Odds, Ends, and Random Assorted Facts Regarding the Georgia Bulldogs' Rivalry with the Clemson Tigers

I don't have nearly as much to say. - Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE

I am grateful for Dawg Haus’s thoughtful review of Fighting Like Cats and Dogs, in which he offered both kind compliments and reasonable criticisms. I am particularly grateful for the constructive feedback, which included some valid points concerning the inclusion of valuable all-time series odds and ends, which reminded me that there were some interesting (and not altogether impartial) data regarding the Georgia Bulldogs’ rivalry with the Clemson Tigers that I was unable to incorporate into the book, which warranted sharing, and this struck me as being as good an opportunity as any to offer these minutiae up for the good of the order. These are they:

Clemson and Georgia have squared off in four different cities on eight different fields. 41 series meetings have been played in two Georgia cities (Athens and Augusta) and 21 series meetings have been played in two South Carolina cities (Anderson and Clemson). The one game in Anderson was played at Cater Athletic Park and the seven games in Augusta were played at the Georgia-Carolina Fairgrounds. The 34 games in Athens have been played on Herty Field (7 games), on Sanford Field (6 games), and in Sanford Stadium (21 games). The 20 games in Clemson have been played on Bowman Field (3 games), on Riggs Field (1 game), and in Memorial Stadium (16 games).

The Bulldogs scored their 500th series point against Clemson in Memorial Stadium in 1962. The Tigers scored their 500th series point against Georgia in Sanford Stadium in 1982.

Georgia has built up a 30-0 lead on Clemson twice in the last four series meetings.

Of the 62 series meetings, 46 have been played on Saturday. The other 16 showdowns took place on Monday (once), Wednesday (once), Thursday (10 times), and Friday (four times). Four of the Thursday clashes took place on Thanksgiving Day, on which the Georgia-Clemson game was played in 1915, 1919, 1920, and 1921. The lone Monday clash took place on Labor Day night in 1982.

Frank Dobson, the only man to serve as the head coach of both Georgia and Clemson, never stood on the winning sideline in a rivalry game between the two teams. He was 0-1 against the Orange and Purple during his tenure in Athens and 0-2-1 against the Red and Black during his days at Fort Hill.

With 15 victories over the Tigers, Vince Dooley is the winningest coach of either team in the history of the rivalry. Behind Coach Dooley in second place are Wally Butts and Alex Cunningham, each of whom guided Georgia to five victories over Clemson. Danny Ford and John Heisman share fourth place in the all-time series standings, as both men led the Fort Hill Felines to four wins over the Classic City Canines. If the Bulldogs beat the Tigers on August 31, Mark Richt will move into a three-way tie for sixth place with Georgia’s Ray Goff and Clemson’s Bob Williams.

Speaking of Bob Williams, he was the last Clemson head football coach to finish his career above .500 against Georgia. Coach Williams went 3-2 against the Athenians in a career at Fort Hill that ended in 1915, five years before the Red and Black came to be known as the Bulldogs and 40 years before construction began on Lake Hartwell.

Georgia is 8-6-2 all-time in Death Valley and 2-0 against the Tigers during the month of August.

In the first 31 series meetings (1897-1954), the Red and Black held a 20-9-2 lead in the rivalry with the Orange and Purple. In the next 31 series meetings (1955-2003), the Bulldogs held a 21-8-2 lead in the rivalry with the Tigers.

No series meetings between the Bulldogs and the Tigers took place prior to October until 1945, but, from 1967 to 1987, 18 of 20 games between the Bulldogs and the Tigers were played in September.

Georgia posted a 10-0 record against Clemson in September matchups before 1977. Nearly half of the Country Gentlemen’s victories over the Red and Black (8 of 17) have come during the month of October.

One game between the two teams was won by two points (in 1995) and three games were won by seven points (in 1954, 1967, and 1985). The Bulldogs won all four of those games. Two games between the two teams were won by one point (in 1977 and 1987) and two games were won by five points (in 1909 and 1979). The Tigers won all four of those games.

Two games between the two teams were won by four points (in 1974 and 1980). Clemson won the first of those meetings and Georgia won the second. Two games between the two teams were won by six points (in 1906 and 1982). Clemson won the first of those meetings and Georgia won the second.

The Red and Black hold a 9-7-4 record over Clemson in games decided by seven or fewer points. The Bulldogs are 3-1 over the Tigers in series showdowns settled by three points, with Clemson carrying the day in 1986 but Georgia coming out on top in 1913, 1984, and 2002.

