Saturday, October 23, 2010

23 October 1897: Georgia Celebrates First of 60 Victories Over Georgia Tech Football Team with Shutout

On this day in 1897, Georgia Tech brought their football team to the Athens campus and lost to the University of Georgia team by a decisive score of 28-0. Three different players scored touchdowns in front of 600 fans gathered at Herty Field on North Campus. Kickoff was at 4pm, and admission to the game was 50 cents for adults, 25 cents for children.

The Athens Daily Banner proclaimed the game to be "a battle royal," noting the Tech players were "heavy and skilled" and Georgia's team "is in good shape for the fray." Georgia was coming off an undefeated (4-0) 1896 season, and had opened the schedule beating Clemson 24-0 the week before Tech came to town. It seemed a promising start to the first season for Coach Charles McCarthy, who had taken the reins from legendary coach Glenn "Pop" Warner that fall.

Though the 1897 game started slowly, luck went Georgia's way on some early plays, and they went into halftime with a 10-0 lead. The second half, however, was a rout, with Georgia steadily running through the Tech line to score 18 points. At the time, a touchdown was worth only four points, and point-after kicks were worth two.

It was the second meeting between the two teams, the first coming in 1893 when a brawl amongst the fans spilled into a fight on the field, causing the Tech players to eventually flee to their specially chartered railcars and locking the doors behind them. In the weeks following, allegations of cheating and other misbehavior filled the Athens and Atlanta newspapers, and it was thought best that the teams refrain from contests until tempers had cooled. By 1897, faculty and administration at the schools thought it would be safe for the teams to meet again.

The overall record for the game is in Georgia's favor, 60-37-5, with their biggest win so far a 51-7 victory in Sanford Stadium in 2002.

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