Memories of Georgia Football Legend Jake Scott

Kyle Funderburk

Few Georgia football legends are as revered as safety Jake Scott. 

Scott had a remarkable football career. He earned All-America honors and led the Bulldogs to a SEC Championship in 1968. Scott's legend grew in the NFL where he never intercepted less than three passes in any of his nine seasons. As a Miami Dolphin, he earned MVP honors in Super Bowl VII and was almost as integral to the team's win in Super Bowl VIII.

Away from the field, Scott was just as remarkable. He's the focus of one of the biggest UGA campus legends ever, and the reclusive lifestyle of his latter years generated some humor when he finally entered the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

Dawgs Daily remembers Jake Scott after his passing at the age of 75 by recounting the moments that defined "Joltin'" Jake Scott.

Riding a motorcycle on top of Stegeman Coliseum

To this day, the validity of this story hasn't been confirmed, but no one is disputing it. The exterior of Stegeman Coliseum is known for two interlocking arches that support the roof of the arena. 

Walking up the arches was a fraternal initiation in the 1960s. According to legend, Scott one-upped the fraternities by driving a motorcycle up one of the arches and onto the roof of the Coliseum. 

Scott's 90-yard punt return touchdown against Tennessee

Georgia's offense was sluggish for most of three quarters. It needed a Tennessee penalty just to get into field-goal range early in the third quarter. However, the Bulldogs defense was having a great game and trailing 7-3 late in the third quarter, the unit forced another punt, leading to one of the greatest plays in Georgia football history.

Scott caught the punt around the 10-yard-line and was instantly surrounded by multiple orange shirts. He used a pair of quick cuts to his right to avoid the first two Tennessee players, broke an ankle-high tackle attempted by a third defender, found the sideline and took off for a 90-yard touchdown.

Scott's fabled punt return gave Georgia a 10-7 lead, but the Bulldogs were unable to leave Knoxville with a win. The two teams settled for a 17-17 tie.

Two interception touchdowns against Kentucky

Scott's most dominant performance as a Georgia Bulldog came in the 1968 meeting with Kentucky. Late in a scoreless first quarter, Scott intercepted a pass on the 33-yard  line and weaved his way through the Wildcats offense for the score. Georgia led 21-0 at halftime.

Kentucky attempted a comeback in the second half, scoring early in the third quarter to cut the lead to 21-7. The Wildcats regained possession soon after, but Scott snuffed out any comeback plans with his second pick-six. Scott caught the pass on the Kentucky 35-yard line, spun away from one player and raced into the end zone for the score. 

Georgia eventually won 35-14 and claimed the SEC Championship three weeks later. After the double pick-six performance, head coach Vince Dooley called Scott an "All-American choice if there ever was one."

Winning MVP honors in Super Bowl VII

Without Scott, the 1972 Miami Dolphins probably wouldn't have ended the season with a perfect record. The Dolphins defeated Washington 14-7 and needed a pair of interceptions by Scott to help shut down the Washington offense.

Scott's first interception was spectacular. Washington quarterback Billy Kilmer threw an inaccurate pass over his intended target and three Dolphins defenders. Scott leaped in the air to tip the ball and managed to catch it as he landed on his back. Scott quickly bounced to his feet and ran it back to the Washington 47-yard line.

Miami led 14-0 in the third quarter when disaster struck. Quarterback Bob Griese had an interception in the end zone. The play helped Washington gain some momentum and the Redskins marched 79 yards to the Dolphins' 10-yard line. 

Scott killed Washington's drive with his second interception of the day. Kilmer threw another arid pass in the direction of Scott. This catch was much easier for Scott, hitting him right in the chest. "Joltin'" Jake ran the ball out of the end zone and was finally tackled around the Washington 48-yard line.

Miami failed to score and "Garo's Gaffe" eventually allowed Washington to cut the lead to 14-7. Thanks to Scott and the "no-name defense," Washington's offense failed to move the ball on its final drive and never had a chance to tie the game.

Learning about his College Football Hall of Fame selection days later

After retiring from the NFL in 1978, Scott lived a somewhat reclusive life in Hawaii, enjoying his retirement in paradise. That lifestyle kept Scott from learning about his selection into the College Football Hall of Fame until he regained cellular service days later.

“I was out fishing and about three days later I came back in to where the cell phone works — I was way out past where the cell phone works — there was about 15 messages,” Scott said. “Usually I have about two messages. I said, ‘Oh hell, somebody’s died.’

“Then when I found out, tears came into my eyes.”

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

tears came to his eyes because of his promise to Jim Mandich