Warning, this story doesn’t have a happy ending.
In 1982, the Tigers carried a 7-2 record into a rivalry clash with the #1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Dawgs were lead on offense by some guy named Herschel Walker, who would go on to win the Heisman Trophy that year, while the Tigers had this pretty good freshman named Bo Jackson in the backfield. You could say there was some running back talent on display that day.
But it was neither Walker nor Jackson that had the longest run of the day. No, it was the the 5’6” 171 lb running back Lionel “Little Train” James who sent Jordan-Hare into a frenzy early in the 4th quarter.
Trailing, 13-7 at the start of the 4th, the Tigers were hoping to put together a long touchdown drive and take the lead. After a short Bo Jackson run, Auburn ran the triple option to the strong side of the field. James took the pitch and exploded for an 87 yard touchdown run to give the Tigers the lead.
The Dawgs actually had this play well defended with a man accounting for the dive, QB & the pitch. But James put a sick move on the would be tackler then displayed his elite speed by blowing past the rest of the UGA defense. That cut back at full speed was insane, resulting in at least two Dawgs on their bellies.
However, that would be the Tigers last score of the day. UGA would march back down the field, leaning heavily on the eventual Heisman Trophy winner to go ahead for good 19-14. Auburn mounted one last drive to try and pull off the upset but Randy Campbell’s pass to the endzone on 4th down with 49 seconds to go would be knocked down by a Dawg defender. The win clinched another SEC championship for the Dawgs and gave them a 3rd straight season finishing undefeated in the SEC. But in typical UGA fashion the Dawgs could not capture a national title, losing to Penn State in the Sugar Bowl 27-23.
If you wanna watch the game up to the point that James gives Auburn the lead, check out the video below. Warning, it’s the Bulldog broadcast.
87 days till kickoff! War Eagle!