Georgia vs. Arkansas: Remembering 1969 Sugar Bowl, Lewis Grizzard pig jokes
Georgia has a big game at noon Saturday against No. 8 Arkansas, yet the first clash between these two schools was even bigger.
The January 1969 Sugar Bowl matched the 4th-ranked 8-0-2 Bulldogs against the 9th-ranked 10-1 Razorbacks.
Georgia was coached by Vince Dooley. Their roster included these stars:
- Bill Stanfill — defensive tackle, future NFL Hall of Famer
- Jake Scott — defensive back, future NFL Hall of Famer
- Billy Payne — defensive line, head of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Committee & Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club
- Robert “Happy” Dicks — linebacker, future Neurologist and subject of a rather famous Georgia vs South Carolina headline
- Tommy Lyons — offensive line, concert pianist who completed med school and became an Ob/Gyn while playing for the Denver Broncos
- Steve Greer — defensive line, pound for pound the best athlete Vince Dooley ever coached, and future collegiate assistant coach
- Mike Cavan — quarterback, future collegiate assistant and head coach
- Charley Whittemore — tight end, Georgia’s first dedicated receiver, future collegiate assistant coach
- Ronnie Huggins – linebacker and Lewis Grizzard’s Sigma Pi fraternity brother
All of these Dawgs were friends of Lewis Grizzard, then the 23-year-old Executive Sports Editor of the Atlanta Journal.
Grizzard joked that all a UGA student had to do to get a degree was drive down Lumpkin Street with their window open. Someone would throw a diploma. Not true with this squad.
Arkansas was coached by Frank Broyles. Their roster included these stars, today not such recognizable household names in Georgia:
- Bill Montgomery — quarterback, member of the Arkansas All-Century Team
- Bill Burnett — running back, totalled 46 UA career touchdowns
- Chuck Dicus — sophomore receiver and future San Diego Charger
- Dick Bumpus — defensive line, All-American and future collegiate assistant coach
- Lynn Garner — defensive line, leading tackler for several years
- Jim Barnes — offensive line, All-American
Georgia had hoped for an Orange Bowl bid but accepted an invitation to Tulane Stadium while the Orange Bowl awaited the outcome of the Georgia-Auburn game.
Frank Broyles liked being a 7-point underdog. The otherwise suspect Arkansas defense had created a lot of turnovers throughout the season.
Razorback takeaways continued that day. The Bulldogs lost the ball 4 times with 3 fumbles and an interception on their first 6 possessions.
With Georgia trailing 10-2 to open the third quarter, they put a drive together and threatened to score from the 3-yard line. Arkansas defenders stripped the ball again for a touchback.
About that time, Dooley wished he was at his first college football game, in 1947 as a teenager sitting outside the stadium because he could not afford a ticket.
Broyles planned that the key matchup of the day would be Chuck Dicus vs Georgia’s Jake Scott, known for turnovers himself. They would move Dicus around to isolate him 1-on-1 vs. Scott. It worked the one time it needed to. Dicus got behind Scott like few others could do for a TD reception.
Arkansas upset a turnover-prone Georgia 16-2.
Some faulted Dooley for taking his team to New Orleans too early, as Arkansas appeared fresher having arrived 2 days later.
Charley Whittemore confided to this writer what he has confided to many since 1969. To paraphrase, “Coach Dooley did let us enjoy our first two days in the French Quarter, but then it was all business and strict curfew. Yet there were guys on that team who got overserved on nights before games even if we were in Starkville. They performed well as expected each game, so fans never knew.”
However, after that Sugar Bowl, one player confessed to his team.
The late, great Jake Scott apologized. To paraphrase, “Everytime I turned around I saw seven footballs coming my way. I always caught one. I just never caught the right one.”
This game was the first many Georgia fans got to see on national television, including this writer, who was 12 at the time.
In 1976 Arkansas beat Georgia again 31-10 in the Cotton Bowl. Georgia reversed the trend to win 9 out of the next 10 matchups. In 15 games, the Bulldogs are 11-4 vs the Razorbacks.
Grizzard is almost certain to have covered this game for the Atlanta Journal, as he rarely passed up a trip to New Orleans. If he wrote about it, no one has been able to find what he wrote.
Perhaps it was a short, “Frankly, I don’t want to talk about it.” Followed by two inches of blank newspaper. Wait, that followed years later after a crushing loss to Georgia Tech.
Yet Lewis would no doubt comment that these 2021 Hawgs are stout, as are his beloved Dawgs.
Razorbacks the porcine animals probably also have stout heart valves that Lewis might have coveted in life. He famously had his life extended by receiving two pig heart valves to replace the defective one he was born with. About those he wrote:
“I can not pass a BBQ joint without my eyes starting to water.”
“Every time I pass a pig farm I want to make love in the mud.”
Lewis would also like former Damn Good Dawg Sam Pittman. Who can not like that guy? Lewis from Heaven and likely the whole Dawg Nation hopes Arkansas wins out in 2021. Woo pig sooie!!!
But only after they lose to Georgia.