Whatcha Got Loren: There is no ‘Belue to Scott’ without the block of Nat Hudson

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Whatcha Got Loren: There is no ‘Belue to Scott’ without the block of Nat Hudson

Loran Smith
Loran Smith

Statistics don’t always tell the entire story. In the Georgia football media guide, there is a section that documents the longest plays in Bulldog history.

Some of those plays won games or led to plays that won games. Others were long jaunts that simply brought the players noteworthy status for the ages. For example, in 1965, Kirby Moore threw a 92-yard touchdown pass to Randy Wheeler, but Georgia lost to Auburn, 21-19. Few remember that game except, perhaps, Kirby and Randy.

The longest touchdown pass in Bulldog history, 98 yards, took place against North Texas State between the hedges in a blowout game, 45-21—Aaron Murray to Reggie Davis in 2013. If you are a fan, wearing Red and Black, you likely don’t remember much about that game, but that play may be in the record book when Murray and Davis are great grandfathers.

At this point in our history, it would require someone long in the tooth—like having had about 90 birthdays—or a seasoned historian to share the details of one of the most sensational touchdown passes in all the years the nation’s oldest state-chartered university has been competing in football.

In Columbus, Nov. 1, 1941, with the score tied 0-0, Frank Sinkwich dropped back and lofted a deep ball downfield as the referee’s pistol pointed skyward into the afternoon air. With the ball in flight, the ref fired the gun. The game, still in doubt, was, nonetheless, over.

Lamar “Racehorse” Davis, running in stride, caught the ball and scored on a 40-yard play. The Bulldogs won, 7-0, and a few weeks later would be invited to play in the Orange Bowl, one of the most significant touchdowns ever for UGA. It helped get the Bulldogs in the bowl business. I have always felt this was the most dramatic play in Georgia history.

Even a precocious freshman on campus today, with a deep and abiding Bulldog bent, probably knows about the touchdown pass in the old Gator Bowl on Nov. 8, 1980—when Buck Belue connected with Lindsay Scott on what many suggest is the greatest play ever at Georgia.

It was 40 years ago this week when gloom on the Bulldog sideline turned euphoric—when all hope was seemingly lost, Buck and Lindsay snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

We have all replayed the game countless times. We have heard Larry Munson screaming, “Run Lindsay run,” as Lindsay broke into the open field. I was on the sideline about mid-field wondering if a miracle play was possible. As it took place, I could see Lindsay leap high to catch Buck’s pass and reaching his hand to the turf as he came down with the ball, to balance himself, and then began the race of his life.

Television replays of “the miracle on Duval Street” still take place north of the Georgia-Florida border around Halloween each year. Voluminous words have been written about the play—even a book. I produced a special for TV stations across the state, “Belue to Scott.” That play will endure. It will stand the test of time.

There were many contributors to victory that day. Herschel ran for a 72-yard score, Ronnie Stewart caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Belue and Rex Robinson kicked two field goals. Mike Fisher, a Jacksonville son, sealed the victory with a late interception on Florida’s last possession.

Everybody had a part to play in victory, but when you shout hosannas for Buck and Lindsay and all the rest, remember Nat Hudson, who enabled Buck and Lindsay to claim unprecedented glory.

Buck and Lindsay have been lionized profusely and someday will be memorialized. No play has been more unforgettable, but with every deserved pat-on-the-back for the quarterback and receiver, we should never forget “The Block.”

It was one of the most acclaimed blocks of all time if you are a student of Georgia history. Nat’s singular moment prevented the sacking of Buck Belue on that epic afternoon. It wasn’t a spectacular head-over-heels effort that would dominate SportsCenter which didn’t exist back then. It mostly went undisclosed by the media even in the post-game press conference. Buck knew. His teammates and coaches knew. Larry Munson spotted it in the radio booth when he said in his play-by-play account, “(Buck) … got a block behind him.” Still, because of the sensational accounts of the pass, catch and run, “Belue to Scott” has been celebrated in perpetuity without enough high fives for Nat Hudson, who made the play happen.

The Georgia team had pretty much left it all on the field the week before by beating South Carolina in a close game between-the-hedges,13-10. The tank was not empty when the Bulldogs lined up against Florida in the old Gator Bowl on Nov. 8, 1980, but the Dawgs were not sharp in execution. You could sense it. The orange-clad troops from Gainesville were primed for a peak game. The Gators finally pulled ahead with a field goal in the fourth quarter and all hopes for the Dawgs seemed to vanish when Florida, with a 21-20 lead, punted out of bounds at the Georgia seven-yard line. The Gator sideline began to celebrate and a couple of players on the field began to dance the funky chicken.

Then lightning struck and the Gator celebration went bust. On third down, Buck dropped back to throw, looking downfield when suddenly a Gator defender was streaking post-haste with the intent to wind up in Belue’s lap. He would have succeeded if Nat had not peeled off his block at the line of scrimmage and got his shoulder in the Florida defensive lineman’s path.

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