Head Coach: Jim Donnan
Final Record: Overall: 10-2; SEC: 6-2
On the Right Track
What a difference a year makes. In only his second season, Georgia Coach Jim Donnan took a team that hadn't won more than six games since 1992 and turned it into an SEC title contender with a 10-2 record, victory over defending national champion Florida, triumph over Wisconsin in the 1998 Outback Bowl, final national ranking of No. 10, and generated promise of great things to come in the years ahead.
The 1997 Bulldogs made a remarkable turnaround from the 1996 5-6 season not only in wins and losses but in statistical improvement. Donnan has always been known for his offense and his stamp was firmly imprinted on the 1997 Bulldogs. In SEC statistics, the '97 Dogs finished third in the league in total offense and 14th nationally (432.64 ypg); second in rushing offense, up from eighth the previous year (169.9 ypg); fifth in passing offense and 19th nationally (262.73 ypg); and fourth in scoring offense (31.55 ppg), up from eighth in '96. Georgia also finished first in the SEC in third down conversions (48%).
While Donnan may be most known for offense, the Dogs had impressive improvement on defense as well, finishing second in the SEC and 16th nationally in the most important category - scoring defense (17.18 ppg), up from ninth in the SEC the previous year. The 1997 Bulldogs also finished first in the SEC in fewest penalties with 39 - that's 28 better than the second best team - and second in the league in turnover margin. In addition, Georgia has defeated two of their three biggest rivals each of the past two years - Auburn and Georgia Tech in '96 and Florida and Georgia Tech in '97.
Bobo, Edwards lead Dogs to 33-6 victory in 1998 Outback Bowl
Tampa, Fla. -- Quarterback Mike Bobo completed 26-of-28 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown and running back Robert Edwards ran for three more touchdowns as Georgia defeated Wisconsin 33-6 before an Outback Bowl crowd of 56,186 and an ESPN national television audience.
Bobo, who earned MVP honors, set an Outback Bowl record for best completion percentage (92.8). He also set Outback and Georgia records for consecutive completions with 19. Edwards set a Georgia bowl mark and tied an Outback record with three rushing touchdowns.
Senior Hines Ward set an Outback Bowl record for receptions and yardage with 12 catches for 122 yards.
Georgia sported a new look for the Outback Bowl, donning black pants instead of the traditional "silver britches" to go along with the Bulldogs' white jerseys and red helmets.
"The players came to me a while back and requested we do something special for the bowl game," Georgia head coach Jim Donnan said. "The idea the players liked best was wearing black pants. After discussing it with (athletic director) Coach Dooley we decided to go along with the players' suggestion."
Mike Bobo, MVP of the 1998 Outback Bowl, set two Outback Bowl records; best completion percentage (92.8) and for consecutive completions with 19.
- Georgia is now 16-14-3 in bowl games and 5-2 versus Big Ten schools. This was the first meeting between Georgia and Wisconsin.
- The Bulldogs finished the season with a 10-2 overall record which equals the mark set by the 1992 team. It was Georgia's best finish since 1992 when the Bulldogs won the Citrus Bowl, 21-14, over Ohio State.
- Georgia's defense blanked Wisconsin in the first half which marked the third time of the season the Bulldogs did not surrender any points in the first half.
- Georgia set Outback Bowl team records for most first downs by penalty (3), best passing percentage (89.6), most touchdowns rushing (4) and fewest yards allowed (234).
- In addition to tying the Outback Bowl record with most rushing touchdowns with 3, running back Rober Edwards also tied the record for most points scored with 18.
GA- Edwards, 2-yard run (Hines kick blocked) 8:19, 1st Q
GA- Edwards, 40-yard run (Bobo pass INT) 4:21, 1st Q
GA- Gary, 3-yard run (Hines kick) :29, 2nd Q
GA- Edwards, 13-yard run (Hines kick) 9:15, 3rd Q
GA- Allen, 7-yard pass from Bobo, (Hines kick) 8:45, 4th
WIS- Retzlaff, 12-yard pass from Kavanage (Davenport kick failed) 4:04, 4th Q