Every Georgia Bulldogs fan knows there are two things you don’t touch if you’re an opposing player or fan. The first is UGA’s sacred hedges at Sanford Stadium, which South Carolina damaged and disrespected after beating the Bulldogs in Athens in 2019.
The second is Uga the Bulldog. The University of Georgia live mascot is a treasure and, in my opinion, should be the official animal of the Peach State. He sits cozily in his dog house on game days and is treated like the king he is. PETA has asked him to retire (in your dreams, PETA). The cute canine has even scuffled with the 1,800-pound Texas Longhorns mascot, Bevo.
Uga has shown Bulldog fans throughout the years that he bleeds red and black every time he trots onto the field. No instance exemplifies that more than what he did during the 1996 Georgia-Auburn game, when he nearly made an Auburn player actually bleed.
Uga Tries Biting Auburn Player In ’96
The 1996 installment of the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry was truly one of the greatest games in SEC and college football history.
Georgia won the game in four overtimes, 56-49, marking the first-ever SEC overtime game. What made this upset a classic was that no one gave UGA a chance. Under head coach Jim Donnan, the Bulldogs were 3-5 coming in to the game against the 20th-ranked Auburn Tigers. By halftime, Auburn led 28-7. Georgia quarterback Mike Bobo threw for 360 yards and Hines Ward posted 175 receiving yards in the epic comeback.
But the lasting image from that game will always be Uga V snapping at Auburn wide receiver Robert Baker.
When Baker hauled in a touchdown along the sideline in the first quarter, he began to walk toward the beloved Georgia mascot, who was hanging out with handler Charles Seiler. Uga was having none of it. He lunged at him, showing he fears absolutely no one.
“[Baker] kind of made a beeline for Uga, who had his back turned to him originally,” Seiler told The Red and Black. “It was a big, loud noise since he scored. It startled him…. If Uga hadn’t landed, he would have grabbed Baker right in the crotch, and that would have been a painful thing. But he ran out of rope.”
Uga may have been a bad dog for what he did, but he proved he’s a Damn Good ‘Dawg.
A 30-year-old Patricia Miklik Doyle, who was working for the Montgomery Advertiser, took an iconic picture of the event. It’s likely been seen by every Georgia Bulldog fan since. According to The Red and Black, Sonny Seiler asked her for copies of the photo. In return, he sent her Uga’s paw print pressed in white paint.
As for the receiver, Robert Baker, he played in the NFL before becoming known as Robert “The License Plate Maker” Baker. He was sentenced to six years and three months in prison in 2013 for federal heroin trafficking and firearms charges.
Uga’s had many great moments that are entrenched in Georgia football lore, like when he attended the 1982 Heisman Trophy ceremony alongside Herschel Walker. But I’m not sure that compares to the time he snapped at an Auburn player.
This post was originally published on May 22, 2020, but has been brought back before the Georgia-Auburn game.