Dogs show what they’re made of in gutsy comeback win

Jarvis Jones gave a big-time performance, with four sacks. (Jason Getz / AJC)

Jarvis Jones gave a big-time performance, with four sacks. (Jason Getz / AJC)

The resiliency that has seen Georgia bounce back from an 0-2 start to challenge for the SEC East was never more evident than Saturday in Jacksonville, scene of so many Bulldog collapses in recent years.

Down by 14 points to Florida, it would have been easy and all too familiar for the Dogs to fold, but they clawed their way back into the game thanks to a stellar second-half effort by the defense that saw the Gators get just 32 yards of offense and one first down after halftime.

Florida converted only two of 13 third-down plays, and the Gators actually wound up with negative yards rushing for the day, the second time this season the Georgia defense has achieved that remarkable feat.

Linebacker Jarvis Jones was pretty much the unanimous choice for player of the game with his five solo tackles and four sacks.

The defense didn’t do it alone, of course. On a day that saw another nearly disastrous performance by Georgia’s special teams unit — with even stalwart Drew Butler having a bad day — and battered quarterback Aaron Murray having accuracy problems in the second half, the Dogs’ offense did just enough to win thanks to some clutch performances by receivers Chris Conley, Michael Bennett and Tavarres King and some gritty running by backup tailback Richard Samuel, who powered the winning drive when starter Isaiah Crowell was on the sideline, nicked up again.

As the clock wound down, it looked like Samuel might get into the end zone one more time as he drove the ball down to Florida’s 1-yard line. Here’s hoping the injury he sustained on that last play of the game that saw him helped off the field isn’t serious.

Kudos also have to go to Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo for some gutsy calls, including the unexpected pass to Conley that iced the game, as well as going for it successfully three times on fourth down, with two of those plays resulting in touchdown passes.

This was a big one, and not just because it allowed Georgia to stay in contention for the division title. As Richt put it after thanking the Lord for what happened, “I know it’s just a ball game, but it sure felt like more than a ballgame.”

Winning in Jacksonville has been an elusive goal for UGA teams over the past two decades and the Dogs certainly didn’t make it easy on themselves in this one, with a shaky defensive start, more red zone problems and missed field goal attempts, and giving up long kick returns.

But they battled back and prevailed. Richt, who all week had downplayed the pressure on his team to buck recent history in Jacksonville, admitted afterward that “it was certainly more than just another game.”

True, the Gators have now lost four straight and aren’t the powerhouse of the Tim Tebow years, but too many times in the past we’ve seen Georgia teams with superior talent somehow find a way to lose in Jacksonville. Last year, for example.

This time, they somehow found a way to overcome adversity and put that history behind them.

There’s a lot of football left to play, but a season that began in a dismal fashion now is on the verge of turning into something truly special.

Go Dogs!

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324 comments Add your comment

DawgVoiceofReason

October 29th, 2011
9:57 pm

How ’bout them Dawgs!!!

DAWG with one bag over head

October 29th, 2011
9:58 pm

Samuel showed us all what we’ve been missing. Hopefully that attitude will be contagious. Great win!

DawgVoiceofReason

October 29th, 2011
9:58 pm

As the late, great Jackie Gleason used to say, “How Sweet It Is!!!”. Ugly, ugly win but the end result was awesome. Great plays by Jarvis Jones on D, and Michael Bennet and Tavares King on the touchdown catches. Murray made the perfect passes when we absolutely HAD to have them. Defense was LIGHTS OUT after the first half; Gators were completely shut down!!! Coach Richt made some really gutsy calls, going for it on 4th down 3 times and going for the first down to run out the clock. He kept the team together and didn’t panic. Ogletree and S. Williams made huge plays to cause/recover Fla. fumbles.

Gotta love it!!! Go Dawgs!!!!

CardDawg

October 29th, 2011
9:58 pm

Chickenman

October 29th, 2011
10:00 pm

1st, go dawgs…dome2dome baby

pdawg

October 29th, 2011
10:03 pm

Samuel Samuel Samuel……way to go dawg!!!!!! it was just fun watching the guy run….wow

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ChattaDawg

October 29th, 2011
10:07 pm

Special teams needs a lot of work….some coach (coach Richt) has to be responsible for them. Is Bogatay still on the roster? Sit Walsh and give him a try. Can’t be any worse.

Still beating Florida ugly is a good thing!

Go Dawgs!

atlanta dawg

October 29th, 2011
10:10 pm

GO Dawgs!!!!! Looking like the junkyard dogs of yesteryear!!!

Macclenny_dawg

October 29th, 2011
10:12 pm

I will take a win over the Gaytors anyday!!! But there is a lot of improvement 2 be made!!! Special teams are awful. Bobo and his play calling stinks!!! 2nd and 5 or more always a run!!! But we did win so maybe we have got the talent to overcome our coaching!!! Go Dawgs!!!

