After the game, I commented to my friends that it’s rather stunning to me recounting the steady stream of heartbreaking endings I’ve witnessed over the past few seasons: the 2012 SECCG, Auburn 2013, Georgia Tech 2014 and, of course, last night’s gut wrencher.
I know some of you find the games when Georgia simply failed to show up as being the most unforgivable of sins, but it’s these snatching defeat from the jaws of victory that bug me the most. (I’m still not over being five yards away from a chance to see Georgia play for a national title.)
I do think losses like these are as much about fate as they are about a team’s resiliency. Think about what it took for Tennessee to even be in position to throw a Hail Mary: Georgia being flagged for excessive celebration for a player forgetting to put his helmet on before stepped on the field after the most exciting play of the last two seasons and an offsides penalty on the ensuing kickoff. Dobbs needed every inch of those twenty penalty yards to be able to make a well-placed throw to the end zone on the last play of the game.
Tennessee fans who think that play was payback for the Hobnail Boot game in 2001 miss the real analogue to last night, Georgia’s comeback overtime win in Knoxville in 2013. Had Pig Howard held on to that ball just a little bit longer — or not tried to stretch his way into the end zone in the first place — Tennessee likely winds up scoring in overtime and the game proceeds in a drastically different way. Such is the way kicks in the nuts happen.
As I said yesterday, sometimes it’s just the other guy’s year and you can only tip your cap to that. It doesn’t mean you don’t hurt just as much, though.