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Well, that was closer than it should have been. Tennessee 32, UGA 35. Early in the 4th quarter, I marveled that the UGA defense had held an SEC opponent to 17 points. Then the Bulldogs reverted to form.
There were plenty of celebrities at the game. Peyton Manning was reportedly present, and several PGA golfers and actress Chloë Grace Moretz were introduced to the crowd. However, the guest of honor was Vince Dooley, who took over as head coach 50 seasons ago. Vince looked good and pleased to be back on the field. At halftime, the band spelled his name, and he mugged for the cameras with his family, friends, and former players.
I've never met Dooley myself, but I did know a student who in 2002 decided to walk into his office as Athletic Director to meet him. He got as far as Dooley's secretary who told him that Mr. Dooley was far too busy to meet anyone who didn't have an appointment. However, before the student could leave the office, Dooley stepped out of his office and signed the student's hat on the spot. Dooley didn't have to do that, and I think it says a lot about why Georgians like the man.
To honor Dooley, the Bulldogs won by the skin on their canine teeth, surviving a game of terrible play by quarterback Hutson Mason (I begin to worry that he's not very good: a qb who only looks at one receiver from snap to throw will not win many games) and some bizarrely self-imposed wounds. For example, UGA sent 13 men on the field for a punt return in the 4th quarter. Coaches noticed the overage and removed one man. Tweet! Illegal participation. The 5-yard penalty didn't give Tennessee a first down, so they lined up to kick again. This time, Georgia over compensated, sending only 10 men out on the field. Ouch.
It wasn't just Georgia making boneheaded decisions. The weather forecast called for overcast skies, so naturally I chose to forego my sun hat for the game. Two words: sun burn. Sigh.
But we won in the end, and that's what counts. Bring on Vanderbilt!