“My God almighty, he ran right through two men…”


Brian Grummell has a nice post up about how Herschel Walker changed college football forever (don’t worry, his header is tongue in cheek).  Give it a read.

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62 Comments

Filed under College Football, Georgia Football

62 responses to ““My God almighty, he ran right through two men…”

  1. TennesseeDawg

    Dude could come onto the field this fall, 30 years since he lasted played here, and win the starting tailback job. Does anyone doubt that?

  2. Jake

    don’t doubt it for a second

  3. Spence

    On behalf of the University of Georgia, I gladly accept the 1990 National Championship trophy Brian references we earned, and now suggest we demolish the Joke By the Coke.

    Thank you. Thank you.

  4. retwely

    Unfortunately I am too young to have seen Herschel in the Red and Black but looking at some of his numbers (never mind the insane game film) you can really appreciate just how dominant he was.

    Never lost a single SEC game, accounted for OVER 100% of UGA’s 1-1-81 Sugar Bowl yardage, if he had played a Senior season and simply matched his lowest seasonal output, his career rushing record would be 478 yards beyond the current career leader Ron Dayne.

    He was the greatest College football player of all time.

    • ScoutDawg

      You had to see it to believe it. No disrespect intended.

      • Russ

        I still remember when he broke loose against Texas A&M the first home game and I thought for sure two DBs had the angle on him (they did). However, when he accelerated and ran 76 yards for the TD, my jaw dropped.

        I also remember the Vandy game when he got pissed and went looking for people to run over on one play. I think he gained 283 yards that day.

        Watching him today whip younger MMA opponents is just as amazing.

        I love Herschel, all of them. ;)

      • ScoutDawg

        My Gawd, A Freshman.

      • 81 Dog

        I saw it and I still have trouble believing it sometimes. Tony Dorsett is the only college running back I have seen in my lifetime that even arguably could approach Herschel. AU fans who suggest Bo Jackson was in Herschel’s class simply show themselves to be the ignorant country folk we sorta knew they were, anyhow.

        • retwely

          The Bo thing is so simple to refute: Herschel ran for 725 more yards during his Fr.-Soph. seasons than Bo ran for in his Fr.-Sr. seasons.

          Herschel never lost a conference game, Herschel won a national title. Bo was a great RB with a memorable commercial, Herschel was the greatest college RB ever.

          Bye Bye backup school kids.

          • retwely

            My bad up there, I was looking at Bo’s NFL stats when I threw out the 725 more line. Herschel still had more collegiate yards in 3 seasons than Bo had in 4.

  5. Paul

    Nice article, but I suspect a lot of this era coincides neatly with the time frame of population flowing from North to South.

    • Russ

      Don’t cloud the issue with facts. I like the story just the way it was told.

    • 69Dawg

      More than that it had to do with the Southern School finally keeping the black football players at home. During the 60′s and most of the 70′s the great black football players went north and west to play. Once integration happened in the South it was all over for the Northern schools.

      • mdr

        Exactly. The best players were always from the south. It just took a while for the southern schools to appreciate that fact and let them play.

  6. Hogbody Spradlin

    I’d look at it from the converse too. Prior to the 70′s, the polls were biased against Southern teams other than Bama. Some Ole Miss teams in the 50′s were downright fearsome. Playing them was like playing Miami in their criminal heyday, but no yankee intellectual snob would vote them ahead of teams from other regions.

    In a way, Bear Bryant can thank Bull Conner and George Wallace for publicity.

  7. Herschel changed college football forever. Everyone looked for a big back that could over people from that point on. I say the balance changed when the SEC schools decided it was in everyone’s best interest to integrate.

    His list of 14 schools is a joke. Pitt? Please. Florida since 1990? Yes. Since 1890? Not so much. This article is another example of “ask people in Montana what they think about college football” to determine who’s elite and who’s not.

    • ScoutDawg

      Well said.

      • My first game in Sanford Stadium was the 1981 Auburn game where Herschel wasn’t flashy, but he just chewed that Auburn defense up. An Auburn fan behind us was talking trash about how overrated Herschel was, and my dad finally turned around in the 2nd half and asked him how come Auburn’s defense couldn’t bring Herschel down less than 6 yards downfield if he was so overrated. The guy sat down and shut up for the rest of the game.

