Georgia-Georgia Tech 2003: the birth of a legend

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know about this game, courtesy of the official Georgia Tech website:

A.J. Suggs saw his first action of the 2003 season. Before he entered the game on Tech’s final possession of the first half, Reggie Ball had taken every snap this season – a total of 785 offensive plays.

Yep, Chan Gailey hitched his wagon with a vengeance to the kid who would become the central figure for Georgia Tech in the next four years of the series, much to the chagrin of Jacket fans and much to the delight of Dawg fans.  In 2003, Ball’s erratic play combined with his edgy on the field persona led Tech to yet another seven-win season, something Gailey’s teams specialized in.

The capper in this game was Ball’s departure before the end of the first half, which occurred immediately (and suspiciously) after a notable personal foul called against him for shoving a Georgia trainer on the sidelines.  Why suspicious?  In the words of the Red and Black,

Worst vague injury report: Reggie Ball’s. Ball left the game after the personal foul shove and didn’t return. Georgia Tech said he had a “possible concussion,” but the freshman was jumping around on benches and yelling at the start of the second half. So it must have been pretty bad.

In the wake of Ball’s behavior, it’s easy to forget how much was on the line for Georgia in this game.  Because there was a three way tie in the SEC East going into the match, the team ranked highest in the BCS standings would be selected by a vote of the conference ADs to advance to the SECCG.  It was the kind of situation that Tech fans dream of and blather about – the chance to knock out the Dawgs’ postseason hopes.  Instead, this one was over by halftime, as Georgia marched out to a 20-3 lead and never looked back.

If there were any concern that Georgia entered the game feeling tight, that was erased early on with this play:

Larry was so impressed he did a mashup of Greene’s and Gibson’s names.

The second score was set up by the special teams.

By the way, catch the officiating crew.  Recognize anybody?  It’s a wonder Ball made it almost to the half.   ESPN did note that

… Speaking of ugly, the state rivals showed plenty of animosity for each other. Georgia was penalized five times for late hits and unsportsmanlike conduct, while Georgia Tech was flagged three times — including a penalty against Ball for shoving a Georgia trainer after being pushed out of bounds near the Bulldogs’ bench.

The officials finally called Greene and Georgia Tech linebacker Keyaron Fox to midfield, hoping to calm things down.

“There was a lot of talking,” Georgia fullback Jeremy Thomas said. “When everyone knows each other, you’ve always got something to say.

The teams traded scores in the second half, but by then Tech was not a threat.  The box score was not as lopsided in Georgia’s favor as that of the prior year’s, but then, neither was the game:

Team Statistics Georgia Georgia Tech
First downs 16 20
Rushes-Yards 38 – 106 41 – 146
Passing yards 235 255
Sacked-Yards lost 2 – 12 3 – 19
Return yards 49 11
Passes 16 – 22 – 0 21 – 38 – 3
Punts-Average 5 – 33.2 3 – 19.3
Fumbles-Lost 2 – 1 2 – 1
Penalties-Yards 11 – 113 6 – 65
Time of Possession 27:40 32:20

Georgia still managed to wind up with 400 yards of offense and a +3 turnover margin. That would more than suffice.

The Dawgs went on to the SECCG and Reggie Ball went on to be… well, Reggie Ball. The game marked the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

14 responses to “Georgia-Georgia Tech 2003: the birth of a legend

  1. 11-3 with that ’03 offensive line. Smoke and mirrors if there ever was.

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  2. Reggie Ball = Greatest player in Georgia history that didn’t wear the red & black. Man, I miss him. Although I don’t know why we’re talking about this game so much. Dog, it’s just another game.

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  3. The 2008 Dawgs called. They said “Five unsportsmanlike penalties? What a joke.”

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  4. Nick Marshall

    David Greene sold that play-fake like nothing I’ve ever seen. He needs to take a break from backing up the Seahawk’s backup and come coach up Staff on that one.

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  5. Ally

    NO ONE has ever pulled off the fake like Greenie did. He was outstanding & fun to watch on those plays.

    But Nick, fyi David was with the Seahawks 3 teams ago. LOL. He’s since been in Arizona and Indianapolis. As a matter of fact he was just released by the Colts yesterday. And don’t hold your breath about seeing him on staff in Athens.

    +1 Travis. Nice.

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  6. This was the game where Tech fans threw drinks at the Redcoats as they marched off the field. Classy effort all around by the Wreck.

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  7. Ally

    This game is exactly why I’ll never buy the fact that CMR doesn’t believe in style points. He knew damn well what style points meant for UGA in this game.

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  8. Ally

    And anybody else think its weird to see Lump wearing #28? I’d totally forgotten about that.

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  9. Robert

    Travis: So true…sad, but so true.

    Ally: Don’t forget about the stops Greene made in New England and Kansas City.

    Damn good Dawg though.

    EIAR, B! To HELL with georgia tech! GATA!

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  10. Ally

    You’re right, he’s been on a world tour since the Seahawks.

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  11. Robert

    Is it just me? Or do Tech’s uni’s look more like puke than gold this year?

    Maybe gold/puke? Yuck.

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  12. Nick Marshall

    Heh. This tells ya how much attention I pay to the NFL. I stand corrected. Sad that Greene’s pro career hasn’t flourished though, my admiration for him when he was at UGA had no bounds.

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  13. aladawgy

    Hey, Is that Penn Wagers?

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