Four games in the rivalry have ended in ties. Two of the deadlocks occurred in Georgia (Augusta in 1910 and Athens in 1919) and two occurred in South Carolina (Clemson in 1963 and in 1983). In the first three draws between the Orange and Purple and the Red and Black, Georgia turned the ball over on downs at the Clemson 2 yard line in 1910, while Clemson turned the ball over on downs at the Georgia 3 yard line in 1919 and at the Georgia 2 yard line in 1963. The Tigers kicked off to start both halves in 1910 and the Bulldogs kicked off to start both halves in 1963. The Athenians blocked two field goal attempts by the Clemsonians in 1983, as payback for the two Georgia field goal attempts which were blocked by the Country Gentlemen in 1963. In addition to those blocks, Georgia missed one field goal attempt in 1910, another in 1963, and three more in 1983 to preserve that trio of ties. Miscues relating to fumble recoveries maintained deadlocks in 1919 (when the Jungaleers fell on a loose ball rather than scooping it up and advancing it for a likely game-winning score) and in 1963 (when the Classic City Canines reclaimed possession on the last play of the game but could not run a play before time expired).

In each of the four series ties, Georgia’s regular first-team fullback did not start at his usual position against Clemson: W.F. McClelland was ineligible due to grades in 1910; Edmund K. Munn and Frank Lankewicz were sidelined by injuries in 1919 and in 1963, respectively; and Barry Young was moved to tailback for the game in 1983.

The Georgia-Clemson clash has occurred in the season-opening outing for both teams seven times, in 1897, 1898, 1899, 1903, 1982, 2002, and 2003. In 1946, the rivalry showdown took place in the Bulldogs’ first game after the Tigers already had played one game. Likewise, three series meetings have marked the final contest of the autumn for both squads, in 1915, 1919, and 1920. In 1921 and again in 1944, the Orange and Purple ended the season against the Red and Black during campaigns in which the Classic City Canines still had a game remaining on their slate.

Georgia and Clemson have met in the first game of the fall on seven occasions and four other series meetings have ended in ties. In the remaining 51 meetings between the Bulldogs and the Tigers, the Athenians were 17-5 (.773) against the Jungaleers when Georgia came into the contest with the better record, 10-9 (.526) when Clemson entered the game sporting the superior ledger, and 8-2 (.800) when the two teams’ resumes were identical. The ‘Dawgs are 18-6 (.750) over the Orange and Purple when Georgia comes in undefeated, 14-7 (.667) when Clemson comes in undefeated, and 12-2 (.857) when both teams come in undefeated. The Tigers’ first victory over the Bulldogs when neither team had a blemish on its record entering the rivalry showdown came in 1981, the year in which Clemson went on to win the national championship.

In 1977, Georgia quarterback Jeff Pyburn threw two interceptions against the Tigers, which were hauled in by two different Clemson defenders. In 1978, Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller threw two interceptions against the Bulldogs, which were snagged by two different Georgia cornerbacks. In 1980, Orange and Purple signal callers Homer Jordan and Mike Gasque between them were picked off three times by three different ‘Dawgs. In 1981, Red and Black field general Buck Belue tossed five interceptions against the Jungaleers, and five different Clemson defensive backs accounted for those grabs. In 1982, Tiger QB Homer Jordan was picked off four times by four Georgia defensemen. In 1984, Bulldog quarterback Todd Williams saw five errant aerials snagged by five different Clemsonians. Six times in eight series meetings, one team saw its signal callers throw multiple interceptions without any opposing player bringing in more than one of the ill-fated throws, with Clemson QBs being the offending parties three times and Georgia field generals committing the miscues on the other three occasions. In four of those six games, the team that had numerous passes picked off threw its last interception on that squad’s final offensive play, with two of those last-ditch throws being caught in the end zone by players wearing the wrong color jersey.

The series standings have been tied three times, in 1902 (3-3), in 1913 (8-8-1), and for the last time in 1915 (9-9-1).

Of the 62 series meetings between 1897 and 2003, 20 have been decided by seven or fewer points. That’s 32.3% of the time, or almost one-third of all the games played between Georgia and Clemson. Of the 16 rivalry clashes between 1977 and 2002, 11 were settled by a touchdown or less. That’s 68.8% of the time, or more than two-thirds of the contests in question.

The shift in the series standings that transformed the rivalry occurred in Charley Pell’s first season at Fort Hill. From 1915 to 1976, the Bulldogs posted a 23-2-2 record against the Tigers, but Clemson’s upset victory in Athens the following year began a run during which the Country Gentlemen were 6-5-1 over Georgia between 1977 and 1990. During that period, the series became universally recognized as one of the top rivalries in all of college football.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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