When Alabama Football lost a heart-breaker to Georgia

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Going back to the start of the Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant, Alabama Football era, the Georgia Bulldogs have not had much success against the Crimson Tide. The Dawgs won four times from 1958 through 1995, compared to 13 wins for the Crimson Tide.

Georgia won three straight from the Tide in the 2002, 2003 and 2007 seasons. The last of those wins was an overtime win in Tuscaloosa over Nick Saban’s first Alabama team. It was Mark Richt’s third and last win over the Crimson Tide in a Georgia career that ended after the 2015 season.

The recent, version of the Tide vs. Dawgs history is seven straight Crimson Tide wins, going back to the 2008 season. The series has more highlights, including a National Championship win. And for followers of Alabama Crimson Tide history, a long-ago, but lasting lowlight.

It came in the opening game of the 1965 season. Despite an Orange Bowl loss to Texas in Jan. 1965 (with a controversial call negating a winning Tide touchdown), the 10-1, 1964 Alabama football team shared a National Championship with Arkansas and Notre Dame.

1965 Alabama Football season-opener

The 1965 season opened against Georgia in Athens. Crimson Tide players were still steamed because Joe Namath’s Orange Bowl, late-game quarterback sneak was ruled short of the goal line. Namath swore afterward that he scored. Texas middle linebacker, All-American Tommy Nobis, who was the primary tackler, admitted he thought Namath made the endzone.

Steve Sloan had taken over for Namath who had moved on to the Big Apple and the New York Jets. The underdog Bulldogs won the game 18-17. Vince Dooley and his players should be acknowledged for the two-point conversion that gave them the win. The problem is the play that gave them the touchdown should have been blown dead, more than sixty yards from the endzone.

Georgia fans see it differently, but the eyes of Alabama fans clearly saw a Georgia receiver catching a pass with both his knees on the ground. It was a good completion, but the lateral that immediately followed came after the receiver should have been called down. That call was not made and forever in Georgia football history, the ‘flea-flicker’ will be part of Bulldogs’ lore.

See the proof below, in a photo published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the next day.

A bad call, from many decades ago, no longer matters to anyone but a few Alabama Football old-timers. But the outcome was one of the Crimson Tide’s bitterest losses and conversely, one of Georgia’s biggest wins.

More of the Alabama vs. Georgia football history is available here. A listing of all 71 games in the series is available here.

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More history will be made Monday night. One group of fans will be celebrating late into a cold Indiana night.