Previous Nebraska meeting was worst loss for Georgia's Dooley

photo Former Georgia football coach Vince Dooley guided the Bulldogs to 201 victories and six SEC titles in 25 seasons, but his most lopsided defeat came to Nebraska in the 1969 Sun Bowl.

DEREK LYING LOWIt has been a quiet few weeks for Derek Dooley since he was fired Nov. 18 as Tennessee's football coach. Vince Dooley said his son will continue to take some down time before deciding what to do next."I think that's what he's going to do, and he can afford to," Dooley said. "The good thing about the lack of patience in this day and time is that you have time. If I had been fired early on, I would have had to go to work the next day. I would have had to find a job anywhere, even a part-time job just to keep going."I made $12,000 a year, so I would have definitely had to go to work another job that very next day."Due to a $5 million buyout that will be paid over the next four years, the younger Dooley is receiving nearly $105,000 a month from Tennessee.- David Paschall

The Capital One Bowl was not Georgia's desired destination when the Bulldogs played the Southeastern Conference football championship game earlier this month.

It was Georgia's opponent for the New Year's Day game in Orlando that made Vince Dooley cringe. Dooley coached the Bulldogs to a 201-77-10 record from 1964 to '88, amassing six SEC titles and the 1980 national championship. The worst loss he sustained in his quarter century on the sideline was a 45-6 drubbing at the hands of Nebraska in the 1969 Sun Bowl.

"Neither one of us should have been in that bowl game," Dooley recalled this past week. "We weren't good enough to be there, and they were too good to be there. Their team had a slow start and caught fire, and that team was the nucleus of their next two national championship teams.

"Coach [Bob] Devaney told me later that his '69 team at the end of the season was as good or better than his two national championship teams those next two years."

The '69 Sun Bowl was the only time Georgia surrendered more than 40 points under Dooley, and the 39-point differential was the largest of his career. That has been the only meeting between the Bulldogs and the Cornhuskers until now.

Dooley said he's counting on current Bulldogs coach Mark Richt to "balance the ledger on this," which is a sentiment shared by many in the Peach State who are old enough to remember the rout in El Paso.

"They really took care of business against the Dogs that day," said Bulldogs athletic director Greg McGarity, who enrolled as a UGA student in 1973. "So we've got a little payback even though it may have been more than 40 years ago."

Nebraska opened the '69 season with losses at Southern Cal and at Missouri within the first four games before bolting to an 8-2 record and a No. 14 ranking. The Cornhuskers ended their regular season with a 44-14 trampling of Oklahoma in Norman.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, staggered in with a 5-4-1 record following an 0-3-1 November that contained losses to Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia Tech and a tie with Florida. Georgia had gone to the Sun Bowl in Dooley's first year, with the Bulldogs topping Texas Tech 7-0 to complete a 7-3-1 season.

"The Sun Bowl was such a great thing for us when we went there in '64," Dooley said. "It was like we had gone to the national championship bowl that year because Georgia was so hungry. We had such great memories, and everybody wanted to go back. Those memories were quickly balanced."

Nebraska had a 40-mph wind on its side during the first quarter, and the scoreboard clock malfunctioned. Officials did not keep up with the time on the field during those days, and they admitted after the game that the first quarter lasted too long.

Dooley considers it the longest quarter of his life, and the Cornhuskers came away with an 18-0 lead. The Bulldogs had the wind during a scoreless second quarter, but they ultimately committed eight turnovers by throwing six interceptions and losing two fumbles.

"Alabama had beaten Nebraska in the Sugar Bowl a few years earlier, and Nebraska's players were considered big and slow," Dooley said. "They were determined after that to get quick and fast people, and they did. There were other losses for me that were as disastrous, but there were none in which there was such an overwhelming difference in talent between the two teams."