Defense, special teams lead Gators to victory

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- Linebacker Brandon Siler and his defensive cohorts made a fourteen point promise to their offensive teammates, and true to their word, delivered. What started out in jest at practice became reality as the Gators upset fourth ranked and previously undefeated Georgia 14-10. Despite the silver anniversary of "Run, Lindsay, Run," the silver britches bunch were defeated for the fourteenth time in the last sixteen meetings. ALSO: Listen in on the field when the game ends!

"When they (the Florida offense) put fourteen points on the board, I felt like we had won the game," Siler said. "Our defense is not supposed to give up fourteen points. We told them if they score two touchdowns, we'll win the game. We held our word and they scored their fourteen points and we won the game."

"It was more of a we walk around with that swagger saying, "Ya'll give us two touchdowns, it's over. Give us two touchdowns, it's over. Chris, give us two touchdowns." You know that swagger? Playing around, but still getting things done type of thing."

The Florida defense finished, which was something they hadn't done very often the past three years. They bent at times in the second half, but remember that it took a trick play in the third quarter for Georgia to score their only touchdown of the game. And even that went upstairs for review.

The Bulldogs were beaten through much of the first half where three punts and an interception ended four of their first five possessions. Quarterback Joe Tereshinski completed only 3 of 11 for 41 yards in the half. Yet another of Tereshinski pass fell into the arms of first time starter at strong safety Reggie Nelson, who played a superb game in the place of Kyle Jackson, who did not play.

Georgia played the possession game in the second half. The Dawgs controlled the clock for 19:10 to the Gators 10:50. They rolled up 106 yards on the ground and 68 more through the air. But, they failed to capitalize and score points. A Florida defense that had demonstrated the propensity to give up the big play, kept everything in front of them.

Florida punter Eric Wilbur, right, takes off on a fake punt in the third quarter as Georgia's Bryan McClendon, left, moves in to make the tackle, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2005, in Jacksonville, Fla. Florida won, 14-10.(AP Photo/Phil Coale)

"The (Georgia) defense shut them out and the offense was able to move the ball and get into the endzone with Jo T's play," Georgia Coach Mark Richt said afterward. "We missed some makeable field goals, but overall our fight and spirit was commendable."

Linebacker Brian Crum came into the game for the injured Earl Everett and played very well. Siler admitted that he was touching base with Crum before plays, drawing in the dirt and telling him what to do. It wasn't pretty, but it was very effective.

The Gators also rolled out another impressive effort by the special teams.

Punter Eric Wilbur should earn the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week award. Wilbur pinned Georgia back with four punts that landed inside the twenty yard line. He also took a fake punt 20 yards and gave the defense an additional rest. Wilbur's run was the second longest running play from scrimmage for the Gators in the second half.

Punt return specialist Vernell Brown had his best play of the season as he picked up 59 yards on three returns. Brown tallied one more yard than Georgia did on their three kickoff returns.

Furthermore, a couple of misses by Georgia field goal kicker Brandon Coutu made things much easier for the Florida effort. The Gators didn't offer up an opportunity to return the favor when they were in field position late in the game. Instead, the Gators opted for field possession and the promise of a solid defense.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was recorded on the field at the end of The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Georgia had the ball for their final possession. I thought that I'd make a few notes on my Palm as the final two or three plays were completed. Not. As usual, the noise was far too deafening!! Click to listen in...

Fightin Gators Top Stories