1980 was a pretty special year. I guess you know that if you are a Bulldog fan. However it was a year of two miracles, both of which had some common themes. In 1980, the "Miracle on Ice" happened. USA, playing a bunch of college kids that were pulled together from all over, upset the huge, goliath hockey team of the USSR. They said it couldn't happen. The interesting thing few people even remember, is that game did not, in fact, win the gold. It was a semi final. Team USA had to go on to beat Finland to win. Similarly, UGA went to the Sugar Bowl to beat the huge, goliath football team of Notre Dame. In that time period, football was Alabama and Notre Dame. We were the underdogs, we were undersized, we couldn't possibly win. Similar to Team USA, when reflecting upon that team and that season, the Sugar Bowl is not what people remember the most. They remember two things: Herschel Walker, and "Run Lindsay!". But that Sugar Bowl was a helluva game. Hard fought. Tough. People don't remember Herschel got hurt in that game. ND was going to kill us. We had no chance. The seconds peeled off like hours. One play and ND could even up the score.
However, you know what, then, just as we will need now, we won the fight in the trenches. Held the behemoth Notre Dame to 10 pts. We fought and scrapped every single play. Every down. Every inch. We shouldn't have won. They were bigger. They were used to winning big. They knew how to finish. They had all the confidence. We barely beat Tennesse. We barely beat Florida. We barely beat Clemson. No one picked us to win. Yet we did. We did, not because of great calling, and not just because of Herschel. We won because our linemen, on both sides of the ball, bonded together and never gave up, never backed down. They fought with every last cell in their bodies from snap to whistle, over and over and over. They finished the drill. They didn't let the media get in their heads. They didn't worry that Notre Dame really didn't have a much tougher schedule either, and in fact, had lost a game. They focused on their jobs and their roles. That, Bulldog Nation, is what it's going to take this Saturday. It won't matter if Coach Bobo calls Carlton Thomas up the middle. It won't depend upon Aaron Murray having the game of his life. Because what our linemen do, on both sides of the ball, is what will matter the most. Our talent is good enough to take care of the rest. Ben Jones and company need to decide they want every inch, of every play, of every down, and fight through to the whistle with everything in their bodies, minds, heart and soul. No time off, never yield, never quit. Just like the 1980 squad. It's overly cliché, but absolute truth, we must win in the trenches. Finish the drill every single play. Make your opponent know he will never, ever get a break. Push and hit and tackle with every fiber of your being through every millisecond of the game.
Miracles can happen. We don't predict them; we don't bet on them; we don't expect them. That's why they are miracles. UGA is a good football team, EPSN pundits be damned. It has the players and the coaches. The question is do they have the never ending fight. All it may take is one Bacarri Rambo interception. One Jarvis Jones massive sack. One untimely LSU turnover. One Malcolm Mitchell bomb TD. If it was a given LSU would win, then we wouldn't even need to line up this Saturday afternoon. I was 8 years old on Jan 1, 1981. I got permission to stay "up late" to watch the Sugar Bowl. I sat about 4 feet from the tv. I had on my old school Georgia Mascot T shirt. I don't remember blinking, eating, moving. I was watching the impossible happen. I realize this game isn't for a national title, it isn't at that level of course, but in regards to the media downplay, the enormous odds to overcome, the size and strength of LSU, it feels a lot like it. Like we don't have a chance no matter. Underdog is an understatement for this Saturday. Underdog is where UGA plays best. A shot to beat the #1 team for the conference crown. That's what dreams are made of.
It's been a while since UGA got to be Cinderalla, and I am all for taking her to the dance. Larry didn't repeat his lines, but I think, just this one time, if UGA wins, he would say, "Can you see the sugar falling from the sky?" Here's to you young Bulldogs, we believe.