Bulldogs trap Gators, win 24-20 in Jacksonville

By Adam Silverstein
October 29, 2011

The previously named World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party was only a celebration for one team on Saturday as the No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs (6-2, 5-1 SEC) fought back from a 14-point deficit to defeat the Florida Gators (4-4, 2-4 SEC) 24-20 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, FL during the teams’ annual rivalry game.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt defeated Florida for just the third time in his 11 years with the Bulldogs, rallying his team from behind after the Gators had the momentum in their favor much of the first half.

UF lost their fourth game in the month of October and has dropped four consecutive contests for the first time since the 1988 season.

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley returned for Florida after missing 10 quarters of action and was proficient early on before his high-ankle sprain began to wear on him. He finished the game just 12/33 for 245 yards and a touchdown. Brantley was sacked six times and barely moved the ball in the latter part of the contest.

UGA signal caller Aaron Murray, who also struggled throwing the ball at times, was 15/34 for 169 yards with two touchdowns and an early interception, recovering nicely after an early miscue and leading his team in the game’s deciding drive.

Florida started with a mix of good and bad plays on their first possession. Redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey opened the game with a return to UF’s 47, but it was negated by a holding penalty. On the next play, senior RB Jeff Demps took a screen pass 72 yards; however, Florida was unable to capitalize as sophomore kicker Brad Phillips shanked a 38-yard field goal wide right.

Getting the ball back a few minutes later, Brantley led the Gators down the field with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that consisted of mostly throws and ended in a 31-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore tight end Jordan Reed on 4th and 19.

[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]Following the ensuing kickoff, Georgia turned the ball back over to Florida when a pass from Murray hit running back Isaiah Crowell in the helmet and was intercepted by Gators freshman cornerback Marcus Roberson. Florida took over in the red zone but was unable to capitalize after Brantley was sacked twice and redshirt senior transfer guard Dan Wenger committed a false start penalty on 4th and 30.

Looking to reduce their deficit, the Bulldogs opened the second quarter with a 32-yard field goal from Blair Walsh after gaining 67 yards on 12 plays.

Kicking the ball back to the Gators, Georgia saw their deficit increase as quickly as it decreased after Demps returned the kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, putting Florida back ahead double digits, 14-3.

UF failed to take full advantage of a good opportunity the next time they touched the ball. UGA punter Drew Butler’s attempt only went 26 yards, and the Gators gained just 35 yards on the ensuing possession, ending it with a 43-yard field goal.

The Bulldogs answered by moving the ball well once again, but Walsh missed a 33-yard field goal after the offense gained 61 yards. Florida took over but was pushed back following a bad snap and false start that resulted in a third-and-22. Rainey took a handoff for 13 yards but fumbled the ball and turned it over on UF’s 25.

Only gaining five yards on their first three plays, Georgia called a successful jump ball on fourth-and-five that resulted in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Murray to wide receiver Michael Bennett.

Another miscue by the Gators cost them their seven-point lead midway through the third quarter. Backed up at their own nine, Florida turned the ball back over to UGA when redshirt junior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. fumbled a reception at UF’s own 18-yard-line.

Forced into a fourth down situation, the Bulldogs decided to go for it again and tied the game after Murray threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to WR Tavarres King.

The Gators used special teams to quickly flip the field as redshirt sophomore WR Andre Debose returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards. Florida was unable to gain a first down, however, and settled for a 40-yard field goal from Phillips to jump ahead 20-17.

Georgia drove the ball over 60 yards again on their next possession, but Walsh missed a 37-yard field goal attempt and handed the rock back to UF. The Gators had two delay of game penalties between three incomplete passes, forcing them to punt again.

The Bulldogs refused to waste another scoring opportunity, using RB Richard Samuel to drive the ball down the field before he plowed into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown to give Georgia its first lead of the game, 24-20 with 13:18 left in the contest.

UF and UGA traded possessions from that point with neither team finding much success moving the ball. Faced with a fourth-and-10 on the Bulldogs’ 46, Brantley was sacked and the Gators turned the ball over with 5:32 left to play.

Georgia ran out the clock from there, driving all the way to Florida’s one-yard-line before the clock ran out and they took their first victory over their biggest rival since 2007.

The Gators were the first team this season to score first against the Bulldogs and also became the only team to score a touchdown in the first quarter against UGA.

Roberson’s first half interception was the first of his career and the first turnover recorded by Florida since they played Kentucky at the end of September.

Three of the four offensive touchdowns scored on Saturday were converted on fourth down with both of Georgia’s coming off of fumbles by UF in their own territory.

