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15 Thoughts is Gonna Party Like it's 1976

Florida pulls a 4th and Dumb for a new generation. Same as it ever was.

Syndication: Florida Times-Union
Dead gator

Here is a quick game recap for those who don’t want to read the whole thing:

  • Florida started quick and briefly made some noise.
  • Georgia got a bit miffed and made some adjustments.


The trendy upset pick of the week for many talking heads (mostly with some sort of Florida University attachment) was for a suddenly resurgent Gators football squad to prevail over what has been a mildly enigmatic and, at times, erratic Georgia team. Fat chance.

Shade throwin’ Kirby Smart is my favorite Kirby Smart...

1. After spotting the Gators a touchdown on a very well scripted opening drive, Georgia answered with a long drive of its own but had to settle for a field goal. That was Florida’s only lead of the game. Conceding a quick score has happened a few times this season, but as Kirby stated in the post-game comments, the defense never panics.

2. Despite dealing with some back stiffness throughout the game, Ladd McConkey returned in a big way yesterday with his most productive game as a Georgia Bulldog. Ladd the Impaler™ hauled in 6 passes for 135 yards and this score that reminded us why he’s so vitally important to this offense going forward. Carson Beck threw a beautiful ball, McConkey ran a great route and made an even better cut, got separation and streaked into the end zone. The Dawgs never looked back.

3. Brock Bowers was on the sideline moving around pretty well for a guy who just had surgery less than 2 weeks ago. His presence alone was worth Georgia giving up an extra eligible player on the 70-man travel roster. In his absence Oscar Delp reminded us all why he was such a highly recruited player coming out of high school and how he has the skills to back it up.

Oscar had 2 catches for 31 yards, but his blocking proved to be a big factor in the overall success on the day. Oscar is going to be just fine as he gets involved in the passing game going forward. Lawson Luckie was inserted into the game on blocking assignments and helped Delp push Florida’s interior off their mark when Daijun Edwards scored on 4th and goal.

4. Speaking of Edwards: Is there a more underrated back in all of college football than #30? Daijun ran for 96 yards on 15 carries with 2 scores and just produces every time he takes the field. Edwards has 4 career touchdowns vs. Florida in his career (2 games played).

Kendall Milton ran hard and seems to have no ill-effects from his Vandy injury. On the day, Kendall rushed for 55 yards on 13 carries and a score.

5. My first ever Georgia-Florida game was way back in 1976. I was in the 8th grade and rode down to Jacksonville late that Friday evening with some friends who invited me to go on their RV. This game is available on YouTube and is important in the rivalry’s history because Florida was gunning for their 1st ever SEC title and seemed to be on the way when they had built a 27-13 halftime lead. The game literally turned when the Gators head coach, Doug Dickey, decided to go for a 4th and 1 play from their own 29 and didn’t make it on a great play by Billy Johnny Henderson.

Yesterday, with Florida now behind 10-7, Billy Napier signed off on a play that was eerily awesomely similar to the Gator Gaffe of ‘76. Georgia sniffed this out, Smael Mondon blew it up and the 2nd quarter deluge was on.

Smael wasn’t blocked as Gator flanker Ricky Pearsall looked to be the intended receiver but was covered up by Jamon Dumas-Johnson with some corner help. Seriously? I think that play had, at best, a 50% chance of success. probably 80% with a simple QB sneak. With less than a foot to go, there were so many better options. Just like 1976, the better option would’ve been to punt. Thank you dumb Gator coaches.

6. The Dawgs defense was superb for the better part of the afternoon. The adjustments after Florida’s opening drive were excellent. Getting to the quarterback is a damn fine thing, folks. Georgia registered 4 sacks (and 8 TFL’s) on the afternoon. Florida scored late a few times, and perhaps we had some missed assignments, but the defense came to play all day.

7. Jalon Walker was giving Florida’s tackles fits all afternoon, registering a strip-sack. The kid is coming on at the right time. How about Damon Wilson and C.J. Allen? All during the 2-week bye period there had been talk about how these freshman were getting comfortable in the defensive scheme. Both are playing instinctively, rather than having to think too much. They are going to be incredible going forward.

8. Georgia, for the 2nd time in 3 years, had the kind of second quarter scoring flurry that will haunt Florida fans for years. The only thing missing was Gary Danielson saying, “Uh, oh.” In a matter of minutes, what was a close game became a fait accompli for Gator Nation. Here are the tasty deets:

  • With Georgia up 10-7, Florida fails on the aforementioned 4th and a foot by outwitting themselves - 14:55 mark, Q2. Georgia scores 3 plays later on a Daijun Edwards 20 yard run. Dawgs 17-7.
  • 12:40 mark, 2nd and 19 (after a sack), Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins strip-sacks Graham Mertz, Marvin Jones, Jr. recovers.
  • 10:34 mark, Daijun Edwards scores from the Gator 2 yard line. Dawgs up 24-7. Ballgame?
  • 9:26 mark, 4th and 16. Freshman Joenel Aguero blocks a Florida punt for a safety. Dawgs 26-7. Ballgame.

