For A Year, It’s Ga/Fla
When Knowshown Moreno scored the Bulldogs first touchdown, his teammates flooded the end zone as directed by Head Coach Mark Richt. “Classless,” is how one Florida Gator described it. In a game that’s about showmanship and one-upmanship, it was right along with just about everything that’s gone on in the Florida/Georgia rivalry.
No Gator fans seemed to be hanging their heads when Steve Spurrier decided to “hang half a hundred on ‘em,” in Athens when reminded that nobody had ever scored fifty points as the opponent between the hedges. That time out at the end of the game and the flea-flicker pitch back evokes giggles from the Gator faithful every time it’s brought up.
So Georgia had a chance of it’s own to spit in the Gators eyes, and they took it. Then they backed it up. Although The Gators tied the game quickly and the game was competitive from the get-go, Florida was a bit surprised that the Bulldogs could hang with them.
The Gators are so used to running the score up and blowing people out that close games are foreign to their makeup. They beat Kentucky in a quasi-close game, downing an emotionally spent Wildcat team still trying to catch their breath after beating LSU the week before.
Florida should have known that the Georgia was gunning for them all along. They thought they could have easily won the game last year but made too many silly mistakes. The ‘Dogs had the week off leading up to the game, something that can’t be discounted. Usually it’s Florida with the bye week before coming to Jacksonville but this time the roles were reversed, with the outcome different as well.
For all of the emotion in the game, Georgia played the way they’re capable of while they exposed Florida’s defense as young and out of sync.
I’ve got a lot of respect for what Urban Meyer has accomplished in his time as a head coach and his disciplinary program at Florida is close to what I’d expect as an alumni. (I’d have suspended Tony Joiner.) But to watch him on the sidelines interacting with his players is a bit much to take. When a player is called for a penalty, Meyer dresses them down right there.
Keestan Moore’s mishandling of the ball brought Meyer’s full wrath down on him. I’ll be surprised if he plays again this year he’s so far under the doghouse. But what’s Urban supposed to expect when he rarely gives Moore carries in favor of Tim Tebow? Moore’s first fumble was just the result of a perfect hit.
Tebow’s shoulder injury is a direct result of overuse when it comes to the quarterback in the SEC. You can have all of the Bowling Green and Utah opponents pile on the QB you want. When you get to the SEC, it’s a whole different story. They pound on you with big, fast guys and eventually it takes it toll. Meyer doesn’t have to look any farther than the mirror when he wants to find out who’s responsible for the Gators current quandary.
“It’s OK, we’ll pound them the next couple of years,” a couple of Gators fans said leaving the game. Oh really? Yes, Florida is young and is expected to be better but don’t forget, the opponents are getting older and better as well. Matthew Stafford will be a junior with two years of starting behind him. He’s very talented and picked his spots against the Florida defense to gouge them for long gains and touchdowns.
That’s why this game is so great anyway. The unexpected happens and there’s a lot of grumbling for an entire year. Florida’s recent dominance has skewed the game a bit, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the game went back to a more even result over each ten-year period.
Spurrier changed the college game completely with his passing game and made beating Georgia his big priority each year, taking evil pleasure in beating the Bulldogs.
People close to Richt say he’s just sick and tired of losing to Florida and now has a good grasp on the magnitude of the rivalry. Meyer is getting a taste of that this year.
How can it be a rivalry anyway when one team dominates?