Dawgs fall to Florida again: News and Notes

JACKSONVILLE - Josh Kendall's news and notes from Georgia's 21-14 loss to Florida.

As hopeless as Georgia's 14-0 halftime deficit seemed, it could have been worse if not for some help from Florida's receiving corps.

The Gators dropped three passes in the half, all on third-down plays that could have extended Florida drives.

That became the theme of the rest of the night for the Gator offense. After converting both of their thirds on a game-opening touchdown drive, the Gators were just 2-for-12 on third down the rest of the night.

"I think we had a bunch of mistakes in the first half in open space and in the second half we kind of limited those," said Georgia linebacker Tony Taylor, who ended one Florida series with a third-down interception at the Georgia 48.

A pair of freshmen – Percy Harvin and Jarred Fayson – was responsible for two drive-ending drops. The third belonged to Andre Caldwell, who made one of his few mistakes in the first half with a drop on third-and-7 at Florida's 27.

The junior receiver scored both of Florida's offensive touchdowns, on a 12-yard reverse run and a 40-yard pass. He ended the game with 116 yards of total offense – 88 receiving on eight catches and 28 rushing on five attempts.

OFF DAY: Georgia isn't used to losing the punting battle, but it did Saturday. Senior Gordon-Ely Kelso, a Ray Guy Award candidate coming into the season, averaged 38.9 yards on seven kicks. He had kicks of 36, 33 and 26 yards.

"I don't know if Gordon has been the same since we had a couple (punts) blocked," Richt said. "I think he's been a little less settled back there. Since that time, I really haven ‘t seen Gordy knock it out of there with the consistency we used to."

Florida kicker Eric Wilbur averaged 45.2 yards on six kicks and even his bad kicks turned out well. A 35-yard punt in the third quarter bounced off the back foot of an unsuspecting Kelin Johnson and was recovered by Florida's Reggie Nelson with 2:01 left in the third quarter.

Richt wrote off that turnover as a bad break.

"(Return man) Mikey Henderson maybe could have done a better job communicating, but even if a guy is telling you to get out of the way, you don't know which way to go if you can't see the ball," Richt said.

UNLIKELY LEADER: With his third-quarter interception, senior linebacker Tony Taylor extended his team lead in interceptions with four overall. Taylor's pick came with the Bulldogs' trailing 21-0 and started a brief Bulldog rally.

"In the first half, it seemed like they had everything going their way," Taylor said. "(In the second half) we got in a groove. Nobody was looking around for one person to make a play. Everybody was bouncing around trying to make a play themselves. I think when you get that on defense, it's hard to stop."

THIS AND THAT: Matthew Stafford became just the fourth true freshman quarterback to start the Georgia-Florida game for the Bulldogs. He joined Quincy Carter (1998), Eric Zeier (1991) and Johnny Rauch (1945). … Stafford was credited with the first reception of his career after catching his own pass which was deflected. … Danny Ware started in place of Asher Allen as kickoff returner. … Redshirt freshman wide receiver Michael Moore made the first catch of his career in the third quarter, making a 19-yard grab good for a first down.

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