9. My only criticism on the day was our conservatism after running out to the 26-7 lead. Sure, we burned clock on a couple of drives that resulted in flipping the field but we didn’t score again until Peyton Woodring kicked a 32-yard field goal mid-way through the 3rd quarter (after receiving the 2nd half kick). Gator fans were already leaving by the half, but any kind of score prior to the intermission would’ve probably resulted in a Running of the Bulls at Pamplona type of Gator Nation stampede to the exits with Mykel Williams wearing horns. Too nit-picky? It’s all good.

10. On the day, Georgia had 486 total yards of offense and Carson Beck accounting for 315 passing yards with 2 touchdowns. Beck played with great poise and was throwing into some very tight windows to great effect. This was his best pass of the day- a “pro level” throw to Dillon Bell for the score.

Carson Beck hit 8 passes for 15+ yards for a nice “chunk play” ratio. Dom Lovett also had a big day, hauling in 4 of those for 83 yards, including a long of 55. I like my peanut butter like I like my passing plays: Chunky.

Beck to Bell, give ‘em hell!

Beck’s only bad throw of the day was a missed bomb to Ladd McConkey who had his man beat and would’ve scored if the deep ball was true. Sooner or later Beck has got to hit on one of these. Keep trying.

11. There are still some things to clean up, but really not much to gripe about when you dominate your arch-rival the way we did. Again, the 43-20 score as a little bit inflated for Florida as we gave up some late stuff with a plethora of substitutions. I noticed that Florida kept their first team dudes in the game while we rotated some young guys quite freely.

11a. You know what else needs cleaning up?

12. There is so much talent on this team across the board. Georgia played Monroe Freeling and Earnest Greene down the stretch on that soul-crushing 10-play, 75 yard final scoring drive that put us up 43-13 midway through the 4th quarter. Georgia is doing this without 2 of the best players in America: Amarius Mims and Brock Bowers. Mims should be back next week and probably could have played, but the staff decided to rest him as Xavier Truss took over right tackle duties for most of the day. Brock Bowers will return. At least, that’s my gut feeling. Not because the coaches want him to, necessarily. I think it’s because he wants to. I don’t know when, but for now just keep healing up, BB.

A shout out to Tykee Smith who had to leave the game early as he got his bell rung on a tackle. The kid was balling all day long with 6 tackles, 4 solos, 1 TFL and a pass defended.

13. I say this every year, and I’ll say it again. I’ve walked out of that stadium many times on the winning side and there is nothing like it. I’ve also left that stadium early, totally dejected. It was not that long ago when I really doubted ever seeing the kind of domination I experienced during my youth when Vince Dooley was roaming the sidelines and Georgia would usually win this game. Then, Steve Spurrier came home and everything changed. We had very few successes under Mark Richt against Florida, but nothing like what Kirby Smart has wrought against the Gators. Kirby is 6-2 vs. Florida and Georgia now holds a 11-9 advantage over the last 20 years and is 56-44-2 in the history of the rivalry (yeah, I’m counting the 1942 win because screw ‘em).

It’s Great to be a Georgia Bulldog.

14. Georgia’s special teams were very good on Saturday. Brett Thorson punted 3 times and pinned Florida inside their 10 yard line each time. Peyton Woodring was perfect on the day with 2 field goals. Mekhi Mews looked confident in the punt return game if not spectacular and was one man away from breaking a long one early. The Joenel Aguero blocked punted was the special teams highlight on the afternoon.

15. Beating Florida by 1 point or by 23 (and covering the spread) will never, ever, ever, never get old. I’ll be down here in the Swamps of Broward proudly walking around in my best Georgia apparel and wearing my Back-2-Back Natty cap unabashed and proud knowing that we own them. We’ve got bragging rights for another 365 days. Life is good.

We’ve got an uppity Mizzou team coming to town next Saturday at 3:30 on CBS. I imagine the home crowd will be a little bit fired up come kickoff time and before. Mizzou is a good team and Georgia is a -20.5 favorite as of this writing. Too much? Too little? Let’s get ‘em.

BONUS THOUGHTS:

  • I watched this live and nearly spit out my bourbon. This is Twitter Gold:
  • You won’t see this called every day...
  • It was a cold 38 degrees in at the Sooners-Jayhawks game. Once the miserable rain began the game was delayed before the half by lightning as the temps dropped. Oklahoma will leave the Big 12 as Lawrence Losers. It’ll be fun watching get beat by Vandy in a few years.
  • Tech beat North Carolina last night. For whatever reason, Mack Brown loses to the Jackets consistently. Hundreds of people were in attendance.

That’s all I’ve got.

As Always, GO DAWGS!