18: John Rauch, Quarterback #18 (1945 - 1948)*
As a child, John “Johnny” Rauch’s doctor advised him to quit football due to a heart condition. He ignored these warnings and went on to become one of Georgia’s top quarterbacks. John came to Athens from the state of Pennsylvania; a state which produced five of the fourteen Georgia players named as All-Americans from 1941-1964. After originally committing to the University of Tennessee as a tailback, he reluctantly accepted an invitation to come to Athens under the promise of being the starting quarterback.
As a true freshman in 1945, he led the Dawgs to a record of 36-8-1 during his four year stint as quarterback. One of his most notable games was against LSU in 1947. After an eight-game losing streak, Rauch threw for three touchdowns and led the Dawgs to their first win over the Tigers since 1928. John Rauch often had a reputation for playing in pain, as evidenced by him wearing a mask made of steel of protect a cheekbone that was crushed in a 1946 game against Oklahoma A&M. It was during this 1946 season that Rauch led the Bulldogs to an undefeated season. Rauch was also the only quarterback to start in four consecutive bowl games. In addition to his career as quarterback, he also played defense. He totaled 13 interceptions, which is still tied for third a record in Georgia history.
John was named the first team All-American in 1948. One of Rauch’s most impressive accomplishments was setting the NCAA record with 4,044 passing yards, which was later broken in 1950. Rauch was inducted into the College football Hall of Fame in 2003.
*This article was contributed by Streit's wife, Melissa