Saturday morning I awoke at 3:48am, knowing well that as long as I left my home in NW GA by 9:am I would arrive in Athens no later than 12:30pm, which would assure me that I would not strangle 1 or 3 ESPN talking heads . I tried to go back to sleep, but for some reason I could not get my eyelids to close again. So after puttering around the house for 4 hours, packing my bag, making sure everything was right within the world, I left wearing my new RED UGA shirt (had to burn my last red shirt after the Clemson game) and black shorts.
Great drive, but I wish they would get that bridge in Lawrenceville finished...going Jasper route next time. Met up with a local friend at his tailgate on the second section of the Tate Student Center Parking Garage, AWESOME tailgating spot. I do not know what it was but Saturday felt different. Just DIFFERENT. As the Dawgs lined up under my perch, I felt chills.
I got into the stadium about 40 minutes before and looked across to the student section...IT was PACKED. You could feel something bouncing around the stadium. WALL STREET JOURNAL,,,do you want to post a recant????
I will not get into the play by play breakdown of the game...that will be rehashed over and over, but I will say that my seat was vastly unused as were 92,000 others. Most fans stood the entire game, even during the insanely LONG TV timeouts.
Was it the 55 yard field goal, the composure of Murray, the "This is OUR House" video??? Something was buzzing in the stands. There were dour moments, there were times when we held our faces in our hand; but they were short lived.
I have been going to Sanford since I was 10 years old (1979). Aside from the Auburn Blackout game I have never heard the stadium louder at any single moment (and I would wager that at times it approached that moment when the DAWGS took the field in black), but I HAVE NEVER HEARD SANFORD SO LOUD FOR SO LONG. The team, the fans and the Stadium responded well to a visitor that has a recorded earthquake...WE SHOOK ATHENS ALL NIGHT LONG.
It was MAGIC when Murray touched Scott Wesley-Jones with less than a heartbeat remaining to give UGA the lead. It was MAGIC when the Defense STOOD up and stopped LSU again. I thought my heart would explode when Murray took the final knee, heaved the ball into the air and then realized he wanted that ball and ran after it. It was MAGIC when 20 minutes after the game few wearing red had left the stadium, It was MAGIC when Coach Mark Richt embraced Katherine and kissed her, it was MAGIC when the team came out of the tunnel for the third time that night and soaked in the joy of the fans.
After I made my way out of the stadium, horse, ribs hurting...and walked to Herschel's for dinner, there were more "GO DAWGS" shouts and cheers than I could answer. Anytime I saw a purple clad person make it to the bar I bought them a drink...they traveled well and they are damn good fans. After dinner I stumbled over to the Magic Mushroom where there were more drinks and I think I bought the last drip from the Abita keg for a LSU fan.
Then I had to face the long walk back to my hotel on West Broad. but it got much easier...As I strode past the ARCHES I heard something really MAGICAL...the beautiful sounds of the Chapel Bells echoing in the fall air. I made it back to my room only to meet some LSU fans in the parking lot...we drank, talked about everything but football, exchanged numbers and emails and somewhere around 2am or so I walked into my room...PERFECT ENDING to a GREAT GAME. This old man is happy.
The Tragic part was Sunday morning when I had to make drive back to my NW GA home...that seemed to take 7 hours... GO DAWGS and #RedOutRockyTop