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Today's Tidbit... Rivalry Games and the Dodd Family
This weekend features many of the intrastate and border rivalry games that are integral to college football's appeal, but there is another set of rivalry games that are less frequent and have all the appeal of the annual games. Those games come when a great coach and his son meet on a Saturday and stand on opposite sides o the field.
One of those events came in the fourth game of the 1960 season. Bobby Dodd was in his sixteenth season as head coach at Georgia Tech, and his son, Bobby Jr., was a Florida quarterback. Bobby Jr. has three SEC offers coming out of high school but did not receive one from his Dad as the family decided it would be best to play quarterback someone other than his father. (Georgia Tech left the SEC in 1964.)
Things worked out as well as possible when long-time Georgia Tech assistant coach, Ray Graves, became Florida's head coach and brought in former Georgia Tech star Pepper Rodgers as an assistant. Bobby Jr. joined them in Gainesville and became one of Florida's rotating sophomore quarterbacks in 1960.
Leading into the Georgia Tech-Florida game in 1960, wife and mother Alice Dodds had a clear perspective, indicating she
... wanted Bobby to throw every pass perfectly and for the Florida receivers to drop every one.
As it turned out, they dropped a few, leaving Florida down 17-10 as the Gators started a drive on their 15-yard line with minutes left to play. Bobby Dodd, Jr. and Larry Libertore were switched off at quarterback when Dodd was sacked on second down. He stayed in and threw a 32-yard strike to his fullback. They continued switching until Dodd fumbled and then redeemed himself by taking the ball to the two with about 30 seconds left.
On fourth-and-goal, Ray Graves sent in Libertore, the best runner among the quarterbacks, for the final offensive play. He ran an option to the right and pitched the ball to halfback Lindy Infante, who snuck it into the corner for the touchdown.
Down one, Ray Graves opted to go for two and the win, keeping Libertore in the game. Following the snap, Libertore rolled right and tossed the conversion to his fullback for the win.
Gracious in defeat, Dodd later told Graves:
I didn't mind him making his season by beating us ..., but darned if I want him making a habit of it.
The teams met the next two years, with Georgia Tech shutting out Florida both times. Bobby Jr. saw limited action as a junior and an injured led to him missing his senior season, so the two split their games when directly facing one another.
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