December 17, 2009

Rambo recalls fateful play against Auburn

Bacarri Rambo doesn't remember much at all about the collision that left him motionless late in the fourth quarter of last month's game against Auburn.

Georgia wound up winning 31-24, but after his collision with Tiger running back Mario Fannin, the final score was the least of anybody's concern.

Rambo, who fortunately suffered just a concussion on the play, spoke about the incident for the first time following practice Thursday morning.

"It's like when I was down on the field I was deaf, paralyzed and blind," Rambo said. "I couldn't open my eyes. I couldn't hear nothing. I had friends tell me 'Man, you didn't hear the crown chanting Rambo?' I don't remember a thing. I couldn't hear anything."

With just over a minute left, Auburn faced a second-and-11 from the Bulldogs 23, when quarterback Chris Todd threw over the middle to Fannin who momentarily seemed to catch the ball at the goal line before the hit from Rambo jarred the ball loose.

Georgia players celebrated the play, but only for a moment upon realizing that Rambo was still crumpled on the Sanford Stadium turf.

That's just where he stayed for approximately 15 minutes while medical personnel stabilized his neck.

The sold out crowd chanted Rambo's name as he was carted off the field, but although he appeared coherent after talking to medical personnel, Rambo said he doesn't remember a thing.

"I was out of it. I know I started talking, but I was still out. I don't remember anything I was saying," said Rambo. "I don't remember anything until I woke up in the hospital and I was out of all my clothes."

Rambo's teammates breathed a collective sigh of relief.

"I saw break, he was coming for the ball, both of us were coming so I didn't want to jump because I could see he was about to make a play," fellow safety Reshad Jones said. "He just went down hard. He gave the guy a good shot."

Wide receiver Israel Troupe was watching from the sideline.

"It was gut-wrenching to see him get hurt. I saw the play. When he made it I was yelling and about to run on the field, then I saw him go down. It hurt me to see him go down because have been friends like forever," Troupe said. "But as soon as I saw him moving, I knew everything was OK."

Rambo's hit likely kept the game from going into overtime.

Once play resumed, the Bulldogs sacked Todd before a fourth-down pass was tipped away by Bryan Evans.

Rambo, who said he practiced fully with the team Thursday, expects to be ready to play against Texas A&M in the Independence Bowl.

"Oh yeah, I'm ready to go," said Rambo, who admitted he was a tad tentative about the injury when he returned to the practice field.

But no longer:

"I was, but I'm over it," he said. "I'm just getting back to playing full speed. I feel like I'm getting there because I've had contact with my head and stuff and there have been no problems."

He doesn't think there will be, either.

"I'm not thinking about that right now," he said. "I don't like to think negative. I like to think positive."

Rambo has had plenty of support.

After returning home, he checked his phone and realized he had 150 new friend requests on Facebook, countless emails and between 30 and 40 missed calls.

"Everybody was just trying to see how I was, and to let me know that they were praying for me," Rambo said. "I'm thankful for all of that."

NOTE: Defensive tackle Jeff Owens said plans on making the most of his opportunity at the Senior Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 30 in Mobile, Ala. "It's a chance for me to show my ability, turn some heads and let people know I'm really on the scene," Owens said. "I just want to get my name out there and let the scouts know who I am."

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