September 22, 2007: Georgia 26, Alabama 23 (OT)
(photo courtesy Athens Banner-Herald/Trevor Frey / Staff)
Mikey Henderson on a fade route might seem as unlikely a way for Georgia to win its first road game in 2007 as could be imagined – especially against a revitalized (and higher ranked!) Alabama team that had just come off of its most dramatic victory in years.
Truthfully, it never should have gotten to that point.
Georgia, which never trailed in regulation, went up by ten at the 12 minute mark in the fourth quarter and looked to be taking control of the game. The Dawgs had held the Tide offense to 200 total yards to that point. But over the next eleven minutes of play with the game on the line, Alabama would rack up 149 yards, including a ten play, 88 yard drive that allowed it to pull into a 20-20 tie with less than a minute to go.
From there, Georgia was able to move the ball from its 34 to the ‘Bama 30 in 50 seconds, handing the ball off to the usually reliable Brandon Coutu for what would be his first ever game winning FG kick. That moment would have to wait (Coutu would come through in a couple of weeks against Vanderbilt), though, as the missed 47 yard attempt sent the game into overtime.
The Georgia defense, which had been reeling in the final minutes of regulation, suddenly righted itself and didn’t allow the Tide a yard in its first OT possession. Leigh Tiffen kicked a field goal and Georgia trailed for the first time in the game.
Georgia got the ball back. And offensive coordinator Mike Bobo went for the kill.
His call: 142 Z takeoff. Stafford was to fake a handoff to the right, drawing the safety that direction. Then he’d look for his receiver deep on the left side against one-on-one coverage.
“If they stuffed the run on first down, at their end of the field, their fans are gonna go berserk,” Bobo explained. “You’ve usually got to hit one deep in a game like this.”
Georgia’s sideline coaches asked Bobo which receiver he wanted to run the route. His response: “I don’t care.” Receivers coach John Eason made an unusual call, going with Henderson — a senior who never had caught a touchdown pass, and who had dropped a deep ball earlier in the night.
From there, it went just like he drew it up:
It may not have been Mike Patrick’s signature call, but no Dawg fan will be able to think of Britney Spears in quite the same way ever again.
One other note of interest from this game: if I had to pick a name for someone whose interests included being a “dog pile historian”, Opie would be at the top of my list.
The significant stat story of the game came from Georgia’s offense. In their first road test with three freshmen on the offensive line, the Dawgs allowed zero sacks and outgained Alabama with 377 total yards of offense. The offseason battle between ‘Bama and Georgia (or between Richt and Saban, if you prefer) to obtain the services of one Stacy Searles yielded its first rewards to the winner.