I had an interesting vantage point for this game – back corner of the end zone, one section over from the band, second row from the field. In other words, Malcolm Mitchell’s touchdown ran away from me, but Jarvis Jones’ game saving play happened right in front of me.
You attend games like this and you remember that no matter how good hi-def TV gets, no matter how convenient the bathroom is and regardless of how comfortable the armchair may turn out to be, there is no substitute for being there.
And there is still nothing more beautiful to behold than the sea of blue from the seats abandoned by Gator fans in the last minute of a Georgia win.
I was going to post my predictions for the game, but waited too long Saturday morning and lost coverage. It was probably for the best, as I only batted about .500 – whiffed on Georgia using the pass to set up the run and my fear that the offensive line wouldn’t hold up, got the Florida special teams superiority and Jarvis Jones’ return making a big difference right. Anyway, on to the bullet points:
- Was this game chippy? Chippy? Yeah, when you’ve got coaches being restrained in pre-game warmups, you can say that. The jawing seemed like it never stopped.
- Note to SEC offensive coordinators: when Jarvis Jones pronounces himself ready to go, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
- Jordan Jenkins isn’t going to be something. He already is.
- Best thing I saw from my vantage point was the Bacarri Rambo blitz up the middle that led to a sack. Florida’s line parted like the Red Sea (caused, by some extent, by a reaction to Jarvis Jones starting his rush perhaps a wee bit early).
- The stats may not show it, but Mike Bobo deserves a lot of credit. He learned from the South Carolina debacle and used plenty of max-protect to preserve his offensive linemen. He had to nurse a quarterback through a very shaky first half and figure out what to do about a receiving corps that couldn’t hang on to the ball at times in the second half. He stuck with the run as long as he could. And at crunch time he found the alignment and play that the Florida secondary was vulnerable to.
- And, boy, how beautiful was that screen pass to Gurley?
- Speaking of whom, that’s what an SEC running back looks like. Almost thirty carries without a fumble. And that last big run was the final dagger in Florida’s heart.
- Grantham redeemed himself as well. His blitzes were creative and effective. He managed the defensive line depth as well as could be expected. His troops looked prepared. The defense did a beautiful job defending the wildcat, as well as controlling the Gator running game. He accomplished what he set out to do, which was to make the Florida offense one-dimensional.
- Did Murray have a subpar game? Well, he certainly had a horrid first half. And it’s hard to figure out why it went so wrong, because he started out well. Then his mechanics deserted him and he locked into receivers. The first interception should never have been thrown where it was. The second was a late reaction to the back coming open. And the third may have been the worst ball I’ve ever seen Murray throw in a game. But he didn’t turn the ball over in the second half. Then crunch time came and he made the plays he had to make, often with the blitz in his face.
- Happily, I was wrong about the offensive line. Those guys played their collective asses off. They opened some huge holes in the first half in the running game, and, as a result, Gurley was the first 100-yard rusher the Florida defense allowed this season. Murray wasn’t sacked. I’ll take it.
- If you had told me before the game that Murray would throw three interceptions in the first half, that Georgia would rack up huge penalty numbers, that Florida’s kickers would outshine Georgia’s and that the Dawgs couldn’t convert third downs to save their lives, I would have sworn it would have been a long day. That’s how good the defense played.
- The Rambo interception was beautiful. You could see it coming as soon as Driskel made the mistake of throwing the ball across his body instead of out-of-bounds (at least Murray had enough sense to throw the ball away in a similar situation).
- Who was offsides on the onside kick?
- Zander Ogletree, pass receiver.
- That was Big John Jenkins’ best game of the season. He actually forced the Florida offensive line into a weird alignment on an obvious passing play to make sure they could get two blockers on him.
- It seemed like Malcolm Mitchell made the entire Gator secondary miss him on that touchdown catch… well, except for Josh Evans who was busy blitzing Murray.
- There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe Jarvis Jones’ day. My two favorite moments came when Florida was forced to use a time out because Jones was set in coverage and the Gators weren’t prepared for it and on his second fumble recovery when he was signalling success before he’d even finished the play.
- I didn’t get Muschamp going for it on fourth down, not with the kicker and punter he had.
- The crucial fumble aside, Jordan Reed is a hoss. Georgia really couldn’t find anyone who could cover him consistently. That being said, he does have a habit of going airborne to get that extra yard and Jarvis made him pay for that.
- Somebody needs to educate the scoreboard operator on the difference between the result of a touchback in college and a touchback in the NFL. That was embarrassing.
Okay, so where’s that Shawn Williams plaque going?