Third straight win over Gators sweet for Dogs, no matter how close

Todd Gurley scores on a big first-quarter play for the Dogs. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Todd Gurley scores on a big first-quarter play for the Dogs. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

The Dogs’ hard-fought, fractious 23-20 win Saturday over Florida in Jacksonville left UGA fans about as gassed as Todd Gurley, but that didn’t make Georgia’s third consecutive victory in the fabled series any less sweet.

Yes, the Bulldogs took their eyes off the prize for about a quarter and a half in the second half, just as surely as Artie Lynch took his eyes off the ball on that dropped screen pass that turned into a fumbled lateral and gave the Gators the big break they needed to get them back into the game.

And with the Gator players constantly trying to provoke Georgia players into dead-ball infractions, there’s no doubt that the Bulldogs lost composure for most of the dismal third quarter.

But in the end it was another big game that ended with Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs offense killing more than 8 minutes of clock with a scrappy fourth-quarter drive that preserved a win.

I don’t know if they still give game balls to heroes of a hallowed Bulldog victory, but if they do I’d say senior split end Rhett McGowan definitely deserves one for that clutch catch on a third-and-7 play on Georgia’s final clock-killing drive when he broke a tackle and fought hard to get the much-needed first down. McGowan caught another ball for a first down earlier on that drive and also had a big reception late in the first half to set up the Marshall Morgan field goal that wound up being the Georgia’s last points for the day and the margin of victory.

Another game ball ought to go to Corey Moore for the big sack he got on Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy on a third-and-12 safety blitz (the Dogs’ fourth sack of the day), forcing a Gators punt on a drive where they had looked ready to take control of the game.

And don’t forget tailback Gurley, returning to play after a month off with an injured ankle. A 73-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter left the great Georgia running back wiped out physically, but he gamely returned to the fray in the second half, and though he was obviously running on fumes, he still managed to gut out a third-down conversion by the tip of the football on that final Georgia drive thanks to his second effort. Gurley wound up the day with 100 yards on 17 carries and three receptions for another 87 yards that make him the Dogs’ leading receiver of the day in yardage.

Will Muschamp still hasn't been on the winning side in Jacksonville. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

Will Muschamp still hasn't been on the winning side in Jacksonville. (Curtis Compton / AJC)

So, despite a strong start by Georgia in the first half, the game ended up being a lot closer than it needed to be. But having predicted the Dogs would win by less than a touchdown, I can’t say I was particularly surprised (though perhaps a bit disappointed in the way the Gators managed to flip the momentum). That’s just the nature of Georgia-Florida games.

Bottom line: Will Muschamp is still 0-fer in this series. And Murray joins John Rauch and Buck Belue in the pantheon of Georgia quarterbacks with at least three wins over that hated Gators.

Really, Bulldog Nation, isn’t that reason enough to cheer these Dawgs?

Got something you want to discuss concerning the Dawgs? Or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

200 comments Add your comment

DawgVoiceofReason

November 2nd, 2013
8:10 pm

Dawgs WIN!!!!

Roswell Dawg

November 2nd, 2013
8:14 pm

Great win but a little less than satisfying since the Dawgs let them back in the game. Totally disgusted with Lynch’s self-absorbed, cry-baby lateral move and missing the block on the sack. He’s one of our leaders? He needs to ride the bench. At least the fourth or fifth major bad play he’s made this season..

DawgVoiceofReason

November 2nd, 2013
8:19 pm

We went from domination in the first half to desperation in the second half, but it was great to beat Florida, and it’s always great to be a “gator hater”. I was proud of the fight in the defense. They gave everything they had, despite the offensive collapse in the third quarter. Coach Bobo’s play calling was inspired in the first half and expired in the second half. I couldn’t believe the horrible call that led to the safety, regardless of whether there was a blocking mistake. You don’t ever call a slow developing play that leaves your QB blind to half the field in his own endzone. That was just plain stupid. I also don’t understand how it is possible to come out of a timeout on fourth down and have too many men on the field. Just terrible. But, again, I will take the win over Florida any day of the week and any way it happens!

