The Bulldogs entire team stormed onto the field to celebrate in the end zone, complete with mock Gator chomping and taunting everywhere. Penalty flags flew - the Bulldogs would be forced to kick off from their own seven and a half as a result of their foolish display.
Considering the praise Mark Richt had received from all corners for ordering his players to stop celebrating after their recent Vanderbilt win by jumping on the Commodores logo, surely he would be mortified by the total lack of class as well as the loss of valuable field position. Yet, incredibly, Richt revealed he had ordered the players to celebrate their first score. It was like something out of pro wrestling, where the "good guy" turns heel.
Asked if Richt had approved picking up unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, Georgia runningback Knowshown Moreno said, "He said we could get one, and I guess that's what the guys decided to do."
They got more than just one. With five penalties for 67 yards in the first quarter, the Bulldogs did just about everything, but hit Florida over the head with a chair. Richt may have fired his team up, but he cost himself a lot of respect from anyone who saw that display. One thing's for sure - if this rivalry had gotten stale, it's not an issue any more. This will be a rallying point for Gator fans for years.
NO MOORE CARRIES FOR FUMBLERS
After a Kestahn Moore fumble on Florida's first drive set up Georgia's opening scoring drive from UF's 39, Urban Meyer kept the running back in the game. After a failure to catch a slightly high direct snap led to another fumble which cost Florida 12 yards on a 1st-and-10 from the Georgia 13 late in the first quarter, Moore was put on ice for the remainder of the game other than special teams work.
TRICKS NEVER A TREAT
If there's a team that consistently has less success with gimmick plays than Florida, it's hard to think of them. With the coaching staff clearly trying to protect Tim Tebow's shoulder, the Gators motioned Tebow out from shotgun and direct snapped to other players.
In addition to Moore's fumble, which led to UF having to punt after having had a first down at Georgia's 13, Florida was forced to burn a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty while Percy Harvin was awaiting the snap. The wrinkle didn't seem to surprise or confuse Georgia at all. On 4th-and-2 from Georgia's 25, Florida appeared to attempt another trick play as Andre Caldwell took a handoff and appeared to be looking to reverse it to Percy Harvin but had to pull it back when Harvin was knocked off course by a Georgia defender. The play lost three yards, giving Georgia possession and wasting a scoring opportunity.
One big positive for Florida in this game was the continued emergence of Jarred Fayson. One week after successfully fighting for a third down conversion against Kentucky, the sophomore had his most productive SEC game to date with three catches for 62 yards.
Fayson's first catch was a beautiful leaping grab for a 25-yard gain on a ball Tim Tebow threw poorly, showing progress after dropping a much easier pass just a week earlier. Urban Meyer said of Fayson, "It's good to see him play well."
BYE BYE BYE
For the first time in years, Georgia not only had a bye leading into this game but also had Florida coming in without the benefit of one. It appeared to help the Bulldogs a great deal. The good news for Gator fans is that it was a one year thing.
While UF will play Kentucky again next year in Gainesville prior to the Georgia game, the Bulldogs will face LSU in Baton Rouge the week prior to their matchup with Florida in 2008.
ATLANTA NOT IMPOSSIBLE
While Florida no longer controls their own fate for a possible SEC Championship shot, their chances aren't anywhere close to finished. Kentucky's surprise loss to Mississippi State makes the possibility of multiple three loss teams ending the year with the Eastern Divsion lead quite possible.
Georgia also still has conference games with Auburn and Kentucky in Athens after facing Troy next week, and could conceivably lose both.
In a one-on-one situation Florida would lose a tiebreaker with Georgia, but if multiple teams have three losses the first tiebreaker is head-to-head record among all the teams involved. With losses already to South Carolina and Tennessee, the Bulldogs could potentially be out before it gets to a one-on-one with UF, especially if they stumble against Kentucky.
BOWLING WITH THE ZOOKER
If you're one of those who still roots for former Gator head coach Ron Zook, you're happy today. Zook's Illinois squad defeated Ball State to pick up win number six and become bowl eligible - which UF actually isn't yet although it's certainly not in doubt. If UF isn't going to be in a BCS game you can count on speculation about a potential Zook-Meyer showdown in the Capital One or, more likely, Outback Bowl.
THAT LOOKED FAMILIAR
When Wondy Pierre-Louis returned his interception of Matthew Stafford for a touchdown, he capped the return with a forward flip into the Georgia end zone. The flag for an inappropriate celebration was thrown immediately.
While it was a terrible decision by Pierre-Louis and one of two 15-yard penalties he picked up on the day, he might have been taking his cue from last year's Auburn game.
You might remember Auburn's Tre Smith did the exact same thing last season against Florida while scoring off a blocked punt. Not only was he not penalized, the play got named "Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year."
UF/UGA: Odds and Ends
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