Looking back now, it’s easy to see how important that game was to Georgia’s program. Since that day Georgia is 44-9, has won two division titles, one SEC title and has finished in the top ten three times. It was a program-establishing win.
“Things changed after that win,” said senior Greg Blue. A redshirt freshman, Blue didn’t make the trip to Knoxville that weekend. “It took the lid off our program. We were just beginning to do things and to beat Tennessee – they were killing us for a lot of years. Beating them that game really changed our program.”
Many remember Larry Munson’s hobnail boot call describing the game-winning play when David Greene hit Verron Haynes in the end zone, but none of the players on Georgia’s present squad had any significant role in that game. In fact, only a handful were even in the program.
“I’ve seen so many highlights and pictures from that game that it seems like I was here when it happened,” said linebacker Tony Taylor. “You almost feel like you were a part of it.”
One person that was in Knoxville that day said the win over the Vols was important in establishing player’s faith in the new coaching staff.
“That game was huge for us,” said Mark Richt. “It was big for a lot of reasons. Number one, the players are always wondering about the new staff. ‘Are we really buying into this group?’ some must have wondered.’”
“I think that game was also important because it established David Greene as a guy that could win a big game,” added Richt. “Quarterbacks need defining moments in their careers where everyone believes in them. That game did that for David.”