UGASports.com’s Greatest Plays in UGA Football History (Match-Up 5)
The 2019 Georgia football season is almost here, and UGASports.com wants its subscribers to decide the greatest play in UGA football history. We selected 32 plays throughout history that we deemed worthy of nomination. Three times a week you can vote in a bracket-style tournament—and the play that gets the most votes moves on to the next round.
Your vote is important. VOTE HERE.
#1 Greene to Johnson (2002 vs. Auburn)
Not having won an SEC title in 20 years, Georgia knew a victory at Auburn in 2002 guaranteed it a berth in the conference championship for the first time in school history.
Late in the fourth quarter, with the Tigers leading, 21-17, Georgia forced Auburn to punt, and the Bulldogs started one last drive at their own 41-yard line with 1:58 remaining and no timeouts. Georgia moved to the opposing 19-yard line, but soon faced fourth down and 15 yards to go.
As Auburn rushed the quarterback, David Greene threw the ball to the back corner of the end zone, where he found a leaping Michael Johnson for a touchdown. Johnson, who was playing a lot more than usual due to injuries to fellow receivers Terrence Edwards and Damien Gary, came up big when the team needed him the most. He had just 11 receptions for the season entering the contest, but finished with 13 catches in this game alone—none bigger than his final reception. The game-winning play, “70-X-Takeoff,” was a success, and following the extra point, Georgia led 24-21 with 1:25 left to play. The Bulldogs ultimately won the game, clinching their first SEC East title.
#8 Hoage’s Great Leap (1983 vs. Vanderbilt)
In Nashville in 1983, Vanderbilt trailed Georgia by only seven points with approximately 30 seconds left in the game; however, the Commodores were within striking distance, in position to hand the Bulldogs their first loss of the season. Deep in Georgia territory, quarterback Kurt Page was chased out of the pocket and rolled to his right. He lofted a pass to split end Joe Kelley, who was wide open in the far-right corner of the end zone. Just as Kelley opened his arms to make the catch, Bulldog roverback Terry Hoage appeared out of nowhere and, leaping as high as he could, tipped the ball. Falling backwards in the end zone in front of Kelley, Hoage had succeeded in breaking up a cinch touchdown.
In the final two minutes of play and trailing, 20-13, Page drove the Commodores to Georgia’s 24-yard line. On second down and 10 yards to go, Page threw what appeared to be the perfect pass. Kelley, running a post route to the corner of the end zone, was also in the apparent perfect place. Attempting to cover the intended receiver, Hoage first slipped and fell on the artificial turf. Picking himself up, he ran toward Kelley and arrived at the very last moment to tip away Page’s pass. On the next play, Andre Holmes intercepted Page on the goal line, conserving the Bulldogs’ seven-point advantage. Following Georgia’s 20-13 victory, coach Vince Dooley said the leaping pass break up was the greatest play he had ever seen, and that Hoage was the best defensive player he had coached in his 20 years at Georgia.
Your vote is important in deciding the Bulldogs’ greatest play of all time by the end of the summer. VOTE HERE.