As soon as Matthew Stafford found Mikey Henderson for a 25-yard touchdown pass on the Bulldogs’ first play of overtime in Bryant-Denny Stadium, the players began forming what Richt called “the Dog Pile Maximus” on top of the 5-foot-10, 156-pound Henderson. Before it was over, tight end Tripp Chandler had suffered a twisted ankle and several other Georgia players had suffered bumps and bruises, Richt said.
And he didn’t mind one bit.
“It’s one of the few times you can every truly have a dog pile like that and not be called for excessive celebration, so they took full advantage of it,” Richt said.
The victory moved Georgia (3-1, 1-1 SEC) into 15th in the Associated Press poll, the highest ranking for any of the nation’s one-loss team, and stopped a stretch in which the Bulldogs had lost five of seven SEC games. Henderson’s game-winning grab deserves equal footing with David Pollack’s and Michael Johnson’s touchdowns against South Carolina and Auburn in 2002, Richt said.
“Those plays kind of sent us to the championship,” he said. “I don’t know if this will have that type of result over the long term, but when you just take it as one memory, it’s right up there with all the others.”
It was Henderson’s first career receiving touchdown
“It makes me feel good,” he said. “It seemed like a lot of plays slipped out of our hands at South Carolina. There were a lot of plays we just wanted to make and we just didn’t. So we came in here this week and we wanted to take it one play at a time. If we play each play as hard as we can and we keep stringing those together, then something good is going to happen.”
Richt, who improved to 23-3 on the road, wasn’t willing Sunday to call the game a turning point for his team.
“It just means we’re back in the race,” he said. “It means we have to win next week.”
That would be against Ole Miss. The Rebels (1-3, 0-2) took Florida down to the wire before losing 30-24 in a game Richt watched in his Alabama hotel room Saturday afternoon.
“I watched just about every snap,” he said. “I was kind of getting sick to my stomach watching it because they really looked good.”
The Bulldogs haven’t lost to Ole Miss since 1996, and Richt is hoping his team doesn’t get too full of itself after its emotional win in Alabama.
“We felt good about the Oklahoma State game, and you saw what happened there,” he said.
“Hopefully, that’ll be a good lesson for us.”