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Countdown to Kickoff: 67 Days

The Dawgs had no answer for James Brooks in 1979.

James Brooks & Joe Cribbs
Auburn University Digital Library /

I like beating Georgia. I especially like beating Georgia AND ruining their chances at winning a championship. In 1978, Auburn didn’t beat UGA but they did enough to ruin their shot at an SEC title and the Sugar Bowl playing to a 22-22 tie. There would be no tie in 1979, just a straight butt whooping.

1979 was an odd year for the Dawgs. They had an ominous start to the season losing their first 3 games before going on a tear through SEC play. They entered the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry with a 5-4 record but were 5-0 in conference. A win and they would capture at least a share of the SEC title. But there would be no win that day, not on James Brooks’s watch.

Auburn entered the contest 7-2 having lost to the Vols early in the year and dropped an out of conference game on the road at Wake Forest. But this team was lead by one of the best backfields in Auburn football history comprised of Joe Cribbs, William Andrews and James Brooks. UGA had no answer for the Tigers rushing attack, especially in the 3rd quarter.

It started bad for the Dawgs as QB Buck Belue dislocated his ankle on the first play of the game when he was sacked for a safety. The day didn’t get much better. Heading into the 3rd quarter things were tight as UGA held a slim 10-9 advantage but three 2nd half turnovers turned a close contest into a rout. Brooks rushed for 200 yards and two scores, one of those going for 67 yards.

You should watch that whole video as a little later Brooks scampered for a 44 yard touchdown as well. Joe Cribbs finished with 166 yards himself and 2 scores. The result was a 33-13 beatdown of the Dawgs, firmly shutting the door on their SEC title hopes.

I imagine most Auburn fans have Bo Jackson at the top of their list when it comes to greatest running backs in Auburn history. My guess is most would have Carnell Williams at #2 considering he’s Auburn’s career rushing yards leader and rushing touchdowns leader. But I won’t fight you too hard if you wanted to put James Brooks in that #2 spot. He doesn’t get the same amount of attention these days as Cadillac due to playing on some average teams and in an era when there wasn’t a ton of video. But Brooks was one of the best to suit up for the Tigers at running back and this play is just a taste of what he could with the ball in his hands.

67 days till kickoff! War Eagle!