One more of these unranked, overmatched opponents might do it in. For the second straight week, the No. 4 Bulldogs struggled against a team they were supposed to smash, this time sneaking past UAB 16-13 on Saturday.
Last week it was Vanderbilt, which led 2-0 at halftime before
"Just take the transcript from last week's game, and I'll say
Coach Mark Richt said to open his postgame remarks.
The Blazers, despite deploying freshman quarterback Chris Williams for
his first collegiate start in front of 92,058 fans in Sanford Stadium,
proved a tougher foe than the Commodores. The Bulldogs (7-1) didn't
secure the win until the 1:54 mark of the game when Williams' rushed
pass to Bradly Chavez fell incomplete.
"Our players fought. They had to fight to win," Richt said.
everybody expected more on the scoreboard, but I don't think you can
expect more of our players as far as the effort they gave and the fight
they showed. They did what they had to do to win."
Whether it will be enough to beat the No. 25 Gators is another
"You would think we would have to play a lot better," Richt
Georgia, 4-1 in the conference, can go a long way toward clearing its
path to the SEC title game with a victory over Florida, which has won 12
of the last 13 in the series. If the Bulldogs beat the Gators (5-3, 3-2
SEC), they would then only have to win one of their two remaining league
games to win the SEC Eastern Division title.
"As soon as we got off the field, it was Florida Gators all the
said kicker Billy Bennett, who hit three field goals and one extra point
to become the school's all-time leading scorer. "The intensity level is
going to be through the roof this week."
It hasn't seemed to be that way the last two weeks, although Richt said
he "didn't see anybody loafing out there." Something was different,
"I don't think the team has been real hyped up like we usually
defensive tackle Ken Veal said. "I have to admit we played a little flat
Georgia looked sharp early, scoring on its first drive to go up 7-0
with 10:10 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs increased the lead to
10-0 on a 48-yard field goal with 14:54 left in the first half, but the
Blazers (3-5) responded with the most surprising drive of the season.
UAB took the ball at its 25-yard line with 14:49 left in the half and
drove 75 yards on 18 plays, 16 of which were runs, to pull within three
at 10-7 when Theron Dudley scored on a 1-yard run.
Coming into the game,
the Bulldogs had the nation's No. 1 defense and were the only team in
the country to have given up just one rushing touchdown.
The drive took 9 minutes, 45 seconds, which was almost two minutes
longer than any drive Georgia had given up all season and the second
longest against the Bulldogs in school records dating back to 1972.
"One big drive by them and all of a sudden things change
said defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who said his team's tackling
was below par.
UAB tied the game with a 27-yard Nick Hayes field goal on the final
play of the half and took a 13-10 lead on a 47-yard Hayes' kick with
9:52 left in the third quarter.
Georgia tied the score when Bennett hit a 29-yard field goal with 3:31
left in the third quarter and took their final lead when Bennett
connected from 31 yards with 12:57 left in the game.
The game was far from over at that point. On UAB's last drive of the
game, it moved to Georgia's 32-yard line, close enough for a tying field
goal, before a sack by Derrick White on second down knocked the Blazers
back 11 yards. Georgia forced Williams, who finished the day 12 of 21
for 97 yards, to throw two rushed incompletions to seal the victory.
"I think our guys realized, 'Hey, the ball game is on the line. We
better decide it right now,'" VanGorder said.
Georgia's offense struggled for the second straight week, compiling
just 337 yards, its lowest total of the season. Quarterback David Greene
was 20 of 33 for 221 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and
Michael Cooper led the rushing effort with 79 yards on 14 carries.
"I'm concerned without question," Richt said of his offense.
Greene, though, said he thinks the Bulldogs can pull it together in
time for Saturday's game against the Gators.
"We have a lot of confidence," he said. "We know what we
can do. It's
just we're not doing it right now. We just have to start making plays
again. We just have to get it started, and hopefully it will snowball."
Georgia Sleepwalks to another victory
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