Old Coach

October 29th, 2011
10:15 pm

I sure would like to be sitting by all of the experts that can call every play that Coach Bobo sends in! Where is the great Charlie (the Gator savior) tonight? Bobo did a super job today and if you can’t see it you are football ignorant! Great joj Dogs!!!

Old Coach

October 29th, 2011
10:16 pm

tjhook

October 29th, 2011
10:19 pm

Glad to see the fight from the team, especially on the defense. Showed a lot of grit in the second half. Decision making was shaky but the effort was definitely there. enjoyed the effort.

RevCritter

October 29th, 2011
10:27 pm

Hey Bill, I look forward to reading you everyday. Why do we not have a Special Teams Coach?

DawgVoiceofReason

October 29th, 2011
10:28 pm

Before the game (and during it!), we had a lot to be worried about. In hindsight, though, I can’t believe I was worried about Charlie Weis’s offense. After some early success, we adjusted and just crushed their offense, making it look pathetic. Great job, Coach Grantham!

GulfShoresALDawg

October 29th, 2011
10:30 pm

Bobo was better than Weis! Tough to say but he was! But we got to get out of between the tackles 995 of the time…more reverses, pitch outs,reverse pitch back to Murray, come on get dang creative!!! Go Dawgs, I am proud of all of you … Great to be a UGA Dawg!

Cuz

October 29th, 2011
10:39 pm

All games are must win. But this must win is just a little more special.

Jimmy

October 29th, 2011
10:39 pm

Ugly win. Great day for Georgia. Bobo lucky he didn’t lose. Bono is terrible oc. We will never win big with booboo. He will eventually cost Richt his job. Bobo is a joke. He was lucky today but luck won’t cut it long.

Cuz

October 29th, 2011
10:42 pm

At least next year Florida will feel like this is a rivalry.

Twilb Dawg

October 29th, 2011
10:42 pm

Way to go Dawgs! I couldn’t be happier! What a gutsy win!

Cuz

October 29th, 2011
10:43 pm

When did Bono leave U-2 and become our OC?

Old Coach

October 29th, 2011
10:43 pm

@ Jimmy
Just how was Bobo lucky? He did a very good job today! I guess you think every play should end up as 6 points! You have NO clue.

Spike 80DF

October 29th, 2011
10:45 pm

big win Dawgs…this time I don’t have to delete it off the DVR, this should help get thru basketball season.

memphisdawg

October 29th, 2011
10:47 pm

Good win … go DAWGS!

IRty

October 29th, 2011
10:49 pm

Seriously can’t believe uga came back for win. Not like Dawgs of last few years. Awesome

Dawg Gone

October 29th, 2011
10:51 pm

Mr. Samuel, you are a Junkyard Dawg. I hope the leg is ok. Would have rather seen the team help Richard off the field instead of doing the Lambo leap there at the end. Conley, Brown, Bennett, King…all outstanding. I’m really curious about Malcome. What exactly has to happen for this young man to get a shot?

Mike

October 29th, 2011
10:52 pm

Great win for Coach Richt and the Dawgs! You Bobo haters need to give it a break. great win for the Bulldog nation!

joe cox

October 29th, 2011
11:01 pm

man i love the dogs

Dawg48

October 29th, 2011
11:06 pm

Hey bill, how about Richard ( one yard and a cloud of dust ) samuels now buddy? How about an apology to the guy?

Frost byte

October 29th, 2011
11:08 pm

Wow! Florida was worse than we were. What is the average number of plays called by coach Bobo that go up the middle? Someone please call former Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano to see if he is free to look at a little problem we’re having! Also, hey Kevin Butler, while your out visiting your son this week, could you possibly speak to Walsh? He’s in a funk that maybe you can help him out of. On the bright side, we had very few penalties.

Helmand Dawg

October 29th, 2011
11:13 pm

Very proud of the defense and their pursuit. Bobo made a good adjustment by picking up the blitz in the second half. That said we have to have Crowell run the ball 20x’s a game. We have to get Malcolm Mitchell healthy to stretch defenses. Murray and his tight ends have to get in sync. Teams are going to blitz us relentlessly if we cannot find relief routes for Murray. I don’t know where to begin on special teams. Great win, but we have a lot of work to do. GATA

Kenny Powers

October 29th, 2011
11:17 pm

First time in years that a group of Richt’s players performed as a team. The D picked up for the O. The younger receivers stepped it up and made big plays. Men went down and men stepped up.
Been watching Murray since PeeWee ball and have to say that was the worst that I’ve ever seen him play, but you know what? A team was out there and stepped up and they won as a team.
Don’t know what’s up with Crowell! He disappears during games and all of a sudden he’s back in with no signs of an injury. Unless this kid gets a serious attitude adjustment, or maybe it’s as simple as getting into playing shape, something is not right with him. Right now I don’t think he’s playing as part of this team, rather I think it’s all about him. Hope I’m wrong, or I hope he changes.
Great team victory…congrats. BTW gutsy performance by Brantley out there today!

