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Troupes Catch turns Dogs around
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Forsyth County News
Editor’s note: Columnist Denton Ashway caught up with Georgia wide receiver Israel Troupe this week to talk about his role in Georgia’s win over Auburn Saturday.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “The Catch?”

Willie Mays in the ‘54 World Series? On the dead run, back to home plate, robbing Vic Wertz with an over-the-shoulder catch. A catch which, according to announcer Jack Brickhouse, must have seemed like an optical illusion to a lot of folks at the Polo Grounds.

Maybe you go back to the Amazing Mets in the ‘69 Series, and those fabulous catches by Tommie Agee and Ron Swoboda. Or the night Otis Nixon leaped and reached over the fence.

How about Dwight Clark’s catch of the high Joe Montana pass which beat the Cowboys and set the 49ers off on their championship run through the ‘80s?

Georgia fans might recall Lindsay Scott, but, more than a catch, it was “Run, Lindsay!”

They also recall Michael Johnson’s catch to beat Auburn in ‘02, breaking the Dogs’ long SEC championship drought.

But for Georgia wide receiver Israel Troupe, “The Catch” will always mean one thing: his 50-yard touchdown pass from Joe Cox that started Georgia’s comeback in a 31-24 win over Auburn last weekend.

“I was surprised they were going to me,” said Troupe in an interview Monday morning. “It was a pump and go, and the cornerback bit hard.”

And that was all it took. Troupe flew past him and sailed down the left sideline, a good five yards clear. Cox lofted a perfect pass, hanging it in the air long enough for Troupe to remind himself “Don’t drop it!”

He didn’t. He pulled it in right in stride. “I saw the end zone,” Troupe said. “That’s why I kind of tripped, because I was trying to get there so fast.”

He got there fast enough to draw Georgia within a touchdown. He then touched off a big celebration on the Georgia sideline, where his teammates seemed happier than he was. “It was great seeing my teammates so excited. That meant a lot to me. It’s been kind of a rough season for me, and they’ve had my back.”

Troupe’s season has mirrored that of his team. He entered the season coming off a G-Day game in which he was Georgia’s leading receiver. Yet, Saturday’s touchdown was his first reception of the season.

Like most Bulldogs, Troupe arrived with an outstanding pedigree: AJC Super 11, first team Class AAAAA all-state,’s No. 1 wide receiver in Georgia, ESPN top-six wide receiver, and so on. He was coveted by many schools, including Florida, LSU and Stanford.

Following a redshirt season in 2007, he appeared in every game last season, making four catches for 39 yards. So nothing had occurred during his time in Athens to prepare him for Saturday’s big catch.

“It was nice getting my chance to show them I can do the job,” said Troupe. “To show myself I can do the job.”

Not only can he do the job, he might have made the biggest play of Georgia’s season. When Troupe lined up for his touchdown play, he had just replaced star receiver A. J. Green. Green had sprained his acromioclavicular joint, and was lost for the game.

Prior to his departure, Green had just caught two passes for 24 yards. They followed two Caleb King runs for 13 yards. Up until that point, Georgia had run six plays for minus-two yards. Auburn had begun with two long touchdown drives.

Troupe not only picked up an injured teammate, he picked up the entire team. “I finally got to watch it last night,’ said Troupe on Monday. “It felt good to me. It was a big catch in a crucial situation. It was big for momentum, and a confidence boost.

From that point on, Georgia dominated the game. The Dogs would rush 33 more times for 153 yards and three touchdowns. They’d pass for more than 100 yards more, and control the clock for long stretches.

The maligned defense would surrender but a field goal to Auburn’s high-octane offense after Troupe’s catch. The defense would ultimately save the game with a crucial final stop, an inspired effort due in no small part to the sacrifice of body made by Bacarri Rambo.

Make no mistake, part of the energy supplied by Troupe’s catch sent a jolt of electricity through the Sanford Stadium faithful. The game could not have started worse for Georgia, and the natives’ invective was becoming increasingly hostile. They had seen it all too many times before.
But they hadn’t seen Troupe in the end zone. That was proof that this game just might be different.

“We’re all high right now,” said Troupe. “We had a good celebration. You’d think we won the championship. Auburn is still a big rivalry game. Every game has gone right to the wire.

“That win meant a lot toward restoring our season. It proves we are a great team. Winning out would mean a lot to us, and to the fans.”

A big comeback, a big win, and, perhaps, a turned-around season.

All sparked by The Catch.