  8. Irishdawg

    First game my dad ever took me to was the 44-0 beatdown of Tennessee Herschel’s sophomore year. He was Georgia’s entire offense; everyone knew he was getting the ball and keyed on him, but they simply could not stop him. The guy is not human.

    • ScoutDawg

      Don’t you miss that from “TAILBACK U”?

    • I still think Herschel was better as a sophomore than as a freshman. He was absolutely unstoppable but didn’t have the 50, 60 or 70 yard runs that he did as a freshman. His sophomore year was when he got Dooley’s nickname of “Old Man River.”

  9. hailtogeorgia

    Can someone explain to me why we claim a 42′ national championship?

    • hailtogeorgia

      That should be ’42, not 42′, of course.

      • Go Dawgs!

        Georgia finished 11-1 in 1942, including a 9-0 win over UCLA in the Rose Bowl. UGA was declared National Champion by six polls which were recognized by the NCAA at the time: DeVold, Houlgate, Litkenhous, Williamson, Poling, and Berryman. That’s from the UGA Media Guide. According to Wikipedia, the Associated Press picked 9-1 Ohio State, along with four other polls. 8-1-1 Wisconsin finished as champion of one poll, the Helms Athletic Foundation poll.

        UGA was also recognized as National Champion in 1927, 1946, and 1968 by at least one poll, but none of those were consensus titles, so UGA doesn’t really claim them. UGA claims 1942 because it was a six-poll consensus, and heck. We won the Rose Bowl.

        • Go Dawgs!

          Now, if we were Alabama, we’d have flags flying above the stadium for those three MNC’s, too…

        • Dog in Fla

          On the other hand, maybe we shouldn’t claim ’42. After all, we could have been busier helping out Bull Halsey to

          “KILL JAPS !KILL JAPS !KILL MORE JAPS !
          You will help to kill the yellow bastards if you do your job well “

        • hailtogeorgia

          Gracias.

  10. Scorpio Jones, III

    Where are all the gentle people who went into hyperdrool when it was pointed out that we have never been a national power.

    Not only was 1980 an anomaly nationally, it was a Georgia football historical anomaly.

    If the writer’s point is that Herschel brought national attention to football in the South, that is at least partially true, but that’s a simplistic explanation of a more complex set of circumstances that produced today’s SEC football.

    Somebody above mentioned population growth, and that certainly is part of the explanation, but it is interesting nobody mentions TV.

    The TV Weasels have always known where the big crowds, passion and regional interest lay. And with those factors in the mix, they could sell toilet paper and Toyotas like hotcakes.

    I saw, live, every game Herschel played at Georgia. I will never recover, ever.

    Tim Tebow my ass……………

  11. OldDawg55

    You have to appreciate the making of Hershel…he was self made..playing for Wrightsville (Johnson County)…very little coaching just natural ability…helped by his training program of harnessing railroad ties and pulling them over the W&T RR tracks near Kite, Ga….he had the interanl fire that is missing in so many players today. He was fueled by the hype..he made the hype. Georgia just needs to go out and hunt this type player. Go Dawgs, GATA!!!

  12. NC Dawg

    That was truly a unique time for UGA football. Herschel may have been the spark, the greatest Bulldog player ever, but the whole team, the whole season was absolute magic in 1980 and for most of the next two seasons. Never be another one like Hershel. Damn, makes me sound so old, but I truly believe that.

    • Derek

      If you consider what the equivalent to Herschel in 1980 would be in 2011 it’s mind-boggling. He would have to weigh 265 and run a 4.0 40. So there won’t be another as it’s genetically impossible. The interesting thing is that Herschel had two contemporaries who were physically as freakish: Bo Jackson and Marcus Dupree. Of course, from the neck up they were altogether different.

      • 81 Dog

        from the neck down, too. Both of them were as fragile as china dolls. Bo took himself out of a game once with a thigh bruise. Nobody with any sense would deny that Bo was a very talented player, but Herschel AVERAGED more yards against the Gators than Bo gained in four years.

