Nov. 24, 2012
ATHENS -- The Georgia football team sent its 21 seniors out of Sanford Stadium in style with a 42-10 senior day rout of in-state rival Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs honored their seniors before the game with an on-the-field ceremony with every member of the senior class taking the field to a standing ovation.
If there was any sentimentality from the senior class it didn't show on the field with the Bulldogs taking a seven point lead after just 1:03 in the first quarter. In the locker room after the game, nose tackle John Jenkins said the fact he had played his final game in Sanford Stadium hadn't quite sunk in yet.
"I haven't felt the emotion or the feeling yet, it's just one of those things that I'm just enjoying the moment and enjoying the victory," Jenkins said. "To know that this is my last dog walk to Sanford Stadium, the last time I'll be in this locker room as a Georgia Bulldog, it's an emotional experience. It happened too fast."
Jenkins finished his home career with a career-high 11 total tackles. This wasn't good enough for highest tackle total amongst the seniors as linebacker Christian Robinson recorded 13. Robinson said that being aware this was the last time for him to play between the hedges changed the way he approached the day.
"You just start thinking about things that you took for granted before. Things like the meals at the hotel with the team, being with the team one last time there, making that walk through the dog walk trying to just slow it down. I didn't walk as fast this time," Robinson said. "Then coming off the field I stayed out there as long as they would let me. It's just a special place and I hope people who are going to come here in the future realize that."
Free safety Bacarri Rambo, who forced two fumbles, intercepted a pass and recorded eight tackles joked that he hadn't realized it was his last game. Rambo, however, went on to address the emotion of facing a future that doesn't included playing in Sanford Stadium.
"It's very emotional knowing I won't be able to play between the hedges again and see the dog nation," Rambo said. "The things like the dog walk and seeing the guys in the dog nation, it's very emotional and I'm going to miss everything about Sanford Stadium and Athens."
Rambo's fellow defensive back Sanders Commings echoed his teammate's sentiment that the Georgia fans will be the thing he misses most.
"It really hasn't hit me yet but it was a great way to go out beating Georgia Tech, and beating them the way we did just feels great," Commings said. "We have the greatest fans in America and just playing in front of all those guys will be what I miss the most."
Despite only playing two years at Georgia, Jenkins has become one of the teams most liked players. The love he receives from the fans is reciprocated by the big Connecticut native, who said the interaction with the fans will never be replaced.
"Just the dog walk itself and seeing all those kids looking at you like you're an action figure or a super hero," Jenkins said. "They just want to shake your hand, asking for your glove and just happy to shake your hand. That's amazing."
While the Bulldog seniors have finished their careers in Sanford Stadium, they still have plenty to play as Georgia plays in the Southeastern Conference Championship game on Saturday December. 1 at 4:00 p.m. The game will be televised by CBS.