Nearly 40 years have passed since the University of Georgia Bulldogs have won a national championship in football. Rival SEC teams, like the Florida Gators, have made sure to remind the ‘Dawgs of that fact, even if UGA went to the College Football Playoff in 2017.
Long gone are the days of legendary running back Herschel Walker, who took a dapper Uga to New York for the Heisman Trophy Award banquet when he won the award in 1982. Two years before that, Walker and the Bulldogs pieced together an incredible undefeated season to win the 1980 national title.
In the same way that Alabama fans remember “The Strip”, Georgia fans can pinpoint the most important play from that 1980 season. In fact, it’s one of the most memorable single plays in school history.
Three words: Run, Lindsay, Run!
The Famous Play
It’s 1980. Vince Dooley’s Bulldogs are undefeated heading into a critical annual rivalry game against the University of Florida Gators in Jacksonville, otherwise known as the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” UGA had won each of the last two matchups against UF.
Georgia narrowly escaped earlier games with wins against Tennessee, Clemson, Ole Miss, and South Carolina. They pounded the rest of their opponents, including Texas A&M, Texas Christian, Vanderbilt, and Kentucky.
Charley Pell’s Gators didn’t have a ton of star power that season. Dooley, meanwhile, had Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker at his disposal. But on Nov. 8, 1980, Walker did’t play hero. Wide receiver Lindsay Scott did.
With 1:35 left in the fourth quarter, Georgia trailed 21-20 and had the ball at their own 8-yard line with just one timeout. Walker was stuffed for a loss of a yard and an incompletion left UGA facing third-and-11.
Dooley recalls seeing some Florida players celebrating prematurely.
“I remember seeing a cornerback that was turning over to our bench and making some gestures.”
A first down was a must, because the Dawgs likely weren’t going to go for it on fourth down.
Quarterback Buck Belue received a key block from guard Nat Hudson and rolled out of the pocket to the right on a play-action pass. He pointed at Scott over the middle of the field and fired a strike to him while on the run. Scott hauled in the pass at the 25-yard line. Phew, first down.
Scott didn’t settle for just a first down, though. The 1982 first-round NFL draft pick dug his foot in the ground and cut up field. He blazed past everyone else down the sideline and eventually into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
The Famous Call
Longtime Georgia Bulldogs broadcaster Larry Munson belted one his all-time great calls:
Florida in a stand-up five, they may or may not blitz, they won’t… Buck back, third down on the eight. In trouble! Got a block behind him… Gonna throw on the run—complete on the 25. To the 30, Lindsay Scott 35, 40, Lindsay Scott 45, 50, 45, 40—Run, Lindsay!–25, 20, 15, 10, 5, Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott! Lindsay Scott!!
Dooley, along with pretty much every other Bulldog on the bench, sprinted along the sideline behind Scott. It was pure euphoric mayhem. The Gator Bowl was absolutely rocking. As Belue said, “it just felt like the ground was shaking.”
Georgia won the game, 26-21, and kept its hopes alive for a national championship, which it went on to win by defeating Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
Scott was a born-and-raised Georgia kid. He attended Wayne County High School in Jesup, Georgia, some four hours south of Athens. Drafted 13th overall in 1982 by the New Orleans Saints, Scott’s NFL career lasted just a few years.
Lindsay Scott’s miraculous 93-yard touchdown, dubbed. “Run Lindsay Run!” in the college football history books, not only helped Georgia beat its biggest rival but paved the way for its last national championship.
I’d say that makes it the school’s most important and iconic play of all time.