Miscues doomed the Gators all evening. Florida committed 14 penalties for 101 yards in addition to turning the ball over twice. Brantley lost 43 yards on sacks as well as a bad snap that he was forced to fall on, and UF’s running backs ran the ball a combined 15 times for just 34 yards.

Georgia outgained Florida 37:40-22:20 in time of possession and accounted for 128 more total yards (354-226) in the contest.

The Gators hope to regroup in their homecoming game next Saturday against Vanderbilt. The contest will air live on the SEC Network at 12:21 p.m. Check your local listings.

Photo Credit: Stephen Morton/Associated Press[/EXPAND]


  1. CeeThree says:

    all I know is Will Muschamp better sign a SICK recruiting class..

  2. Basshole says:

    Tough game to watch at the end, and I haven’t felt this bad about a Gator team for a long time. Although I think we could win every game in front of us, I could see us dropping 3 of the next 4 and missing a bowl. I don’t want to be too negative, but the inability of our offense to run (or really do anything) is extremely frustrating.

  3. jay d says:

    thats the final straw for me….these coaches are garbage…we havnt lost four in a row since the 70`s and thats saying something…thats two games in a row we should have won…we have 3 good running backs but the coaches can`t figure out how to use them properly…its embarrassing….im disgusted with this football team…I give muschamp one more season…and if there isnt serious improvemnt….im gunna be calling for his job…..we are not TN or GA….gator fans do not put up with this type of football season on a regular basis…and they will get fired, period. ~ONE PISSED OFf GATOR

  4. John S says:

    Well I felt good about the o-line early in the year, but we’ve been exposed as weak. When you blow up and rebuild you’re not going to be any good. Hopefully by next year our players and coaches will have figured it out.

  5. Ken (CA) says:

    Adam as bad as 14 penalties were today, it wasn’t a season high. They had a school record 16 against Tennessee, I think.

    • You’re right. Just seemed that way.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        What really seemed bad is that they are the same kind of mental mistake the team has made all year. For a coaching staff with so much NFL experience they seem to have no idea about how to instill focus and discipline on young men. Watching the same lack of tackling, lack of discipline, not thinking week after week.

        This team is very painful to watch because for every effort that shows a flash of hope there are 5 setbacks. I know it is a young team, and undermanned with lots of injuries, but they seem to react very poorly to adversity, and that is all a result of poor coaching. These guys (coaches) really need to step up their game if they are going to survive. If Mark Richt can out adjust/scheme 50 years of NFL coaching experience at half time well enough to shut us down the entire second half, that is just plain scary, and should never happen.

  6. CeeThree says:

    I made an appointment for each day next week with a shrink to help me prepare with how to handle losing to Vanderbilt.

  7. scooterp says:

    I desperately want to believe that this just a transition year – a new coaching staff with a talented but very young team. The last 2 games have made it tough. I’m hoping its just the luck of the draw with the injuries, mainly to JB, and playing so many freshmen and sophs. Clearly, a player or 2 has to step up and be a leader, much the way Tebow & Spikes were. I don’t see anyone grabbing a teamate by the facemask and pushing them to get their head out of their ass or just to pump them and inspire them. They easily get rattled and no one is their to help them snap out of it. We don’t have any leadership from I can tell. And until we do 7-5 is going to become another reality………………. and if we lose to the spearheads on the 25th every big name recruit, who is visiting that weekend, are going to bail. God please help us turn this season around.

  8. Eli says:

    These past few weeks have been a major wake up call for Florida SCHEMATICALLY. The four teams that have beat us have done so by ramming the ball down our throat and using that to set up sideline routes for the receivers. The fact that we have been unable to adjust to this says two things:
    1) Our coaches need to wake the hell up and realize that the spread option is dying off faster than the dinosaurs in the SEC. This is a physical league now. The way Richardson/Ware/Dyer/Crowell/Samuel absolutely tore us up says something, because none of them are blazing fast. Demps and Rainey look AWESOME against UAB and FAU, but if you can’t pound the middle, you certainly can’t beat a defense to the outside.
    2) Our recruiting needs to focus on bringing in guys who play that physical style. I love the two TEs and the physical backs we’re bringing in. Let’s get some big, physical receivers and some linebackers that know how to tackle.

    Like the direction of the program right now, and obviously this year sucks. We’ll probably go 7-5 or 6-6, but let’s not dig the program a grave yet.

