Perhaps Michael Johnson's game-winning catch against Auburn
would appear to be a slam-dunk at No. 1. In addition to the athletic skills
needed by Johnson to catch the ball over a defensive back, and in addition to
the fact the play came on a fourth-and-15 from the Auburn 19 in the final two
minutes, the play clinched the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division title.
But for sheer athleticism, David Pollack's interception for a
touchdown at South Carolina is difficult to top. The common response after the
South Carolina game was that no one had ever seen a play to compare with what at
first looked like a possible sack and fumble recovery. Because South Carolina
quarterback Corey Jenkins' arm was moving forward when he was stripped of the
ball by Pollack in the end zone, the call was an interception for a touchdown.
If the situation in the game is not factored in, then the
catch of the year has to go to Terrence Edwards for his acrobatic grab against
Georgia Tech last week. Georgia already led 17-0 when Edwards prevented an
interception on an underthrown ball by quarterback David Greene by sticking his
arm in front of Tech safety Jeremy Muyres to deflect the ball. As he was
falling, Edwards caught the deflection for a 31-yard gain. Adding to the
significance of the catch was the fact Edwards was returning from a separated
shoulder injury and had been the topic of a wave of support from Georgia fans
after his key drop in the loss to Florida.
Arguments could be made for other big plays, but here is one
top 10 list:
1. Johnson's catch; Nov. 16; at Auburn. Georgia trailed Auburn
the whole game before Johnson, starting for the injured Edwards, jumped over
defensive back Horace Willis to catch a 19-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-down
play with 1:25 left in the game. The catch gave Georgia a 24-21 win, the SEC
East division title, and Johnson earned SEC Player of the Week honors.
2. Pollack's interception for a touchdown; Sept. 14; at South
Carolina. Pollack scored Georgia's only touchdown in a 13-7 win when,
pass-rushing from his defensive end position, he stripped the ball from Jenkins
as the South Carolina quarterback was attempting to pass out of the end zone.
Pollack grabbed the ball and fell in the end zone as the official signaled the
Georgia touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
3. Georgia's fourth-down stop against Gamecocks; Sept. 14; at
South Carolina. With 20 seconds left, South Carolina had a fourth-and-1 play
from the Georgia 2 when Jenkins was hit by Pollack as the quarterback was
pitching the ball to Andrew Pinnock, who fumbled. Georgia's Thomas Davis
recovered at the 2 to preserve the win.
4. Fourth-and-1 gamble; Aug. 31; vs. Clemson. With 40 seconds
left, Coach Mark Richt gambled by going for the first down on a fourth-and-1
call from the Georgia 39 instead of punting to Clemson. Musa Smith picked up the
yard to clinch the 31-28 win.
5. Fourth-and-2 gamble; Oct. 12; vs. Tennessee. With 1:43 left
and Georgia leading 18-13, Richt faced another tough call on a fourth-and-2 at
the Tennessee 35. Instead of punt, Richt called for a toss sweep, and Tony
Milton picked up 25 yards to the 10, and from there Georgia ran out the clock.
6. Edwards drops the ball; Nov. 2; vs. Florida in
Jacksonville. With about two minutes left to play, Edwards was wide open when he
dropped a pass near the Florida 35. A favored Georgia team lost 20-13, as it was
0-for-13 on third-down conversions.
7. Musa Smith keeps drive alive; Nov. 9; vs. Mississippi.
Making an impressive offensive statement, Georgia held the ball the final 10:46
in a 31-17 win over Ole Miss. Along the way, Smith gained six yards on a
fourth-and-4 run from the Ole Miss 33 and ran for two yards on a fourth-and-1
from the Rebels' 5. Smith had 37 carries for 148 yards, including 12 carries in
the game-ending, 19-play drive.
8. Billy Bennett kicks game-winner; Oct. 5; at Alabama. While
Georgia proved it was "man enough'' by winning the battles at the line of
scrimmage, it was a 32-yard field goal by Bennett with 38 seconds left to play
that gave the Bulldogs the 27-25 win - Georgia's first in Tuscaloosa.
9. Edwards makes acrobatic catch; Nov. 30; vs. Georgia Tech.
Returning from a separated shoulder, Edwards prevented an interception by Muyres
on an underthrown pass when he deflected the ball and then caught the deflection
for a gain of 31 yards. The second-quarter catch allowed Georgia to retain the
momentum in the 51-7 win.
10. Fred Gibson sets the tone; Aug. 31; vs. Clemson. The first
time he touched the ball this season, Gibson returned a kickoff 91 yards for a
touchdown. It was the first touchdown return on a kickoff for Georgia since
Other players worthy of honorable mention: Tim Jennings'
44-yard interception return for a touchdown against Ole Miss; Sean Jones' two
interceptions returned for 58 yards and one fumble returned for 11 yards - all
in the first quarter at Auburn; and Boss Bailey's blocked field goals against
Tennessee, Ole Miss and Georgia Tech.
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