Georgia had to start well.
Georgia had to keep Florida's defense off balance.
Georgia's offensive line needed to be solid on a consistent basis.
Georgia had to get to Chris Leak.
Georgia's special teams needed to provide a spark.
At least the Bulldogs didn't panic.
They didn't win, either, falling 16-13.
And this mind-boggling beat goes on, Georgia scripting new ways to
stagger away from the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail party with a
This time, it was a passing game that wasn't all that much, a defense
that finally tired just in time for the biggest possession of the game,
and a missed field goal, and some painfully ill-timed penalties.
Figure this out. Georgia runs for 202 yards, runs two dozen more plays,
keeps Florida's defense on the field, and still can't win.
Petition Vince Dooley or the Southeastern Conference or whomever,
Georgia fans, and get this blessed game as far away from Halloween as
As expected, offenses struggled all game long. Georgia moved
inconsistently - although the play of Tyson Browning before he got hurt
and Kregg Lumpkin afterward was good - and Florida couldn't run the
It set up a chess match, a drama with changing plotlines.
And, of course, the stunningly mindless inquiry of Florida coach Ron
Zook after halftime by a sideline Barbie Doll about what pep talk he
gave his team at intermission, because in these rivalry games, she said,
it comes down to who wants it most. For more on cliches not even good
enough to be cliches, consult CBS.
These games often come down to plays that change things, and sometimes
more than one play. Saturday, it was the latter.
Two huge Georgia penalties helped lead to the hangover.
Bruce Thornton was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after a
third-down incompletion, and Florida went from attempting a 45-yard
field goal to reaching the 2-yard line before settling for a 24-yarder.
That's a difference of 21 yards. That's a bit easier.
Then, Odell Thurman hit wideout Carlos Perez a step late after another
incompletion, and rather than fourth down at the 14, Florida got a
first, made it to the 1, and hit an 18-yard field goal rather than try a
31-yarder, a 13-yard difference.
Neither was remotely necessary.
There were the dropped passes that would've been good for first downs.
There were busted coverages and missed tackles, and a defensive game
plan that didn't put nearly as much pressure on a freshman quarterback
as most probably expected.
And that was how the game went.
Georgia did more to Georgia than Florida did. So as far as this year's
version of "I can't believe we bleepin' lost again" goes, perhaps
the little consolation.
The rest of the season becomes more interesting, although a week off
will help with an injury list that's keeping every trainer at Georgia
Coach Mark Richt wouldn't go so far as to say that David Greene is
slumping, but he is. Sure, the offensive line is inconsistent in pass
protection, and it has no depth, and there are dropped passes.
But any guy who can look so smooth on one possession - like the
touchdown drive - and then throw behind receivers or into traffic, or
continue to eat the ball or fail to take off when there's nobody open is
in a slump.
The youth and inconsistency around him is an issue, as is what's
increasingly a sideline-oriented passing game plan that's fairly
But Saturday, again, Georgia had chances. Georgia didn't look good on
offense, the defense played well enough to win, and special teams went
through another game with perfect attendance.
And that's why Florida running back Ran Carthon danced around the field
"We own Georgia, we own Georgia."
And amazingly, what seems like a rollover lease was renewed for another
The Mind Boggling Beat Goes on.
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