Gators Dominate in Every Way

Ever since last year's loss to Georgia, the Florida Gators have been reminded daily by the coaching staff of that game. They didn't flip on video of the entire Georgia roster dancing in the end zone, but they did show them clips of missed tackles and poor execution. They reminded them every day of 42 points allowed and 188 rushing yards from Knowshon Moreno.

How did the Gators respond? With their most complete win of the season and a dominating 49-10 win over the Dawgs in front of 84,649 at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

"The only thing our guys were answering to from last year was a loss, and boy, they tackled well," head coach Urban Meyer said after the game. "I'm really happy for those guys. They've proven everything that coaching is and that's to just prepare."

The Gators not only avenged their loss from a year ago, but maybe also sent a message back to Georgia. With a big lead and less than a minute to play in the fourth quarter, Meyer called his last two remaining timeouts as Tim Tebow and other Gator players led the Florida crowd in cheers. The Bulldog team was forced to stand on the sidelines for a few extra minutes and watch Florida celebrate its win.

"We didn't do anything wrong," Tebow said. "We were just playing the game."

Meyer also wouldn't acknowledge that there was any significance to the timeouts.

"Moody was running the ball real hard so I was trying to get him more carries. He deserved that," Meyer said. "We tackled really well on defense today."

Looking at the stat sheet, it would have been tough to guess that it was such a lopsided loss. Georgia outgained the Gators. They out passed them. They had fewer punts, and the won the time of possession.

But Florida won the battle of heart and emotions. The Gators played hard for 60 minutes, and when Percy Harvin caught a 25-yard pass for a touchdown to make it a 42-3 game, it was clear that Georgia had given up.

"Our guys prepared real hard, and you never expect to score that many points against a quality opponent but I had a lot of confidence because they worked their tails off," Meyer said. "I made a comment that I love this team. The admiration is starting to get real strong now. I told them I love them and I appreciate them. All a coach really wants is a professional approach, and with all the nonsense going around this week, it was awesome. Talent gets you about seven wins, discipline gets you about eight, and leadership is a good thing to have."

Florida also won the important battle of turnovers. The Gators forced four turnovers all together on the day while they didn't turn it over once. The biggest was a third quarter interception by Joe Haden while the Dawgs were putting together an impressive 98-yard drive. The Georgia offense was looking unstoppable with the Gators holding onto a 14-3 lead. From the Gator 30, Matthew Stafford tried to complete a post pattern to the end zone, but Haden jumped the route and returned it 88 yards to the Georgia 1-yard line.

"It was awesome," Meyer said. "It was a game changer because it was c lose game. They were driving the ball. We really weren't challenging those throws and then all of a sudden he throws a long one and Joe jumps the route."

Ahmad Black added a 64-yard interception return and Terron Sanders returned a fumble for 20 yards. Both plays set up the Gator offense in the red zone.

The special teams played well, too. Georgia tried an onsides kick early in the game to steal a possession away from the Gators, but Butch Rowley fell on the bouncing ball to set up another Florida score four plays later.

"We actually had a lot of work on that cause it's a big part of Kentucky's game," Meyer said.

The Gators played their most complete game of the season with strong efforts coming on offense, special teams and defense. But that seems to have become the norm since the second half against Arkansas a month ago.

"That LSU game was a complete game, last week was a complete game and then this one," Meyer said. "We grade champions and I'll tell you there's going to be a lot of them. There's a lot of overlooked guys that did great. All three phases played great."

But this was the defense's day. After being embarrassed a year ago, Florida held Georgia to 106 rushing yards, 4-of-12 on third down conversions and 2-of-4 on red zone opportunities. Yes, Stafford had a lot of passing yardage – 292 to be exact - but Florida also picked him off three times and made the big play when they had to.

"Coach Strong and his defensive staff to hold those talented players to those statistics and those turnovers as of Tuesday night they were still adjusting and preparing the game plan," Meyer said. "I thought they called a great game plan and the players executed it."

It was sweet redemption for a team that fell to their lowest of lows after last year's defeat to the Dawgs.

"It was awful," Meyer said. "Everyone talked about last year. What happened last year was we got beat. We didn't tackle very well. I don't know if you can call that defense. Our strength coach beat them up, though. It's a sign of a grown man when they take a challenge to heart, and wow, what a week of practice they had."

The offense played great, too, once again led by Tim Tebow. His stats didn't blow anyone away, but he completed an efficient 13-of-17 passing for 188 yards with two touchdowns. He rushed 12 times for 39 yards and three more touchdowns making him the career leader in rushing scores at the University of Florida.

"Tim was tremendous," Meyer said. "Tim has been tremendous pretty much all year. He's relaxed, he's playing the game. Tim Tebow is having a lot of fun. He loves the game of football, he loves the University of Florida. It's contagious. When he plays like he is, the whole offense does."

Percy Harvin also rushed for a touchdown and caught another one through the air. He compiled 37 yards on four carries and caught three passes for 52 yards.

Four different Gator receivers caught more than two passes, and three different ones were on the receiving end of touchdown passes – Louis Murphy and Deonte Thompson in addition to Harvin. Four tailbacks besides Tebow had four or more carries – Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey, Emmanuel Moody and Harvin. Moody led all rushers with 72 yards, all in the fourth quarter. He outrushed the league's best tailback Knowshon Moreno who finished with 65 yards.

It was quite a turnaround from last year's cocktail party. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Georgia side of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium was nothing but empty blue seats.

"[Last year was] probably as bad as I've ever felt in my coaching career," Meyer said. "It was awful. I didn't like the way we played. I thought we didn't play hard. All you want is for those kids to play hard and they didn't do that last year."

Also, what a difference from Florida's loss to Ole Miss five weeks ago. Since then, the Gators have now outscored opponents 201-43.

"We got beat by a team that's almost beat a lot of other teams, too, but we just couldn't close the deal," Meyer said. "We had a couple of coaches say some things that I would never say in front of mixed company. We felt like the whole team was being let down because some guys weren't playing as hard as they possibly could. They started reading things about how god they were and stopped preparing."

But everyone on Florida's roster is giving an unbelievable effort now.

"It means that we're in first place in the SEC East by ourselves," Meyer said. "It's a rivalry game. We've done pretty good against our rivals. It's a top ten team. It means a lot because this is a team."

And with a win against Vanderbilt next week, Florida will clinch a trip to Atlanta, which is their No. 1 goal.

"The way we keep guys focused around here by practicing really hard," Meyer said. "Someone asked me are we off until Tuesday, and I said no we're back here at 4:00. We have to get to Atlanta. That's the program goal."

Listen to all of Urban Meyer's comments --


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