It took eight games for the Georgia defense that everyone expected to see this season to finally show up, but when they did Saturday in Jacksonville it was with a vengeance.
Led by a reasonably healthy Jarvis Jones, who racked up 13 tackles (five for loss), three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, the Dawgs’ D held the No. 2 ranked Gators to just three field goals. That made it possible for Georgia to win the game despite Aaron Murray having a nightmare first half in which he threw three picks.
Just think what the score could have been it hadn’t taken until the fourth quarter for Murray to get on track.
Lots of kudos to go around after what Mark Richt described with a bit of understatement as a “pretty big win.”
First of all, let’s hope someone gave a game ball to Shawn Williams, who provided the spark for a Georgia defense that had been underperforming up to now. Credit is also due to defensive coordinator Todd Grantham for calling a very aggressive game, with lots of strategic blitzes that played havoc with the Florida offense.
Georgia didn’t have a big day offensively, making only one of 10 third-down conversions, but that one was the touchdown that put the game away. A big thumbs-up to Mike Bobo for having the courage to put the game in Murray’s hands in the fourth quarter and let the Georgia quarterback keep throwing the ball despite his earlier miscues.
And let’s not forget Malcolm Mitchell, whose tough open-field running and breaking of a couple of tackles was responsible for that 45-yard touchdown pass, or tailback Todd Gurley, who never broke a long one but ground out 118 yards on 27 carries against a really tough Gators defense and scored on Georgia’s first drive.
It’s a great win for Georgia, giving the Dawgs two in a row in Jacksonville and putting them back in control of their own destiny in the SEC East.
It certainly wasn’t a pretty game, with a combined 24 flags and nine turnovers. But, thanks to the fiery play of the Bulldogs defense, six of those nine were committed by the Gators, with Georgia creating a couple of huge end zone take-aways — an interception to end the first half and Jones stripping the ball from Florida’s Jordan Reed as the Gator tight end was headed toward the goal line.
It was the kind of hard-earned slobberknocker victory that resonates through the ages, and it put to rest the idea that Richt’s teams can’t beat Top 10 teams.
Feels great, doesn’t it? But then you know what they say about Bulldogs and Saturday nights …
Feel free to share your own thoughts on the big win over the Gators.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg