During the lead-up to the South Carolina game, a prestigious honor was bestowed involving another Georgia rival, which kind of got lost in the hoopla of last week.
UGA football greats, Rex Robinson, a placekicker from 1977-1980, and Richard Seymour, a defensive tackle from 1997-2000, were inducted into the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame. For Robinson, although he was certainly pleased to be honored, the announcement was rather surprising.
“It really blew me away…I was truly, and seriously surprised,” Robinson admitted. “I’ve always been happy for all the guys who were inducted before me, but I never gave it much thought that I’d actually get selected because I never had that ‘moment’ in a Florida game.”
Perhaps Robinson never had that “moment”—no game-winning field goal against the Gators, or the like—but of the nearly 40 Georgia players, including two placekickers, inducted before him during the hall of fame’s 20-year history, few were as consistent, and likely none were as perfect.
In four games against Florida, Robinson was a perfect 10 for 10 on extra points, and six for six on field goals. In the history of the series, his 28 points scored remains the fourth-most by a Bulldog, trailing only Herschel Walker (48 points), Charley Trippi (48), and Cy Grant (33).
“I had no clue—totally in the dark,” Robinson said after I informed him of his kicking perfection and point total in the series. “But, it feels good that I never missed, and I’m shocked about the scoring [total], as well.”
When asked about being part of Georgia-Florida lore, Robinson promptly recalled his first game in Jacksonville—a 22-17 loss to the Gators as a freshman. “That’s when [receiver] Wes Chandler (scored three touchdowns) nearly defeated us single-handedly,” Robinson said. “But, that motivated us to play harder the next year [in 1978]. Then, it became the norm for us to win those [rivalry] games more often than not.”
In 1978, the Bulldogs bounced back in the series by nipping the Gators, 24-22. As a junior the following season in a 33-10 win over Florida, Robinson not only broke the SEC career record for most made field goals (36) but, more memorable to the placekicker, he broke the school record for most consecutive point-after touchdowns made (61) previously established by Allan Leavitt—the starting Georgia kicker just prior to Robinson.
“That was probably the most significant moment for me [in the series], personally,” Robinson said regarding his PAT record. “I always just focused on doing my job—doing my part—whether trying to score points, or kickoff well.”
As a senior in 1980, Robinson’s final game in the series was the memorable 26-21 Georgia victory, when the “Belue-to-Scott” 93-yard miracle pass handed the Gators’ their third consecutive setback to the Bulldogs.
Robinson ended his Georgia career by having made 101 consecutive PATs in a time when making an extra point wasn’t quite as automatic as it is today; only about 90 to 92 percent of PATs in major-college football were successfully made. Making 16 of 22 field goals and a perfect 36 for 36 on PATs, Robinson was recognized as a first-team All-American on the Bulldogs’ national championship squad in 1980. His senior season was also the third consecutive year he ranked in the nation’s top 10 in field goals made per game.
Nevertheless, Robinson is admittedly “not one of those guys who can recount play after play, or kick after kick.” Therefore, personal accolades and statistics aside, he recalls the Georgia-Florida rivalry during his time from a broader standpoint.
“Georgia-Florida was always an exciting week because it was different,” Robinson said. “And, the game seemed to have a really excited home crowd—a different electricity than even a lot of our home games would have.”
Finally, the legendary placekicker, who was 100 percent accurate in the neutral-sited rivalry bearing its own hall of fame, fittingly spoke of the game’s neutrality: “Some people talk about Jacksonville being in Florida (and, not necessarily a neutral site), but the city is a huge and, in a way, the perfect Bulldog town.”