Game day is upon us! Believe it or not, the winner of this contest controls its own destiny in the race for the Eastern Division title, so this is a big one against a team that has proven during the Bobby Johnson era that it can play with anyone in the league . . . and a team that has proven in the last two years that it certainly can play with Georgia.
If you’ll be homestaying during homecoming, you are invited to share your impressions, reflections, reactions, and conclusions in the comments below. Think of it as a call-in show with a 100 per cent literacy rate and without the need to hang up and listen.
This is also the point at which we declare the Dawg Sports honorary game captain. Last week, we selected Verron Haynes, who turned out to be the actual official honorary game captain standing at midfield before kickoff of last week’s outing against Tennessee. I am morally certain, however, that this week’s Dawg Sports honorary game captain will not be in Sanford Stadium this afternoon.
This week’s honorary game captain is . . .
I know what you’re thinking: Who the heck is Frank McCutcheon? If you’re not thinking that, you’re probably thinking: I’m Dan Magill, and I am way too classy to be reading this weblog.
Let me give you a little background.
In 1895---I told you I was going to give you a little background, didn’t I?---Georgia was playing Vanderbilt in Nashville. The Red and Black’s Edgar Erastus Pomeroy took the handoff from Craig Barrow in the second half of a scoreless contest and was tackled. As was the custom in that day, Pomeroy called out "Down!" to signify that he had been halted and the play had ended.
A Vanderbilt player picked up the dead ball and was carrying it back to Walter Cothran, the Georgia center, but, while he held the pigskin, one of his teammates told him to run, so he did, all the way to the end zone. The officials, who had not yet blown their whistles, called it a touchdown. The Atlanta Constitution called it robbery.
Georgia coach Pop Warner---yes, that Pop Warner---was furious. He ran onto the field to protest the call with the referee, W.L. Granberry, but Vanderbilt got the benefit of some home cooking. Granberry had officiated every Vanderbilt home game for the past decade and he refused to change his ruling, so Coach Warner withdrew his team from the field and refused to continue. Vanderbilt was awarded a 6-0 victory and the two teams would not play again until 1898.
Understandably, the Athenians were out for revenge when the two teams met up at Piedmont Park in Atlanta three years later. Both squads needed the win to remain in contention for the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship and the early star for the Red and Black was A.C. "Kit" Jones, whose punting kept the Tennesseans from making much headway.
One of Jones’s punts was fumbled on the Vandy five yard line and recovered by Georgia’s Charlie DuBignon. McCutcheon, the Red and Black’s right halfback, went around end for the touchdown. It proved to be the only score by either team that day.
The Atlanta Constitution reported that, after the game, the spectators "took McCutcheon, the hero of the day, on their shoulders and carried him around the field time and again." Dr. John F. Stegeman, son of Georgia coach and athletic director Herman Stegeman, neatly summarized the significance of the victory in his book The Ghosts of Herty Field, where he wrote: "Georgia was suddenly the toast of the South."
Here’s hoping the spirit of Frank McCutcheon, who was responsible for the Red and Black’s first series victory over Vanderbilt, will be with the Bulldogs today as they go for their 49th series victory over the Commodores.