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For Ron Zook and the Florida Gators, many expected very little in their match up with undefeated Georgia. When looking at both teams on paper it would favor the Dogs except for one thing you cannot judge solely by numbers-Character and the Gators drew upon a recent history of success against Georgia and dug deep to make enough plays to take home this year's Border War 20-13. The Gator Spirit was in full force in the most important quarter of the season and Rex Grossman won another big game by engineering a 10 play 89 yard drive that was very similar to the one that finished off the Vols in Rocky Top. It is obvious this team relishes the underdog role and clings to the "Us against the World" mentality as if it is their lifeblood. Mistakes were made, field goals and extra points were missed but this year's edition of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party proves the Gators are still the mightiest.
Quarterback: A Rex was sensational and in a 19-22 first half both interceptions were still great plays-one by Pollack and the drop by Matt Jackson. When the Gators trailed 13-12 in the fourth he made sensational throws to go along with a gutsy 2 point run to take the lead from the Dogs. His biggest plays may have been a couple of tackles after his teammates turned the ball over.
Running Back: C Earnest and Ran struggled with both having fumbles. Graham was hit on the screen and Carthon's was almost really devastating. Not much running room but the effort was good and they did hang on to the ball in the fourth quarter.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: A They did not go down the field, but with the loss of their best player Taylor Jacobs the group executed the plan to perfection. Ball controlled passing and Kelvin Kight had his best day as a Gator. Carlos Perez, Antoine Sharp and Aaron Walker all made big plays. Ben Troupe made the biggest plays with his runs after catch and really energizing the team and the crowd.
Offensive Line: C They could not run block and get any movement up front. When UF did throw the ball down the field they did an average job of protection. Pollack and Sullivan were a load to handle but this thin unit hung in there and made sure their vocal leader (Shannon Snell) looked solid on his prediction.
Defense: A The entire unit shut down a very hot offense and made big plays when put in difficult situations. After the first Georgia touchdown the Gators were able to recover a fumble (Bobby McCray) score a touchdown with Guss Scott's interception the unit's third this season. They also held the Dogs to a field goal at the end of the half after Ran Carthon's fumble and in the third quarter force a missed field goal after the Earnest Graham fumble. Guss Scott, Todd Johnson, Bam Hardman, Bobby McCray and Clint Mitchell all had outstanding games. David Greene struggled and DJ Shockley looked lost and made some critical mistakes under pressure. Musa Smith did have 100 yds but the John Thompson defense was able to hold Georgia to an incredible 0-13 on third downs. The defense also had 4 sacks and 9 tackles for loss, combine that with a couple of fumbles and Scott's interception and you have dominance.
Snippets and Tidbits...
Taylor Jacobs could be out until the Florida State game. It appears to be an MCL and not require surgery but he could be back for FSU...Florida played a lot of nickel in the game using Cory Bailey and Jarvis Herring in place of outside linebacker Todd McCullough...The crow of 84,433 was the largest in the History of Florida Georgia...Florida gave up a first quarter touchdown for the first time all season...Kelvin Kight set his career high for yards in a game in the first half alone with 91...Opponents are 11 for the last 68 on third down conversions against the Florida defense...Grossman finished 36-46 339 yds, setting a career high in completion's and tying Gator Great Shane Matthews with 15 career 300 yd games...Florida can still win the SEC East with two wins against Vandy and South Carolina and a loss by Georgia to Ole Miss or at Auburn. In Ron Zook's first season as Gator Coach he has beaten Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia, all three perennial rivalry's for the Gators.
Other news: The Gators play in Nashville next week with the game being broadcast on a pay per view basis...The game is scheduled for a 2pm kickoff and the Commodores are coming off another SEC loss to Alabama. They have not won a conference game this season under first year coach Bobby Johnson. Vandy is embroiled in it's 20th consecutive losing season at 2-7 and 0-5 in the conference...The BCS is smiling after several undefeated teams went down including Georgia with Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and NC State losing. Miami, Oklahoma and Ohio St all are poised to run the table now with the Buckeyes having the easiest
Ack's Insights - 11/4/02
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