ATHENS — Best as can be determined, Georgia will host the G-Day Game for the 58th time on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. and the two-hour game will be televised on ESPNU.
As one might imagine, records are somewhat sketchy for the annual intrasquad spring scrimmage. Based on records provided by UGA’s sports communication office, Saturday will represent the 57th time in the last 58 years the game has been played.
The Bulldogs were unable to play it under Jim Donnan in 2000 as a sewer line issue forced the cancellation. The game was played a half-mile away at Clarke Central High School rather than Sanford Stadium for the first and only time in 1996 because Georgia’s stadium was being retrofitted to host soccer during the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games.
Otherwise, UGA can produce attendance records going back continuously to 1960, when 7,000 turned out for the game. There is one other game on record in 1954, when Georgia shows that 18,000 came out for some sort of spring scrimmage.
Of course, at no time has there been a capacity crowd of 92,746 on hand for the game. That’s what first-year coach Kirby Smart called for when he launched the #93kDay initiative in late January. But generally, it has been well-attended.
“If we get good weather, I’ll be a happy man,” Smart said this week. “It’s a big sales day for us. Got a lot of recruits coming.”
Should be about perfect. As of Thursday, forecasts called for partly-sunny skies with a high of 72 and only a 10 percent chance of rain.
Georgia fans actually set attendance marks in each of the last five years. Starting in 2011, attendance went from 43,117 to 44,117, 45,113, 46,073 and, finally, 46,815 last year. The Bulldogs expect to easily surpass that this year.
Here’s some important facts of which to be aware:
- As usual, admission is free. In the past, the Bulldogs traditionally used this occasion to solicit canned food from fans on behalf of the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. This year, in lieu of bringing canned goods to the game, UGA is encouraging fans to make monetary donations to the Food Bank at the United Healthcare display at the Main Gate underneath Sanford bridge from 11 a.m. until kickoff.
- Parking could prove to be a bit of a challenge. There is some reserved parking near the stadium and police will establish a “controlled perimeter” between Lumpkin Street and East Campus Road from a block north of the stadium south to Cedar Street. But everything outside of that perimeter is free and fair game. Here is A LINK TO A PARKING MAP.
- Stadium gates will open at 1 p.m. Fans are welcome to sit wherever they want once they enter, but sections will be closed off after they’ve been filled.
- Festivities beginning at 1:15 p.m. That’s when a number of Bulldog lettermen will take the field for the alumni flag football game.
- At 2:45, the 2016 Georgia football team will commence with the Dawg Walk from Lumpkin Street through the Tate Student Center parking lot.
- At 3:45, Atlanta rap music star Ludacris will perform.
- At 4 p.m., the game will kick off. It will be televised on ESPNU and last about two hours. They will use a running clock, they won’t have live kicks or punts and the last four minutes of each half will be conducted in “hurry-up mode” regardless of score.
- Away from the stadium there is also a robotics show and convention at Stegeman Coliseum from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., a Georgia softball game against Tennessee at 1 p.m. and a baseball game against South Carolina at 6 p.m.
G-Day, Georgia’s annual spring football scrimmage, is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 16, at Sanford Stadium. Check back here daily for DawgNation’s G-Day coverage brought to you by Georgia United Credit Union.