        I will concede this, however: Bo was a lot better baseball player than Herschel. So, there’s that.

        • Russ

          I still loved watching Bo run over Brian Bosworth when both were in the pros. Bo was no slouch.

          • 81 Dog

            Don’t sell Bo short. I think he was a tremendous slouch.

            Bo was capable of stunning individual plays. He just couldn’t sustain it game to game and season to season like Herschel. I enjoyed watching him truck Bosworth, too, though. I mean no disrespect to Bo by pointing out that he was a tremendously talented athlete and an excellent running back; he just wasn’t in Herschel Walker’s class. Neither was anyone else.

        • Derek

          Herschel got hurt too he just kept playing. As Herschel said after winning the sugar bowl: “pain a lot of times is in your mind. You just have block it out.”. I’d say that’s an above the neck issue and again the difference between Bo and Dupree and Herschel.

  13. Scorpio Jones, III

    Oh….one minor point….I know the writer picked Herschel running over Bill Bates….Ah Jesus!!!!…..but what he missed is that this was a minor happenstance during Herschel’s career…..if you gotta pick one, my choice is the Touchdown Somersault at Ole Miss. I was sitting next to Barbara Dooley, we both burst into tears. I still do.

    Bo Jackson my ass…..

    • Vinings Dog

      I am sorry for the length of this post. I found this years ago and wanted to share…………
      Anyone who’s watched SEC football for the past, oh, 50 years knows that when it comes to running backs, there’s Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson, and everyone else. So who’s the better college running back? Bo? Herschel? There are a few ways you can look at this one.

      1. Freshman impact. No contest here. Herschel set the freshman rushing record at 1,616 yards – and he did that in the equivalent of 9 games (he missed the bulk of the Ole Miss game, and a half against both UT and TCU). Bo? 829 yards. Ho hum. Or let me put it this way: Bo rushed for fewer yards as a freshman than Jasper Sanks did as a sophomore. Herschel should have won the Heisman as a freshman. Bo? Bo wasn’t diddly as a freshman.Advantage: Herschel, and Bo doesn’t really deserve to be mentioned in his company here.

      2. Season rushing stats. Let’s take a look at their seasons in terms of yards gained per season and put them in order.

      1. 1,891 yards. Herschel, 1981.
      2. 1,786 yards. Bo, 1985.
      3. 1,752 yards. Herschel, 1982.
      4. 1,616 yards. Herschel, 1980.
      5. 1,213 yards. Bo, 1983.
      6. 829 yards. Bo, 1982.
      7. 475 yards. Bo, 1984.

      Auburn fans will quickly remind you that Bo’s 1984 season was shortened by injury. I will remind Auburn fans that Herschel missed a game and a half his freshman year and a game his junior year based on injury. OK, so let’s go ahead and play the “what if” game. What if Bo and Herschel hadn’t missed any time due to injury? To let you know how I came up with these numbers, I did it like this. Herschel missed 1.5 games in 1980 due to injury. Take 1,616, divide by 9.5, multiply by 11 for the revised total. Here are the “no injuries” numbers:

      1. 1,936 yards. Herschel, 1982.
      2. 1,891 yards. Herschel, 1981.
      3. 1,871 yards. Herschel, 1980.
      4. 1,786 yards. Bo, 1985.
      5. 1,213 yards. Bo, 1983.
      6. 1,045 yards. Bo, 1984.
      7. 829 yards. Bo, 1982.

      Bo don’t know Herschel’s yards. Put another way, Herschel’s 3 years are 3 of the top 5 rushing totals in SEC history. Bo’s second best year doesn’t even make the top 20.

      Advantage: Herschel, and it’s not close.

      3. Career rushing stats.
      Herschel: 5,259 yards in 3 years
      Bo: 4,303 yards in 4 years.

      Some Auburn fans will tell you that a healthy Bo Jackson would have outrushed Herschel over 4 years. Fine. Let’s play that game, too. I’ll even give Bo a 1984 equivalent to his best season, 1985. Don’t forget, though, that Herschel had another full year to play when he left. Giving Herschel the equivalent of his best year, you get these numbers:

      Herschel: 7,150 yards
      Bo: 5,614 yards

      Sorry, Aubies. Advantage: Herschel, and again, it’s not even close.

