Underrated Performances: Michael Johnson vs. Auburn in 2002
The 2002 game against Auburn is on of the most memorable games in Georgia football history. Not only did the Dawgs earn their first trip to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta (at which they would win their first SEC Championship in 20 years), but they won the game in dramatic fashion. Sophomore quarterback David Greene found receiver Michael Johnson in the end zone on fourth and 15 from the Auburn 19. Everyone remembers Johnson's great catch and Larry Munson's legendary call:
But many people overlook Johnson's performance, which was one of the best single game performances in Georgia history. Michael Johnson was a junior receiver from Tulsa, Oklahoma who had not seen a lot of playing time until this point in his career. But with receivers Terrence Edwards and Damien Gary out and Fred Gibson playing with a hand injury that caused him to wear a cast for much of the season, the Dawgs needed someone to step up. Michael Johnson was the man to answer the call.
In the victory over Auburn, Johnson caught 13 passes for 141 yards and the game winning touchdown. Prior to the game, he had only caught 11 passes all season. His 24th catch of the 2002 season will forever remain the most important catch of his career. I was in the third row of the opposite end zone when Johnson made the catch and until the following Monday morning, I thought Fred Gibson had actually made the play (that was the first time I saw any highlights on TV).