Haynes' number is called in the clutch

Georgia's Verron Haynes (35) keeps his eye on the ball as he makes a catch with five seconds left in the fourth quarter for a touchdown to help his team defeat Tennessee, 26-24, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2001 in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — With 10 seconds left and Georgia needing six yards to complete its last-minute comeback victory over Tennessee, Coach Mark Richt finally pulled the trigger on a play he had wanted to call all day.

Considering that Haynes, a senior, did not have any receptions in his career before Saturday, the call was something of a surprise to the designated receiver in the play.

"They could have called any play,'' said Haynes. "When he called it, I said a quick prayer. I knew I had to seize the opportunity.''

The play — called P 44 Haynes — worked perfectly.

As designed, after the snap Haynes acted as if his only intention was to block a linebacker. For Haynes, who normally blocks for tailback Musa Smith, that was an easy deception to pull off.

Instead, Haynes pulled away from the linebacker at the last second and ran to the back of the end zone. The deception worked. Tennessee's defense ignored Haynes, who was wide open to catch the game-winning pass from David Greene with only five seconds left to play.

The pass capped a five-play, 59-yard drive that began with only 42 seconds left in the game.

Asked his thoughts as the pass came his way, Haynes said: "Catch the ball! Catch the ball!''

It was the fourth catch of the day for Haynes, who credited Richt for knowing the right time to call the play for the first time.

"(Richt) is a heck of an offensive coordinator, and I'm blessed to have him,'' Haynes said. "I'm kind of mad this is my last year, because I would have loved to have played four years with him.''

Richt instructed Greene to throw the ball away if Tennessee came out with a defensive scheme that included only one safety.

"If they came out with two safeties, I had to make sure I saw (Haynes open) first before I threw it,'' Greene said. "I knew if (Haynes) could get by that linebacker, he'd be all right.''

Teammates watching the play probably were more nervous than were Greene and Haynes.

"I was like ‘He's open! He's open! Don't drop it! Don't drop it!'' said tight end Randy McMichael.

Added McMichael: "We practice it so much. I was thinking ‘Why do we practice it so much and never run it?' But it was a great call.''

The ‘P' in the "P 44 Haynes'' play stands for pass. It's a play the senior will never forget.

Haynes said Greene "keeps his poise'' and remained calm in the drive.

"He didn't look like a freshman,'' Haynes said.

Then again, Haynes didn't look like a fullback.

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