Thursday, December 11, 2008

Revisiting the 2001 Music City Bowl

This is not BC's first trip to Nashville. In 2001 our beloved Eagles took on Georgia in the Music City Bowl. The memorable game marked an important point in TOB's tenure, a turning point for a few BC players and as BC's second straight bowl win, was the beginning of the "Bowl Streak."

Prior to the game
2001 was an important year for TOB. It was the first time while at BC that he fielded a team of just "his players." After taking a slight step back in 2000, 2001 showed that the program was headed in the right direction. Brian St. Pierre served as the template for which TOB would groom his QBs and William Green, TOB's first star recruit, was living up to expectations. Entering the bowl game, BC was only 7-4. But that included two losses to very good Miami and Virginia Tech teams. And in the Miami game, TOB nearly upset one of the greatest college teams of all time. No other team even came close to giving the 'Canes a game that year.

Yet there were still doubts. BC lost a winnable game at Stanford and TOB had yet to beat a ranked team.

If BC came into the game viewed as a respectable team, Georgia entered as a team on the rise and a media darling. New coach Mark Richt had overachieved with a freshman QB (David Greene) and a freshmen DE (David Pollack). The Dawgs entered the game 8-3, but lost all three games in close fashion. (The nucleus of this team would go 13-1 and win the SEC the following season).

Georgia was favored and few thought BC could keep up with the SEC speed or beat the Dawgs in a virtual road game in Nashville.

The Game
Georgia stunned BC early with an big return into BC territory. They were up 7-0 less than a minute in. They continued to move the ball on their next drive only to see BC force a fumble. Slowly but surely on the legs of William Green, BC clawed back into the game. The Eagles took a 13-10 lead into halftime. The second half was a more defensive battle. The Dawgs slowed Green and we kept their young offense off balance with different looks. The Bulldogs committed four turnovers that night. The game ultimately turned on clock management. Richt elected to punt on fourth down with 1:40 left. BC ate most of the time and left the UGA with only a few seconds to get a final score. But the D stood up and gave TOB his first win over a ranked opponent.

After the Game
Green left BC early to enter the NFL Draft. He and Marc Colombo were both taken in the first round. Although he still had a rough go against ranked teams, TOB would follow up this upset of Georgia by taking down an undefeated ND team the following season.

The most important aspect of the win was the respect it earned. BC finished 2001 ranked for the first time 1994.


Big Jack Krack said...

True story - I was sitting in a sports bar in Roswell, GA (by myself in the 2nd half - as my wife and her son ran off to do something) and I was surrounded by Bulldog fans dressed in red (sweatshirts).

Needless to say, they didn't know what to make of this lone but loud Eagle fan :-)

I loved every minute of it, and just hoped that William Green could walk at the end of the game.

BP said...

I would say this was one of the games that helped raise expectations for the entire program.

As a freshman that year, it definitely alleviated some of the pain from that Miami game.

dixieagle said...

I was at that game. NO ONE expected us to win against an SEC team and I had about the most fun I've ever had at a BC game (living in Alabama I don't get to many.)

My nerves must have been better then, as these days I can barely watch a game all the way through without having palpitations.

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