ATLANTA — The Georgia Bulldogs returned to Athens today after a devastating overtime loss in the National Championship game.
Just hours after the emotional loss to the Crimson Tide, fans lined up to show their support and greeted the players with a big welcome.
As the buses rolled in around 11:20 a.m., the excitement built with DawgNation lining both sides of the street.
"We got the best fans ever," said UGA tight end Jordan Davis.
Some UGA fans took a day off from work and students skipped class to welcome the team home.
"The dawgs need love, so it's totally worth skipping class," said UGA student Hope Choi. "Totally, absolutely anything for the Dawgs."
“I really think they are deserving of love. They did play so well, so I feel really bad because they did give it their all. It’s very obvious that they tried,” said student Emily Mayville.
The players were grateful for the fans welcoming them home.
"It is awesome. Having these fans wait for us to come home -- it's a good feeling, especially after a loss like that to know we have fans that have our backs and always being there for us,” said UGA player Justin Young.
Even the youngest Georgia fans came back to welcome home their team. Dylan Davis, 7, gave Georgia wide receiver Mecole Hardman a piece of art.
"We got lots of support from our fans, and we love each and every one of them," said Hardman. "You know, it's good to see the support through the loss."
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In return for the love, Davis received a signed football.
"It felt good to support him," Davis said. "He'll do good the next game."
That is exactly the sentiment of so many fans who are taking the heartbreaking loss in overtime to Alabama in stride and saying there is always next year.
"There's something about being a Georgia Bulldog that you can't change," said UGA fan Ron Hunsinger. "Once you got it in your blood, it's there for life and I love them. I love them."
Cox Media Group