Dawgs stumble out of 2nd half gates again

JACKSONVILLE, FL. – As bad as Georgia has been on its opening possession of the second half, Saturday was the worst yet.

Florida's Ray McDonald corralled a Kregg Lumpkin fumble on the Bulldogs' first play of the third quarter and ran 9 yards for a touchdown – extending a string of Georgia mishaps to start the half that have been nothing short of disastrous.

"I just couldn't believe it," Georgia coach Mark Richt said of Lumpkin's fumble. "(I thought), ‘I just can't believe what I just saw.'"

For the fourth straight game, Georgia started the third quarter inside its own 20. And for the third time in those four, a Bulldog turnover on that possession directly contributed to an opponent's touchdown.

Georgia turned the ball over deep in its own territory against both Tennessee and Vanderbilt, which both teams' offenses converted into touchdowns. This time, the opponent's offense didn't even need to take the field to capitalize.

Lumpkin fumbled when he was hit in the backfield by Florida's Derrick Harvey, with McDonald picking up the loose ball and rambling in for the score that put Florida up 21-0. The junior tailback also lost a fumble to open the second half against Vanderbilt, resulting in the Commodores' offense scoring the go-ahead touchdown.

"If I hadn't fumbled right there, who knows what would have happened?" Lumpkin asked. "We could have drove the ball down and scored and it could have been a closer game than what it was."

Saturday was the sixth time in nine games that Georgia has started inside its own 20 on its first possession of the second half. The Bulldogs have turned the ball over five of those times.

The three times the Bulldogs have started the half past their own 20, they've scored each time.

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