Not long ago, Ryan of The Highland Road Blog augmented my attempt to list The Most Important Days in S.E.C. History by proposing the generic category "Various Individual Performances."
Much as I did with Ryan's other broad proposal, "Various Team Performances," I am going to divide my responses into the best Georgia performances I saw in person and the best Georgia performances overall.
Taking these in a different order this time, I commence with The Five Best Individual Performances Overall:
The best individual performance in Georgia history was, of course, Uga's underappreciated acting job in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."
Frank Sinkwich and Charley Trippi v. Florida (November 7, 1942)---It isn't often that two players in the same backfield provide legendary performances in the same game, but, in the best outing of one of the Red and Black's greatest seasons, two Georgia greats cemented their standing as all-time Bulldog stars. Sinkwich, who would win the Heisman Trophy a few weeks later, averaged 7.1 yards per carry, scored two rushing touchdowns, and completed five of his nine pass attempts for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Trippi, who would finish second in the Heisman Trophy balloting in his senior season, matched Fireball Frankie's effort with six carries for 80 yards and a pair of T.D.s, two completions on three pass attempts for 72 yards and two more touchdowns, and a 48-yard interception return for a fifth and final score. Between them, Sinkwich and Trippi accounted for more than half of the Bulldogs' 593 yards in the biggest rout in Georgia-Florida history.
Ray Goff v. Florida (November 6, 1976)---Including a Ray Goff performance against the Gators may provoke more than a few snickers, considering the extent to which his inability to beat Steve Spurrier contributed to the firing of Vince Dooley's successor, but, during his senior season under center for the Red and Black, Goff was stellar in Jacksonville. Florida took a 27-13 lead into the locker room, but, after the Big Lizards' infamous "fourth and dumb" call at their own 29 yard line, "the color of the game changed like a Key West sunset - from orange to red," as Cale Conley put it in War Between the States. In the Gateway City, Goff completed all five of his pass attempts for 37 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. The senior signal-caller from Moultrie also rushed 17 times, gaining 124 yards, averaging 7.3 yards per carry, and scoring three rushing touchdowns. At the end of the day, the 'Dawgs won it going away, 41-27. Georgia captured the S.E.C. championship and Goff was named the league's player of the year.
3-0 against Florida as a player. Go figure.
Herschel Walker v. Vanderbilt (October 18, 1980)---The box score tells the story. Against the Commodores in his rookie season, the Goal Line Stalker rushed for 10 first downs and three touchdowns, gained 283 yards on 23 carries (for a staggering average of 12.3 yards per rush), and broke seven runs of 10 yards or more, including one 60-yard gallop. Yes, it was just Vanderbilt in a home game the Bulldogs won by a 41-point margin, but the dominance of Walker's performance in just his fifth start as a true freshman deserves recognition.
Robert Edwards v. Auburn (November 16, 1996)---Down 28-7 on the Plains, the Bulldogs came marching back to tie the game at the end of regulation with no time remaining on the clock. In four overtime periods, Robert Edwards carried the load for the 'Dawgs. Quarterback Mike Bobo attempted three passes, all of which were intended for Edwards and all of which were caught by Edwards, who tallied 37 receiving yards in O.T. Edwards also rushed 10 times for 60 yards and three touchdowns---all school records in extra innings that stand to this day. Do the math: Georgia scored four touchdowns, all starting from the opponent's 25 yard line, and 97 of the 100 yards covered by the Bulldogs on their way to a 56-49 quadruple-overtime victory were gained by Robert Edwards. That's a performance for the ages, particularly when it comes on the road against your team's oldest rival.
When discussing the 1996 Georgia-Auburn game, all citizens of Bulldog Nation are legally obligated to display this photograph.
Those are the top five from my vantage point. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments below.
Coming Soon: The Five Best Individual Performances in Games I Attended.