Go Dawgs!!!

dawgfan

November 2nd, 2013
8:19 pm

Roswell Dawg, don’t expect any consequences for Lynch. Accountability is not Richt’s thing. It’s why we keep seeing the same boneheaded mistakes over and over and over again.

Hawaii Dog

November 2nd, 2013
8:20 pm

Enter your comments here

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 2nd, 2013
8:22 pm

Glad to get this win; the most important one of every season

Hawaii Dog

November 2nd, 2013
8:22 pm

So many fans forget that there are other great players on the other team. I do agree that Bobo has to stay aggressive and we never seem to make adjustments at the half, but we did what we had to to win. Still in the race for the East!

DawgVoiceofReason

November 2nd, 2013
8:25 pm

Now we need to go win the rest of our games and let the chips fall where they may, in terms of bowl positioning. Bill had asked the question previously, but if we win out, this will still be a very good (although disappointing) season, given the massive and devastating injuries we’ve had to endure.

Jay in VA

November 2nd, 2013
8:25 pm

Enter your comments here

DawgDaddy

November 2nd, 2013
8:25 pm

A win is a win, but……watching FSU playing right now……the Dawgs are not in the same universe as the Noles

Jep Palmer

November 2nd, 2013
8:26 pm

Defense made Florida’s pitiful offense almost look good.

dawggirl

November 2nd, 2013
8:26 pm

Well, I guess it wouldn’t be GA/FLA without the drama that ensued. I have to admit I was worried, but they did what they needed, gutted it up and toughed it out. Good for them. Three wins in a row in this series is huge considering it hasn’t happened in so long. Kudos to Gurley, Garrison Smith, and Rhett McGowan.

If I had to complain about one thing, it would be the jawing and unnecessary unsportsmanlike conduct. Really? That’s just so not needed.

playa

November 2nd, 2013
8:27 pm

UF playas are a bunch of classless thugs, taking on the persona of their head coach.

Law Dawg

November 2nd, 2013
8:28 pm

Thank the lord for the win but the half time locker room conversation had to go something like this. “Ok boys, we have a 20 point lead. We’re gonna sit on it and run the ball up the middle like we have all year”. There is no creativity in Georgia’s play calling or game planning, nor are their any halftime adjustments. Bobo and Grantham are jokes as coordinators in major college football and Richt has to be blind not to see it. Congratulations to the players for a hard fought game. The coaches need a wake up call. I’m so tired of watching them lose or almost lose games because they are scared.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 2nd, 2013
8:29 pm

Hawaii Dog,

Good point. While Florida’s offense is tepid, there defense is stout and we took it to them early on. The offensive line showed what it is capable of, opening holes for Gurley and Douglas and protecting Murray. They need to maintain that same intensity going forward, not just part of the game.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 2nd, 2013
8:30 pm

playa,

Agreed about the classless players for UF. Our guys need to learn not to get caught up in that junk.

dawgfan

November 2nd, 2013
8:31 pm

It’s fine to be happy with the win. I am too. But let’s please not pretend that we beat a good team today.

That’s all I ask Kool Aiders.

GoForTwo

November 2nd, 2013
8:32 pm

Great play by McGowan at the end of the half when the Florida defender was trying to stand him up and have the clock expire and McGowan threw himself to the ground, stopping the clock.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 2nd, 2013
8:32 pm

dawggirl,

Yes, 3 wins seemed like it would never happen again. Let’s make it 4 next year!