      4. Durability. To make it through the always-brutal SEC schedule, a running back must have durability. The best home-run running back in the world doesn’t do squat from the bench.

      Per game: Herschel has two of the top 4 rush attempts in a game. Bo doesn’t even make the list.
      Per season: Herschel has the top 2 seasons. Bo’s best season is at #15.
      Career: Herschel had more rushes in 3 years than anyone in SEC history had in 4.

      No contest here. Compared to Herschel, Bo was a china doll. Bo took himself out of games. Herschel put himself back in them. Advantage: Herschel, and Bo isn’t in the same class.

      5. Team impact. Good players get good stats. Great players get great stats. Elite players lift the teams around them. Let’s look at the team records and accomplishments.

      National championships: In Herschel’s 3 years, Georgia won a national championship and played for another. In Bo’s 4, Auburn won none and played for none.

      SEC championships: Georgia won 3 in Herschel’s 3 years. Auburn won 1 in Bo’s 4 years.

      Winning percentage:
      Georgia: .917 (33-3), Auburn: .755 (37-12)
      At home: Georgia: 1.000 (19-0), Auburn: .846 (22-4)
      Away: Georgia: .909 (10-1), Auburn: .714 (10-4)
      SEC: Georgia: 1.000 (18-0), Auburn: .708 (17-7)

      Win streaks:
      Home: Georgia: 19, Auburn: 10
      SEC: Georgia: 18, Auburn: 9

      AP final ranking:
      Georgia: 1, 6, 4, Auburn: 14, 3, 14, unranked

      Bowls:
      Georgia: Sugar, Sugar, Sugar, Auburn: Tangerine, Sugar, Liberty, Cotton

      Advantage: Herschel, and Bo is nowhere near.

      6. Heisman balloting:
      Herschel:
      1980: 3rd (highest ever point total for a freshman)
      1981: 2nd
      1982: 1st (margin, 695 votes over John Elway)

      Herschel beat out such names as John Elway, Eric Dickerson, Anthony Carter, and Dan Marino.

      Bo:
      1982: not on the ballot
      1983: not on the ballot
      1984: not on the ballot
      1985: 1st (margin, 45 votes over Chuck Long, the closest vote ever)

      Bo beat out such names as Chuck Long, Robbie Bosco, Vinny Testaverde, and Allan Pinckett.

      Advantage: Herschel, and Bo doesn’t approach him.

      7. Other arguments.

      Bo was a great baseball player. So was Nolan Ryan, but no one mistook him for a football player.

      Bo had a better pro career. By what standards? Consider this:

      Bo never had over 1,000 yards. Herschel did it for two different teams.

      Bo never finished in the league’s top 10 in any statistic in any season. Herschel was in the top 10 in rushing yards twice, rushing scores 5 times, receptions twice, yards from scrimmage 4 times, and rush/receive TD’s twice.

      Bo never finished in the top 50 for any stat in his career. Herschel is in 5 categories. Herschel is the only player to have 10,000+ yards gained on offense and 5,000+ yards on kickoff returns. Herschel is one of only six players to exceed 60 TDs rushing and 20 TDs receiving.

      Bo is only one of two players with two 90+ yard rushing TDs, but Herschel is the only player in NFL history to score a 90+ yard TD rushing, receiving, and kickoff return in the same season, and he did it in his 30′s.

      In conclusion:

      The SEC has seen a lot of great players, and a lot of great running backs. None of them have been better in four years than Herschel Walker was in three, and that includes Bo Jackson. Bo had one great year. So did Charles Alexander from LSU and Kentucky’s Mo Williams, who both exceeded 1,600 yards in a season. So did Florida’s Emmitt Smith, Auburn’s Rudi Johnson, and Georgia’s Garrison Hearst, who all exceeded 1,500 yards in a season. No one, however, has had the sustained excellence that Herschel had throughout his career.
      No one comes close. Not even Bo.