Top Offensive Rushing Team in SEC History
When the 1980 season opened for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, it was expected that attendance at their opener against Tennessee would be record setting. The sea of over 95,000 orange and white fans in Neyland Stadium made it the largest gathering of people to ever watch a college football game in the South.
What they all remember is a relatively unknown freshman who scored his first touchdown run. Though they were trailing 15-2 near the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs pulled off a 16-15 victory.
The relatively unknown player was Herschel Walker; the coach was Vince Dooley; and the season was about to go down in history. This would become the best offensive rushing team in Southestern Conference (SEC) history. The Bulldogs went on to win the next 11 games, clenching the SEC Championship, and the only undisputed football National Championship in school history.
Georgia's one point victory over Tennessee was the narrowest victory margin of the year for the Bulldogs. In fact, many of the games to come ended in scores that would make any opponent want to cry.
In game two, Georgia defeated Texas A&M 42-0. The game began with a 28-0 lead at halftime. Herschel Walker's 76-yard run in the fourth quarter boosted the Bulldogs to their final score.
Georgia's obliteration of Texas Christian in Game 4 came despite the Bulldogs' newest star sustaining a sprained ankle in the first quarter. A freshman by the name of Barry Young took up where Walker left off after being sidelined and gained 86 yards, running the ball on 19 carries. The Bulldogs scored 34 points to TCU's 3.
However, the October 11th game against Ole Miss proved that there were plenty of other strong players on the team. Walker spent the game on the bench and Georgia took home a 28-21 win. Carnie Norris led the team this time with 150 yards rushing. A 27-yard field goal gets the Bulldogs started, and a touchdown by QB Buck Belue in the last quarter drove the game home.
Georgia led up to their October 18th game against Vanderbilt with worry about their beloved coach weighing heavily. Vince Dooley was in a severe car accident that that threatened to remove him from the sidelines for the upcoming game. However, after a concussion and 11 stitches on his face, Dooley never spent a night in the hospital. He arrived at the game ready to take on Vanderbilt, and led his Bulldogs to a 41-0 blowout.
Games 9, 10 and 11 saw Georgia take out Florida, Auburn, and Georgia Tech. The school's final record for the regular season was 11-0 and they were off to the Sugar Bowl to play for the National Championship.
The Sugar Bowl mirrored their earlier season as Georgia clenched the championship 12-10. The win did not come easily as Herschel Walker sustained another injury when he dislocated his shoulder during his second carry of the game.
In what was possibly the greatest display of strength and dependability, Herschel returned later in the game after a hoard of doctors swarm him and pop the offending shoulder back in.
Walker flies through the next two plays to take the Bulldogs to their first lead of the game. At 10-3, Notre Dame eventually catches up with Georgia to tie the game. In one amazing play during the last 30 seconds of the game, Belue manages one last touchdown pulling them to a 17-10 National Championship victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The University of Georgia Bulldogs continued victoriously for their next two seasons as they brought home SEC Championships in 1981 and 1982. Anyone who played for the Bulldogs in the 1980's has a lot to be proud of, but the 1980 National Championship team was the only Bulldog team to go undefeated and win the National Championship. In fact, they were the only undefeated football team in NCAA Div. I play that season.
Based on their undefeated, championship record and tremendous running game (led by the incomparable Herschel Walker), we pick the 1980 Georgia Bulldogs as the All-Time Top Offensive Rushing Team in SEC History.
You can vote for the '80 Bulldogs as the best team in SEC history at Top All-Time SEC Football Team Survey.
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