Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Countdown 2010: 93 Days to Go

93: Buck Belue, Quarterback #8 (1978 – 1981)

Valdosta High School likes to call itself the winningest high school football program in the country. One of its very own helped lead Vince Dooley and the Georgia Bulldogs to their first national championship since the 1940’s. Buck Belue came to Georgia as a highly talented football and baseball star. And while he was an All-SEC performer on the baseball field, it was his actions on the football field that will hold a special place in the hearts of Georgia fans. In 1978, Buck made his first mark on the Georgia history books during the regular season finale against Georgia Tech. With Georgia down 20-0, Coach Vince Dooley inserted the freshman into the game in second half. With Georgia still down 28-21 late in the game, Belue was able to connect with Amp Arnold on a 42 yard touchdown pass and Georgia won, 29-28.

Belue took over the starting quarterback position during the 1979 season. The Bulldogs finished a disappointing 6-5 that year, but things were about to change in Athens. While Freshman Herschel Walker began lighting up defenses with spectacular runs, Belue kept the Georgia offense in balance. During the week 7 victory over Kentucky, Belue had the best game of his collegiate career. He passed for 228 yards, including a 91 yard touchdown to Amp Arnold and added a score on the ground. Just two weeks later, Belue would be part of the most memorable play in Georgia history. His 93 yard touchdown pass to Lindsay Scott helped Georgia defeat Florida and kept the undefeated season alive. In the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame, Belue completed only one pass, but the running of Walker and the Georgia D lead the Dawgs to the National Championship.

Video – Highlights from 1980 Championship Season -

Beleu was named to the All-SEC team following the season and returned in 1981 for his senior season. Georgia would once again capture the SEC crown (their second of three in a row). Buck would once again earn all-SEC honors, completing 60% of his passes for 1603 yards and 12 touchdowns and was named the offensive team captain. During his three years as starter, Georgia compiled a 27-3 record. He is 8th all-time in passing yards with 3,846 and threw for 32 scores. Following his career at Georgia, Belue was drafted by the Montreal Expos. He now can be heard daily on Atlanta sports talk radio and covers Georgia for CSS.

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