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 2nd, 2013
8:42 pm

This program is nothing more than a 2 or more loss program until we get

an OC that is consistent in every game; throughout the game; instead of being aggressive a qtr or two then going all out conservative

a DC that can stop someone when you need it

Someone that can coach the O-line to play an entire 4 qtrs

and someone that knows something about fielding a decent special teams

Apopka, FL Dawg

November 2nd, 2013
8:44 pm

It’s always great to beat Florida. Congratulations Dawgs. However, the (almost) complete meltdown in the second half is just another reminder of the coaching problems we have. We get a lead, we go conservative, give the other team momentum, let them back in the game and then try to HANG ON. Richt and Bobo need to go to a coaching seminar by Saban and learn to play aggressive the entire game and continue to score no matter how large your lead is. Same ole same ole for us; we get a lead and lay down and play conservative and play scared and try to HANG ON. This is why we will never have a championship team under Richt. He doesn’t have the killer instinct it takes to be a championship coach for a major football program. We weren’t able to HANG ON against Vanderbilt. Luckily, we were able to HANG ON against an inept Florida offense. Will we be able to HANG ON against any other teams this season? Time for a coaching change.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 2nd, 2013
8:46 pm

Nick Saban will be featured on 60 minutes tomorrow night

hopefully the coaches will tape that so they can learn what needs to be done to win championships

short memories

November 2nd, 2013
8:54 pm

gurley and murray started strong. Florida made adjustments had halftime. Georgia as usual didn’t. So Georgia didn’t score in the 2nd half and Florida did the familiar 17-0 run of Georgia. Georgia’s special teams were as special as usual and Georgia’s coaches coached as usual but the Georgia players hung on and got a great win.

3 in a row

November 2nd, 2013
9:00 pm

Bottom line – the Dawgs beat Florida for the third straight year. And the Dawgs are 4-3 the last seven against Florida. Appreciate the win regardless of the circumstances. It is a great win.

ShoeMeYurTD's

November 2nd, 2013
9:03 pm

A win is a win, we’ll take it. What the heck happened in the dawgs locker room at half time? Never seen anything like it. Go dawgs. UTEP giving A&M all they can handle so far…..go dawgs.

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 2nd, 2013
9:10 pm

Yea a win is a win but when you continue to coach sloppy games you lose to teams like Vandy and games you should have won like Clemson and Missouri

Ft. Worth Dawg

November 2nd, 2013
9:10 pm

Can we put a SHOCK COLLAR around Murray’s neck to alert him to the play clock?
Bill I think one game ball should go to Florda’s kicker for the 2 MISSED FIELD GOALS!
Can we get a Discipline Coach?

dawgfan

November 2nd, 2013
9:13 pm

The same people claiming a “win is a win” were undoubtedly discrediting Mizzou and Vandy’s wins over us because of the injuries.

Sorry Kool Aiders. Can’t have it both ways.

7576DAWG

November 2nd, 2013
9:18 pm

I have read a lot of comments and the best one is Richt and Bobo play scared. I don’t want Richt replaced , I think he is a great person and with a little guidance can develop into a great Head Coach but McGarity has got to intervene and make Richt change out some of his Coaches and schemes. At least 2 maybe 3 Coaches are just not SEC material and Georgia could do much better.
We should have beaten Vanderbilt by 3 touchdowns and Florida by 3 or more.

7576DAWG

November 2nd, 2013
9:19 pm

Does anyone know which of our players are going to have to sit out the first half of our next game?

dawgfan

November 2nd, 2013
9:21 pm

Oh wow imagine that. FSU has a really good O-line this year and they are winning a crap ton of games. What a freaky coincidence.

Maybe they are on to something here?

SatillaDawg

November 2nd, 2013
9:21 pm

The passion, the desire to win, is back!

Glory, Glory, to Old Georgia!

Mobile Dawg

November 2nd, 2013
9:22 pm

Good win today, although it as a lot closer than it should have been. Thanks CMR, our 4 million dollar man. Gurley’s a horse!

Flat Tire doesnt live in Delusionalville Ga.

November 2nd, 2013
9:27 pm

If the AD needs to tell the head coach he needs to get some new coordinators then maybe the AD should be the head coach since the current head coach doesnt know he needs to make those changes

dawgfan

November 2nd, 2013
9:28 pm

LOL. Who is going to guide our HEAD coach and why does he need more than 13 years to “develop?”

Wow.

