ATHENS — The owners of Alumni Cookie Dough knew there would be some Ohio State blowback over their new “Bullard’s Buckeye Crunch” promotion, but they have been taken aback by the level of vitriol they’ve encountered.
Jennifer and Mike Dollander own the Athens-based dessert franchise that contracted with Georgia star Javon Bullard to create a special flavor of edible cookie dough to commemorate Bullard’s hit on Ohio State star Marvin Harrison Jr. in the College Football Playoff semifinals in December. Harrison suffered a concussion on the play and did not return. The Bulldogs rallied to outscore the Buckeyes 18-3 in the fourth quarter on the way to a 42-41 victory.
Ohio State fans got wind of Alumni Cookie Dough’s promotion and the backlash has been intense. The owners say they’ve received harassing phone calls to their Athens restaurant, and they’ve been receiving multiple one-star reviews on Google.
“I was at the café when we received a phone call from a woman threatening us and telling us she was going to ruin us and that we were horrible people,” Jennifer Dollander said Thursday. “So that prompted me to make a script for our employees that’s right by the phone if somebody else like that calls.”
The messages on their restaurant’s Facebook page have been even worse.
“One guy called us ‘ignorant Southern crackers’ and said the best thing that ever happened to Georgia was when Sherman burned it to the ground,” Dollander said, laughing. “What they don’t realize is for every negative comment like that, the Dawg Nation loves it that much more.”
Google won’t take down reviews with comments. So, the Dollanders have turned to social media to encourage Georgia fans to counter the negative reviews with positive ones.
“If they have enjoyed Alumni Cookie Dough, please give us a 5-star review,” she said.
Bullard’s pass break-up against the Buckeyes has been the focus of controversy since it occurred in the third quarter of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Harrison, who had given the Bulldogs fits in the first half, was open in the back of the end zone when quarterback C.J. Stroud, under a heavy pass rush, delivered a high-arcing floater. Coming from Harrison’s right, Bullard abandoned his coverage and ran full speed to catch up to the throw. He arrived precisely at the time the ball reached Harrison. A violent collision ensued, and Harrison was knocked out briefly. He left the game with a concussion and did not return.
Initially flagged as targeting, the call was overturned by video review. Slow-motion replay revealed Bullard struck Harrison shoulder-to-shoulder and did not launch, or lead with the crown of his helmet or make contact with his helmet to any part of Harrison’s head.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day complained during and after the game and for weeks afterward that it should have been called targeting. Harrison has said since that it was a good football play and he had no hard feelings.
The Dollanders said the creation of Bullard’s Buckeye Crunch was “all in good fun.” The restaurant contracted an NIL deal with the Bulldogs’ star defensive back to sell the special cookie-dough concoction for a two-week period until the annual G-Day spring game April 15. On April 16, a drawing will be held for an autographed football signed by Bullard.
That promotion will continue.
“It’s really disappointing getting a bunch of one-star reviews from people who probably haven’t even been to the state of Georgia,” Jennifer Dollander said. “All we are doing is celebrating the Bulldogs. But so many Georgia people have been so supportive and nice and we really appreciate it.”
Dawg Tags: The AJC presents a daily look at the one thing you need to know about Georgia athletics today.
About the Author