Marc Weiszer catches up with the biggest Auburn-killer of the early 2000s. Michael Johnson is a high school coach in his home state of Oklahoma now, but he’ll always be known and revered by Bulldog fans for one play.
Johnson’s 13 receptions that day are still #2 all-time at Georgia. Johnson caught all but six of Georgia’s receptions on that cold and windy day. He finished with the game of his life: 13 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown that clinched Georgia’s first-ever SEC East title.
Johnson wasn’t finished with Auburn. A year later, Johnson again led the team with 5 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown in Georgia’s 26-7 win. In two games against Auburn, Johnson accounted for 18 catches, 232 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Over a quarter of his career catches and yards and half his career touchdowns came in those two games.
Georgia went into that 2002 Auburn game needing a win to clinch the SEC East. They were also without two important receivers: Damien Gary and Terrence Edwards. Those two storylines apply again as we head back 10 years later. Florida, as they did in 2002, will be watching the scoreboard to see if Auburn will redirect the divisional title to Gainesville. Michael Johnson stepped up to replace two injured teammates with the game of his life to make sure that the title went home with the Dawgs. Will they need another heroic individual performance this time, and who will deliver it?