When you’re young, night football is fun, but when you’re tough, you prefer afternoon football rather than the hassles that come with night games, such as traffic and a bedtime. delayed, don’t ruin your weekend.
Night games, however, will always take priority. It’s how TV wants it, and for talented kids playing the game, there’s an emotional uplift to playing after the sun goes down. After all, they cut their football teeth on “Friday Night Lights.” But there is more to experience. There’s something refreshing about the stillness of the air during the pre-game routine. Feelings of inspiration, surges of energy, and anxious nerves turn into honed competition.
Think about the Notre Dame game in 2019 and the emotional effect the game had on everyone involved – coaches, players, fans and national television audiences. Before the match, you realized that this match was something very special.
Until the World War II era, there was little night football. Georgia’s first game in the spotlight was in 1940 when the Bulldogs spotlighted on October 25e game with Kentucky, which ended in a 7-7 draw.
Throughout the 1940s, Georgia played night games on and off, but in 1943, when the world was at war in Europe and the Pacific, the Bulldogs scheduled four-night games at Sanford Stadium.
In addition to a World War, Georgia, like many colleges, was centered on an agricultural region. It was difficult for the agro-industrial community to leave the farm for a football game. Night kick-offs improved attendance.
Claude Felton, the Bulldogs’ incomparable director of sports information, gathered research on the history of nighttime football in Athens in the spring.
The original installation of lights in the forties resulted in false compatibility with unsightly streetlights that rang the playing field for forty years until nighttime games died out.
The era of modern lighting came next. The installation of new lights for the Georgia-Clemson game in 1982 meant that night games would always be a football staple in Athens. The highlight of Georgia football under the lights of Sanford Stadium came with the LED extravaganza against Notre Dame three seasons ago.
Here are some classics gleaned from Claude’s files and with his help.
1968 at Columbia, SC: Georgia 21, SC 20. Georgia lost 20-0 early, but came back to win. The Bulldogs went an undefeated 8-0-2 regular season and won the SEC Championship.
1978 at Lexington: Georgia 17, Kentucky 16. Georgia was down 16-0 midway through the third quarter. All America kicker Rex Robinson threw a game-winning 29-yard field goal with 3 seconds left in the game. This prompted the “Yeah, yeah, yeah” call from Larry Munson.
1980 in Knoxville: debut of Herschel Walker. Led Georgia to come back from a 15-0 deficit with two touchdowns in the second half. Georgia won 16-15, setting the stage for an undefeated season and a national title.
1982 in Athens: first night game at Sanford Stadium in the modern era. The season opener between 1980 National Champion Georgia and 1981 National Champion Clemson. Georgia won 13-7.
1991 in Athens: Georgia upset No. 4 Clemson 27-12 on the same day the Atlanta Braves went from worst to first.
1998 at Baton Rouge: Georgia 28, LSU 27. Kirby Smart was defensive captain as a senior.
2002 in Athens: season opener, Georgia 31, Clemson 28. Mark Richt’s sophomore led Georgia to a 13-1 season, including a win over FSU in the Sugar Bowl.
2007 at Tuscaloosa: Georgia 26, Alabama 23 in overtime. Matthew Stafford delivered the winning TD pass.
2013 in Athens: Georgia 44, LSU 41 in a shootout between Aaron Murray and LSU’s Zach Mettenberger.
2017 to South Bend: Georgia 20, Notre Dame 19. Georgia’s first trip to South Bend. It was QB Jake Fromm’s first start. Then the Rose Bowl playoff game later in the season. Technically, the game in Pasadena started at 5 p.m. PT. It was one of the most exciting games in UGA history: Georgia 54, Oklahoma 48 in overtime.
2019 in Athens: Georgia 23, Notre Dame 17. Notre Dame’s first trip to Athens. With some extra seats added, the largest crowd to see a game at Sanford Stadium.