Ah, the Hail Mary. Basketball features the buzzer beater, and baseball owns the walk-off home run, but the Hail Mary is a different animal altogether. The play doesn’t end one lucky fan taking home a souvenir. With a football game on the line, launching a prayer into a sea of hands creates a heart-pounding ending that typically doesn’t work in the offense’s favor.
That’s why seeing two in one game, avenging a similar loss 15 years earlier, created an all-time classic SEC moment remembered as the “Dobbs Nail Boot Game.”
“Dobbs Nail Boot Game”
Historically, the Tennessee Volunteers and Georgia Bulldogs are equally-matched opponents. Despite UGA winning seven of 10 games from 2010-19, the all-time record between the SEC East division rivals only favors the Dawgs by a slim margin, 24-23-2. They’ve played every year since 1992, and there is no shortage of iconic games.
October 1, 2016 ranks among the very best.
When the third quarter ended, the 25th-ranked Bulldogs and first-year head coach Kirby Smart led 11th-ranked Tennessee, 24-14. On the Volunteers’ sideline, coach Butch Jones and senior quarterback Josh Dobbs mounted a comeback, beginning with a 16-yard touchdown reception by Alvin Kamara. With 2:56 on the clock, a sack-fumble recovery in the end zone finally put the Vols in front, 28-24.
On the next drive, UGA quarterback Jacob Eason threw a devastating interception.
Georgia forced a three-and-out, getting the football back with 1:07 on the clock; Three quick completions brought UGA into Tennessee territory with 19 seconds left. Then, Eason found Riley Ridley streaking down the sideline for, what appeared to be, the game-winning 47-yard touchdown.
Red-and-black-clad fans inside Sanford Stadium went nuts.
However, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the ensuing kickoff back 15 yards, and a solid return by Evan Berry left only 43 yards between Tennessee and the end zone.
The irony here is that, seconds before the University of Tennessee took the field, CBS replayed the famous 2001 game at Neyland Stadium in which the Bulldogs completed their comeback with a last-second touchdown pass. Nicknamed the “Hobnail Boot Game,” UGA announcer Larry Munson famously said:
“We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose.”
Enter Joshua Dobbs’ cannon and a sweet helping of “CBS just jinxed it.”
Tennessee Beats Georgia on Joshua Dobbs’ Hail Mary
Dobbs’ third touchdown pass of the afternoon miraculously found the hands of 6-foot-3 wide receiver Jauan Jennings, leaving Georgia fans in Athens speechless and the college football world stunned. Tennessee won, 34-31, moving their record to 5-0 on the season.
Justice was served, and this miraculous victory 15 years after its eerily similar counterpart was dubbed the “Dobbnail Boot Game” or “Dobbs Nail Boot Game.”