Georgia was pinned down on their own 8 yard line with a minute left in the game. The hated Florida Gators had taken every thing the Bulldogs had and were clinging to a slight 21-20? lead.
The Dogs had 1 timeout left and things were looking bleak for the 2nd ranked Georgia Bulldogs.
It was 3rd down and Quarterback Buck Belue dropped back to pass into his own end zone and he was under heavy pressure by the Florida Gator pass rush.
He scrambled to his right, and headed up field. He could have easily run for a first down, but then the Bulldogs still would have to drive the ball to get in Field Goal range.
As Belue closed in on the 5 yard line, he suddenly spotted Wide Receiver Lindsay Scott at the 25 yard line. Scott was almost surrounded by Gators when he jumped slightly to haul in the pass from Belue.
Scott caught the pass and instantly cut at a slight angle towards the Bulldog sideline to avoid Gator Defensive Backs and then he just outran every Florida defender to complete the miraculous 92 yard Touchdown play.
Since this play saved the Georgia Bulldogs undefeated season and beat the hated Florida Gators it is
probably the greatest play in Georgia football history.
Even though Lindsay Scott and his great speed did most of the work on this play, it never could have happened without the alertness and scrambling ability of Buck Belue.
Herschel Walker was hands down the greatest player in Georgia history, there is no denying or arguing that point. Just don’t even debate it because he just was.
Georgia won the national title in 1980 during Herschel’s freshman season. They were 6-5 before the arrival of Herschel in 1979. They were 12-0 during Walker’s freshman season. The Bulldogs were 10-2 during Walker’s sophomore season. They lost to eventual national champion Clemson in their second game and then they lost to Pittsburgh and Dan Marino in the Sugar Bowl.
The Bulldogs posted an 11-1 record in 1982, losing only to national champion Penn State in the Sugar Bowl. So, Herschel Walker was definitely the greatest player in Bulldog history and a true difference maker like very few others.
But, I will always feel like the glue and the heart and soul of that championship team of 1980 was quarterback Buck Belue. He wasn’t talented or great as far as quarterbacks go, but he was gritty and tough and a good leader for the dogs.
The bulldogs also had that great Defensive Coordinator Erk Russell back in those days they had the Junkyard Dawgs defense, but Belue truly was the guy on this bulldog team.
Belue was 27-3 as a starter making him one of the Bulldog’s all time great Quarterbacks. He was
nowhere near as talented physically as Matthew Stafford, but he was on another level mentally and he was just plain gritty.
Buck Belue was born and raised in Titletown, USA also known as Valdosta, Georgia. Valdosta High School is the most successful High School football program in the country.
Buck Belue is the only Quarterback to start all four years at Quarterback for Valdosta High. Belue was also a standout baseball player at Valdosta and later with the Georgia Bulldogs.
Valdosta High School had Buck Belue sign with Georgia in 1978. His backup in high school, John Lastinger also signed with Georgia in 1979 and he redshirted and then became Belue’s back up again at Georgia an then he took over as the starter in 1982 and 1983.
From the following class, in 1980 John Bond signed with Mississippi State. For the Bulldogs of Mississippi State, John Bond became a Wishbone Quarterback for the coach that invented the offense, Emory Ballard. He was a 4 year starter.
When Belue arrived on the Georgia campus the starting Quarterback for the Bulldogs was Jeff Pyburn. But, Belue played some as a true freshman and by the end o the season, he came off the bench to lead the Bulldogs to a more than dramatic 29-28 come from behind victory over their hated rivals, Georgia Tech. That game made the young Buck Belue the most popular figure in Athens, Georgia.
Belue beat out Pyburn as a sophomore, but the team struggled to a 6-5 record. They lost their first 3 games again Wake Forest, Clemson and South Carolina. They recovered to go 5-1 in SEC play. But, 6-5 records won’t get it done at Georgia and legendary Vince Dooley was their coach.
In 4 seasons, Belue threw for 3,864 yards and 32 Touchdowns, a modest sum, but the game was
different back then.
He also ran for 436 yards and 10 Touchdowns.
After Georgia, Buck Belue played some minor league baseball and then played a couple of years in the United State Football League.
Now, Belue is a radio personality and hosts the Buck and Kincade show in Atlanta with John Kincade.
Ask any old time Georgia fan what they remember about Buck Belue and I am sure they will talk about ‘the play’.