward would increase to 1,130 and 2,119, respectively. Still, what’s more, passing for 413 yards against Virginia in the ’95 Peach, Ward’s career passing yardage would total 1,331, signifying the first time in the history of college football an individual reached the 1,000-yard career mark for rushing, passing, and receiving.