Datruf

November 2nd, 2013
9:36 pm

It is exhausting watching the worst coach in coaching history call plays for UGA, knowing how good we could be if virtually anyone else were our OC. We do X in the first half and go up 23-3. So what does he do? He stops doing X and starts running the ball up the middle on every play. He’s always done this. It’s unimaginable that a major college OC can run 99% of the running plays straight up the middle with literally no variation. Predictable means he runs it up the middle 60-70 percent of the time. This guy who will never leave us nor get fired runs it up the middle literally 99% of the time. And NOBODY calls him on it! No writers here- no announcers- nobody. I almost cant watch this mind boggling game plan.

Ft. Worth Dawg

November 2nd, 2013
9:46 pm

Did anyone else notice that Bobo used the Ends, got good yardage, then stopped using them?
Also that whenever we’re up by 17 he starts trying to run the game clock out, even if it’s. The 2nd quarter?

TnDawg

November 2nd, 2013
9:46 pm

Bill, surprised you aren’t giving some love to the O-Line. They played pretty well for most of the game. The safety was on the tight end in my opinion. I thought the big guys were doing great until the play calling started to get conservative and predictable.in the 3rd qtr.

dawgfan

November 2nd, 2013
9:47 pm

I think it should be noted that both Gurley and Bennett played in this game and we still did not score a single point in the 2nd half.

So much for that excuse.

Dawg4life

November 2nd, 2013
9:49 pm

Hey, lets get shirts and banners made that say Next Year is our year…..because that’s what we are always fooled into believing right…..

NCDawg

November 2nd, 2013
9:52 pm

It’s a win. Just ignore the trolls… even the ones that claim to be Bulldog fans. They aren’t and they proved it on Thursday. Nothing more to say about that. They aren’t Dawgs and that makes them trolls and I IGNORE trolls. They don’t belong here and I won’t deign to even address them…even peripherally.

NCDawg

November 2nd, 2013
9:56 pm

The defense looked better. Not sure if it’s enough though. They played well most of the game and got stops when we had to have them against a geeked up, desperate team. They only looked lost a couple of times. The tackling was better overall. Just for a comparison… UF TOP 5 defense looked outmatched in the first half and looked lost more often than our defense did today. Still not sure if giving up 18 points to the reptile’s mediocre offense is enough to claim serious improvement.

dawgfan

November 2nd, 2013
9:57 pm

“It’s a win.”

A win against a banged up team with a lot of injuries. You’ve been telling us for weeks that wins like that don’t count as much. Now we’re on the winning side and all you have to say is “it’s a win.”

What a tangled web we weave Kool Aider.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 2nd, 2013
9:58 pm

Mizzou crushed UT and FSU is rolling over Miami. App St. lost to UTC. Would be nice for us to blow out App St. and get Mason some playing time and Gurley some more rest. AU beat Ark as expected. They are going to be a challenge for us, no doubt.

NCDawg

November 2nd, 2013
9:59 pm

I’d let Murray chuck a couple of TD passes to set the reord and sit him against APP ST. He’s earned it.

NCDawg

November 2nd, 2013
10:01 pm

Todd Gurley is undoubtedly the heart and soul of the offense…maybe the team. Before he crapped out, our offense was just abusing UF’s TOP 5 defense. It was surrealistic. They knew he was going to get the ball and he still abused them.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 2nd, 2013
10:06 pm

NCDawg,

Yes, there was slight improvement with the defense. They played inspired football and mostly were in position. I was glad to see Grantham blitzing more although it seemed like we should have been doing it the whole game. Our pass coverage is still not very good. We play too far off the receivers in too many situations.

NCDawg

November 2nd, 2013
10:06 pm

Murray looked really good against a seriously good defense. Our guys caught the ball and he made some good throws. He looked confident again. That was a sight for sore eyes.

NCDawg

November 2nd, 2013
10:07 pm

Having Bennett back really moved him back into his comfort zone. It’s great having Michael back out there.

DawgVoiceofReason

November 2nd, 2013
10:10 pm

It will be interesting to learn what was causing Gurley’s issues. I’m not sure I buy that he was “gassed”, even if he was not in “game shape”. Maybe he had a stomach bug or something else going on. Despite that, he was still a beast and Florida had very little answer for him.