Saturday marks the return (for now) of a rite of fall - Georgia and South Carolina lining up to face one another in the early weeks of a season.
One of those meetings came to begin the 1995 season. Georgia won that day in Athens by a score of 42-23, but it was also a microcosm of what might have been, as a season of gruesome injuries would follow.
Before the season even began, Georgia head coach Ray Goff was in a tough spot. The mandate from the previous year from the late Vince Dooley, then the school’s athletic director, was clear - “significant improvement.”
For an afternoon, it appeared that Georgia’s coaching staff was on to lighting in a bottle. After trailing 17-7 with the first touchdown being a pass from Mike Bobo, yes, that Mike Bobo, things came alive for the Dawgs.
Robert Edwards, to running back converted from the defensive secondary, simply torched the Gamecocks defense, rushing for 169 yards and four touchdowns, five overall to go with a 45-yard touchdown catch with the longest scoring run for 58 yards away to help put the game away late. Basically, Edwards was a cheat code that day.
For his part, Bobo was 15-28 for 250 yards.
As glorious as that day was for Georgia, perhaps to worst season of injuries for Georgia would follow. In a 30-27 loss to next week to Tennessee Edwards broke his foot and would be done for the season after gaining 325 yards and two touchdowns in less than two games.
It’d only be the beginning of the rash of injuries. Hines Ward and Larry Bowie would step in at the scatback position, only to later suffer injuries. The same went for Torin Kirtsey, hurt one week after he began to see time. In eight games, that position saw six starters.
Things were not much better at quarterback, where Bobo’s season ended after a few games and both Brian Smith and Hines Ward would see time under center in a season also decimated by injuries on defense.
Exacerbated by injuries, Georgia would finish 6-6 with Goff and the school negotiating the end of his time as head coach before the Georgia Tech game.
Injuries happen a lot in football. But no matter what happens going forward, its hard to imagine a season as bad on that front as 1995.