Alabamadawg

October 29th, 2011
11:19 pm

I think Gary Danielson said it best, when he said Georgia needs to come up with some money and get a special teams coach. PLEASE !! Also, sit Walsh down and let our other kicker try a few field goals.

Tater Tot

October 29th, 2011
11:24 pm

I love Chip Towers headline “Georgia edges Gators”. Edging is fun if you do it right.

Dawg89

October 29th, 2011
11:26 pm

You have to wonder how many more times Richt can send out Walsh to miss another field goal. No other player would be allowed to perform so poorly at his position.

Congratulations to the Dawgs for a great win.

Old Coach

October 29th, 2011
11:26 pm

Dawg48
That is exactly right! Very poor of ole Bill! Samuels is a TEAM guy and never should have that crap said about him. Talk about NO class.

Frost byte

October 29th, 2011
11:37 pm

@ Dawg89 Walsh is still a great kicker! It’s all in his head. All kickers go through this and only need a mentor to help them work it out. He’s worth the work!

UGA 24 UF 20

October 29th, 2011
11:46 pm

Chomp on that, Beeyatches.

Dawg48

October 29th, 2011
11:48 pm

Old coach
You will never here that from bill king!

DawgByte

October 29th, 2011
11:52 pm

Is anyone else sensing that Crowell is a prima-donna. If the defense blows hard enough on Crowell he’s looking for the sideline. Somebody needs to strap some balls on that boy, because he ain’t got a pair.

Georgia as a program is said to be worth $483,000,000, second only to Texas… how about investing in a Special Teams coach, because whoever’s in charge needs to be fired! The only thing worse than Georgia’s Special Teams is Florida’s offense. Net 62 yards in the second half – ouch. Galen Hall would be embarrassed to field a Gator team this bad. Muschump has even more work to do than Richt.

I love beating the Gators, but we’ve got a long way to go as a football team and a program. Enjoy the victory boys!

Numberwang

October 29th, 2011
11:58 pm

I nominate Jarvis Jones for Heisman!!! He’s been the most consistent player for UGA all year and had a monster game for us today. All four sacks were huge and the pressure he was able to put on Brantley caused him to throw off target. Jones doesn’t jump and down like a fool, he just gets the job done, down after down. We need a whole team of Jarvis Jones’, because he’s something special.

Hats off to Grantham and the D for making great Halftime adjustments. With the play of our “Special” Teams, who could have been down 3 or 4 TD’s, but the D didn’t get down they just cracked heads. Tree’s sack looked like he was shot out of a canon. Well done.

Muschump is eating crow for dinner!

(((24-20))) Love it baby!

BOBBY

October 30th, 2011
12:05 am

EVERYBODY HERE SHOULD BE HAPPY UGA FINALLY BEAT FLORIDA AND THE WAY THINGS LOOK, THEY CAN EASILY WIN THEIR LAST 4 GAMES AND BE 10-2.

athdog

October 30th, 2011
12:05 am

I hereby apologize to Richard Samuel IV. When we had to have a running back with grit and heart, he came through. Crowell has quickness to the edge, great cutting ability, and not much heart, it seems.
Maybe Bogotay is going to redshirt, we need him next year!
Finally, the NCAA only allows a certain number of coaches, I believe. Perhaps this is why we don’t have a dedicated special teams coach. I’d say we need one, though.
Nice win, Go Dogs

athdog

October 30th, 2011
12:08 am

Richard, the Cass High Colonels are proud of you tonight, young man!!!

trueUGAfan

October 30th, 2011
12:10 am

Bill King how does crow taste???

wreckmaniac

October 30th, 2011
12:21 am

Darn . Just when UGA finally gets a win over Florida, they get upstaged by Tech. There’s just nothing good about being a dawg.

wreckmaniac

October 30th, 2011
12:23 am

Athdawg: Great point. Samuel showed Crowell today what a real running back does in Div 1 football.
Crowell should have been redshirted.

wreckmaniac

October 30th, 2011
12:26 am

Who is the 300 lb UGA lineman that is 22 years old and is a sophmore ?

Sam

October 30th, 2011
12:28 am

Hate to point out the downsides in a win, especially one over Florida but
1) Walsh is terrible this year.
2) Murray was terrible in this game and I think he has regressed. Missed several open receivers. Receivers saved him a few times (which does happen to all QBs, at least those not named Luck or Moore).
3) Richt has got to re-think his philosophy on not having a special teams coach. He also needs to put better defensive players on special teams. In the SEC, there are just too many athletes on the other teams to have walk-ons and 3rd stringers trying to play against Demps and Rainey. The definition of insanity…
4) Some poor tackling. First pass play of the game, the little screen that went 72 yards: the DB missed Demps in the backfield and Demps did not even make much of a move to avoid the tackler.

Go Dawgs.