Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield took home the Heisman Trophy Saturday, crowning him as the best player in college football for the 2017 season. Mayfield’s coronation sets up a rare occasion for Georgia when it faces him Jan. 1, 2018, in the Rose Bowl.
Since 1966, Georgia has faced nine Heisman winners in the same season they won the trophy.
So how has Georgia fared against Heisman winners over the last half-century? Here’s the rundown on the nine times Georgia faced men who struck the pose.
Steve Spurrier, Florida, 1966 — This was the game that fueled decades-long animosity by Spurrier toward Georgia. The Gators went 9-2 and lost the SEC that season thanks to a 27-10 defeat at the hands of Georgia. The Bulldogs stayed in Spurrier’s face all game and held him to just 133 yards through the air while completing 55 percent of his passes.
Pat Sullivan, Auburn, 1971 — Auburn improved to 9-0 with a 35-20 win over UGA in Athens, thanks in no small part to Sullivan. The Auburn QB completed 14-of-24 passes for 248 yards and 4 touchdowns. But that would be the high point for this Tigers team, which lost to Alabama and Oklahoma in the final two games of the season to finish 9-2.
Tony Dorsett, Pittsburgh, 1976 — This is the only time Georgia faced the Heisman winner after he was crowned. Georgia faced Pittsburgh and Dorsett, the 1976 Heisman winner, in the 1977 Sugar Bowl. Dorsett ran for 202 yards and a touchdown as Pittsburgh won 27-3 and claimed the national title.
George Rogers, South Carolina, 1980 — The 13-10 Georgia win at Sanford is arguably the greatest running back duel in college football history, pitting South Carolina’s eventual Heisman winner, Rogers, vs. Georgia’s, Herschel Walker. Walker was the better of the two on the day, rushing for 219 yards compared to 168 from Rogers. And while Rogers won the Heisman in 1980, Georgia won the national title.
Bo Jackson, Auburn, 1985 — Auburn didn’t have a great year in 1985, going just 8-4 and finishing sixth in the SEC. But one of those wins was a 24-10 victory over Georgia at Sanford Stadium. Jackson ran the ball 19 times for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns. He finished his time at Auburn with 377 career yards against Georgia.
Danny Wuerffel, Florida, 1996 — Georgia suffered a 47-7 drubbing by Florida in the annual trip to Jacksonville. Wuerffel passed for 279 yards and 4 touchdowns, giving his Heisman campaign a boost heading into the final stretch of the season. The Gators went on to win the national title.
Tim Tebow, Florida, 2007 — The next time Georgia faced a Heisman winner, it was a much happier time in Jacksonville. This win included the infamous “Gator Stomp,” which Georgia won 42-30. Tebow went on to claim the Heisman, but he didn’t have enough to will the Gators to victory that day, passing for 236 and a touchdown while rushing 13 times for minus-15 yards.
Cam Newton Auburn, 2010 — Georgia lost 49-31 to eventual national champion Auburn. Newton was exceptional in his lone game against Georgia, passing for 148 yards, rushing for 151 yards and combining for 4 total touchdowns.
Derrick Henry, Alabama, 2015 — There’s an argument to be made that Georgia is in the College Football Playoff right now because of this loss to Bama. It was the game that most soured Georgia fans on Mark Richt, leading to his firing at the end of the season and the hiring of Kirby Smart. But at the time, Smart was with Henry, laying a beatdown on Georgia on a rainy day at Sanford Stadium. Henry rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown in the 38-10 win over the Bulldogs.
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