Glory in Jacksonville
Jordan Reed, easily #2 Florida’s best football player, surged past the first down marker and toward the goal line very late at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Between him and a touchdown stood rugged senior Shawn Williams. Reed went air born as Shawn roughed him up. Concurrently, All-American Jarvis Jones caught the Gator from behind and jarred the ball loose. It was the second forced fumble by Mr. Jones; he also added 2 big fumble recoveries, 3 sacks and 13 tackles.
Undefeated Florida built a national reputation this season as a second half and run-stuffing team. Georgia yielded only a 50-yard field goal in the second half and no touchdowns in the entire game. Meanwhile, true frosh Todd Gurley gashed the Gators for a huge first quarter touchdown and nearly 120 total yards.
Florida had turned the ball over only 4 times all season while overachieving under my former classmate at UGA, Will Muschamp. #10 GEORGIA forced 6 Florida turnovers Saturday and mostly shut down the Gators respected ground attack. Coach Boom, as Muschamp is known for his Grantham-like explosive personality, dropped to 0-6 lifetime in the Cocktail Party (0-4 as player; 0-2 as coach).
Florida won 18-of-22 entering the contest, yet still had an 8-game series disadvantage. Most troubling, UGA had not won back-to-back in Jacksonville since the coaching retirement of Vince Dooley. Suddenly, Georgia controls its destiny in the SEC and owns the Gators again with consecutive wins and a full 9-game series lead (11 in J-ville). UGA goes for 3-straight over Florida next season and can win 5-of-10 against Florida, a far cry from say 1995. The period of Gator dominance is officially over!
Florida would have claimed the SEC East with a victory. Instead, UGA will be back in the ATL if we can get passed resurgent Ole Miss this Saturday for Homecoming and morbidly horrible Aubie on the plains in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry in two weeks. Our opponent looks to be the winner of the BAMA at LSU game this Saturday night on the bayou.
Murray survived the type of stretch that got us beaten badly in the second half of our last trip to the SEC championship game. He threw 3 progressively worse interceptions in a first half funk, but our defense hunkered down and gave up only 6 points. Clinging to a 7-6 lead, All-American Rambo saved Murray with an end zone pick on the half’s final play.
As the second half grew late, under a fittingly gorgeous red and orange J-Ville sunset, Georgia struck. Murray to Mitchell. Murray to Mitchell. Murray to Mitchell. TOUCHDOWN!