When you think of iconic moments in college football history, so many come to mind. It could be the play that stunned the opposing team. Perhaps it’s the celebration that followed. Maybe it’s the play-by-play call that still gives you chills every single time you hear it. For fans of the University of Georgia Bulldogs, there’s one specific highlight that meets all of that criteria and helped trigger a dominant run for two decades.
Back in 2001, after UGA controversially fired Jim Donnan, a new era was underway. The Bulldogs were led by first-year head coach Mark Richt with the hopes of bringing the famous SEC program back to national prominence. A 2-1 start with home games in Athens was solid, but the first road game of the season changed everything.
A last-second touchdown pass from quarterback David Greene to running back Verron Haynes stunned the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, and legendary announcer Larry Munson delivered arguably his most famous call ever and one of the greatest of all time.
The Hobnail Boot Game
Heading into that Saturday showdown, Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer had won the previous 10 meetings against Georgia, and the Bulldogs hadn’t won in Knoxville since 1980, according to ESPN. Add that to Mark Richt coaching his first-ever SEC road game, and it’s safe to say UGA were the underdogs on CBS that day.
It was a hard-fought game, but the chances to win looked rather bleak when UT’s Travis Stephens took a screen pass 62 yards to the end zone, giving the Vols a 24-20 lead with 44 seconds left.
In miraculous fashion, Greene led the Dawgs back down the field. With seconds left, on a play called P-44 Haynes, the signal caller faked a handoff on the inside, pulled back, and found Haynes for the game-winning touchdown. The amazing Georgia football comeback was complete, and it jumpstarted decades of success for the program.
Larry Munson’s Famous Call
“Touchdown! My God, a touchdown! We threw it to Haynes! We just stuffed them with five seconds left! My God Almighty, did you see what he did? David Greene just straightened up and we snuck the fullback over! … We just stepped on their face with a hobnailed boot and broke their nose! We just crushed their face!”Advertisement
At the time, as the story goes, Munson didn’t even know what a hobnail boot was. He quickly found out the next day and wrote about it in his autobiography From Herschel to a Hobnail Boot: The Life and Times of Larry Munson, which was co-written by Tony Barnhart.
“I think I was thinking about those German army boots and how those guys would walk in unison down the street after they had conquered somebody. Maybe I was thinking about jackboots and the hobnailed thing just came out,” he said, via ESPN. “I didn’t know what it was until the next day, Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called me. He said that hobnailed boots had been used forever in the lumber industry up in North Carolina, where he is from.”
Georgia fans know all about the late Larry Munson, who passed away in 2011. He was an NCAA legend and did play-by-play for Georgia football games for over 40 years, including throughout Herschel Walker’s amazing NCAA career.
The “Hobnail Boot Game” is one of his best and will live on forever.
This post was originally published on April 29, 2020.