I know it goes without saying that everyone in the Bulldog Nation is all smiles after our men in red and black took care of business in Columbia, S.C. this past Saturday. The victory over the Gamecocks was a thing of beauty as brilliant play by our Dawgs in all three phases (offense, defense, special teams) had Will Muschamp’s team all but waving the surrender flag before the end of the third quarter.
However, as impressive as the victory was, everyone here at Bulldawg Illustrated is turning the page towards Saturday night’s game versus a Middle Tennessee team that will be looking to play spoiler. For this reason, this issue’s cover really shouldn’t require a ton of explanation. If you get too caught up in a big victory from the week before, you’re asking for trouble.
About this time last season, does everyone remember when Mississippi State rolled into Athens after blitzing LSU the week before? It got ugly quick in Sanford Stadium for the visiting Bizarro Dawgs and the jubilation from seven days prior was a distant memory.
What I also like about Rob Saye’s image on the cover and Greg Poole’s on this page (from another angle) is the teaching lesson it should provide to our team. Unfortunately just a few seconds later, Deandre Baker’s sure to be Pick Six was almost bungled as #18 failed to finish his dash to paydirt by dropping the football on the 1-yard line. Thankfully, Georgia linebacker Juwan Taylor alertly jumped on the pigskin to secure the Dawgs’ first touchdown and the rout was on.
Interesting enough, I met Baker’s mom about an hour later during halftime and she assured me that she had done her part through the years to remind her son to finish a touchdown. “I’ve always told him to take the ball all the way to the blue (refs),” she said.
My point for bringing this up is to show how a lack of concentration for one second can spell disaster. Imagine if South Carolina recovered the fumble or it went out of bounds in the end zone, which would’ve given the Garnet and Black the ball on their 20-yard line. You can bet the Gamecock Nation would’ve been reenergized and the lopsided Georgia victory could’ve had a completely different outcome.
Look at me … lecturing everyone to not look back and now I’m guilty of it. What can I say, it’s easier said than done after such a glorious victory.
I’m greatly looking forward to Saturday’s game under the lights in Sanford Stadium. I know our terrific fan base will be juiced up giving our guys plenty of love as they attempt to stretch their record to 3-0 by night’s end. This issue should certainly do the trick to get you ready with both our sports and social coverage.
Be sure to check out Hamilton Culpepper’s interview with Georgia women’s basketball coach Joni Taylor on page 45. Joni is a great Bulldog and always lends her support to all the other sports programs at Georgia. As Hammy says, Joni is a class act!
Also back in this issue are our Georgia Girls (page 22) and What’s Cooking (page 32) features. And beyond our fan shots from the victory in Columbia (pages 34, 36-38), we also have shots from the West End Zone dedication (pages 24, 25) and the ESP Brunch on Bases event (page 30). And on page 29, we celebrate one super cool lady’s 85th birthday … Athenian Jenny Sligh. Enjoy all those happy faces!
That’s going to do it for me because I’m worn out like all the other Georgia fans that made the road trip to South Carolina. It was brutally hot, but the day was made great by both the play on the field and the cheering in the stands. Let’s do it again on Saturday night in Athens. Go Dawgs!!