Win over Gators gives Georgia much-needed boost
Georgia was searching for a way to resuscitate its season
following back-to-back losses to Missouri and Vanderbilt.
The Bulldogs found what they were looking for against
Coach Mark Richt said Saturday’s 23-20 victory over the Gators
allowed his Bulldogs to reclaim a positive outlook on the
”I guess the biggest thing is we can think about what can be
instead of what could have been,” Richt said Sunday. ”It just
makes it easier to motivate and easier to get up and get
The win kept Georgia (5-3, 4-2) in contention in the
Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division. Georgia plays
Appalachian State on Saturday before closing out its conference
schedule with games against No. 7 Auburn and Kentucky.
Georgia, which plummeted out of the Top 25 from No. 7 with the
two losses, remained unranked on Sunday but has reason for renewed
”It keeps us in the race,” Richt said. ”It’s so important for
us to be in the race. It’s just easier to get up and go to work the
next day. It’s tougher to fight through a three-game losing streak.
The Bulldogs’ win was stressful. Georgia led 23-3 at the half
before holding the ball on a final drive that lasted more than 8
minutes to preserve the win.
”The bottom line was enough good things happened in the first
half that when things started to get away from us in the second
half, we had enough to hang on,” Richt said.
A Georgia turnover helped spark Florida’s comeback. Tight end
Arthur Lynch couldn’t catch a lateral from Aaron Murray in the
third quarter and then didn’t fall on the loose ball. Florida’s
Leon Orr returned the ball to the 14-yard line, setting up a
two-play touchdown drive that cut Georgia’s lead to 23-10.
Richt said it was another in a series of what he called
”I’ve used that term more than I’d like to this season,” he
said. ”A high snap, a dropped snap, a dropped punt, a dropped ball
that ends up being a lateral. … You’re not foolish enough to
think nothing bad could ever happen, but you’d like to make people
earn it at least.
”The initial touchdown was one that we gave them tremendous
field position. We gave them reason to be excited, their players,
their fans, their coaches. It’s just tough to hold people off once
they get their blood pumping again.”
Georgia tailback Todd Gurley scored two touchdowns in his return
after missing three games with a sprained left ankle. Gurley had 17
carries for 100 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown run. He also
scored on a 73-yard reception.
Receiver Michael Bennett, who had arthroscopic knee surgery on
Oct. 8, returned to lead the Bulldogs with five catches for 59
Gurley went to the locker room during the game when he was
nauseated, but he returned. Richt said he hadn’t received an update
from his medical staff on how Gurley’s ankle held up to his first
game since Sept. 28.
Georgia has won three straight over Florida for the first time
since 1987-89 under coaches Vince Dooley and Ray Goff.
”This game means a lot to me,” defensive tackle Garrison Smith
said after setting career highs with nine tackles and 2 1/2 sacks.
”I just wanted to give my all and play as hard as I could. I’m in
tears right now. This game means that much to me. I ain’t cried in
a long time. These are tears of passion for this game.”
Murray improved to 3-1 against Florida. The last Georgia
quarterback to win three games against Florida was Buck Belue from
”It’s awesome,” Murray said. ”You always say `Every game is
the same.’ But this one is different. There’s a different feel to
it. The atmosphere is different. To go out and beat these guys
three years in a row, which hasn’t happened in 24 years, is just an