  9. aziatic41 says:

    Today’s loss was about as sour as it gets. Definitely ruined my partying tonight. We were up 17-3 at one point and still lost. UGA scored 2 touchdowns on 4th down plays and we knew they were going to pass the ball on those plays, yet they still converted.. Jordan Reed was the only real bright spot today. Brantley still sucks. Who cares if he’s hurt, he’s a 5th year qb. He hasn’t made any big plays in the 4th when it really counts. I could go on all day. What a sickening loss guys…

    • Ken (CA) says:

      those 2 4th down TDs were just great execution by UGA. Receivers were covered very well and murray threw it in the perfect spot. Guts to Richt for calling it but unlike our team, they were able to execute. 14 points off of our turnovers though is rediculous. last in SEC and probably near bottom in nation in TO margin, another 14 penalties, most of which are the same old issues, false starts, defensive offsides, pass interference from bad technique, illegal formation, etc. Just complete lack of mental discipline. This game could have been over in the first quarter after Roberson’s interception if not for penalties.

  10. g8ter27 says:

    This team is horrible. Our coaches are terrible, absolutely no discipline as we are dead last in the FBS in penalties. We can get a turnover to save our lives but love giving the ball up to the other team which cost us 14 points and another loss again today. Not playing Gillislee when he is clearly the best back we have between the tackles in inexcusable. he (unless I am mistaken) had no touches today at all! What happened to Weiss with his “he has earned more playing time…etc etc” just more bullshit from this staff. We have no running game period! In a “pro style offense”…what a joke…..you must have a running game. I love the Gators and love these players but this team sucks!!! They seem weak and play soft with no confidence at all. We have a head coach yelling at the damn refs after we get a delay of game penalty. I know this is suppose to be a rebuilding year but I think most people can see that something is terribly wrong here and it just isn’t a coaching transition. Brantley is by far the best qb we have and that is a joke bc he is horrible. 5th year senior and doesn’t know when to throw the ball away to avoid a sack. 3 in a row after we get a gift from Georgia after our first score. Our punter is at our 40 and acts as if he is trying to kick a 70 yarder and practicaaly punts it into the damn stands……i hope I am wrong but I am starting to think Foley made a bad mistake here.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I was wondering about Gillislee myswelf and would have had the same comments, but I do remember he was injured against Auburn, there may have been something lingering keeping him out this week. Where the heck is Mack Brown, tho? He is supposed to be the best between the tackles back we have recruited in years and hasn’t played most of season

  11. Andy says:

    Just a reminder. We haven’t beat a top 25 team in our last 8 tries. Have any of you been watching at all? Sure we win the first four, but we looked just as weak. Not once even in those games did we show the ability to generate some push on running plays on offense or defense. Rainey was just getting lucky agains poor tackling teams. The defense has steadily progressed and I feel confident the secondary will improve. But our pass rush is pretty sad. Chrissy Rainey has cost us the past two games. Last week with fumbled punts. And this week with the costly fumble. Not all his fault, we can’t even pick up a 4th and 2. Can’t even gain a damn yard on the ground. I’m disgusted.

  12. aziatic41 says:

    Chris Rainey is horrible. He has no knowledge of the game. He is as dumb as it gets when it comes to making situational plays. Common sense should tell anyone, hey we are up by two scores late in the lst half, I should protect the ball.. Duh!!! This guy is about as wreckless as it gets when it comes to protecting the ball and making the right decisions when needed.

    Also, I personally like Muschamp, but he may not be a head coach. He may be a defensive coordinator. I don’t think he knows anything about offense and offensive personal. And that Dan Quinn guy from the Seattle Seahawks seems like your ordinary little league redneck coach from the community who has know schematic knowledge of football. And if i’m not mistaking I think Charlie Weis’s son was calling plays today on the sideline. That is insane. This is Florida not Florida Atlantic! Man this loss sucks

    • Tractorr says:

      Uh…you don’t accidentally wind up with a job in the NFL. You have to be amazingly talented to even get a chance at an NFL coaching job. That being said that does not mean that Quinn is a good fit for Florida or any college job as it is a different skill set then the NFL.

  13. Will W says:

    Well…this one was a sharp smack to my nether region. I like the fight the D put up and our D line got good penetration and stood up pretty well to the largest Oline in FBS.

    My question for you Adam -are Coach M’s antics on the sideline affecting the officiating in the game? In a negative way I mean – seems like he doesn’t get calls and the refs are sick of him complaining about everything. Secondly, I don’t think it is very becoming a head coach to cheer so much when the other team’s kicker misses a kick. Seems pretty bush league. Leave the cheering for your assistants and players – pump your fist and direct the next play,

  14. Gator John says:

    I see alot of people are saying 7-5 foe this seasons record. I just don’t see who else we are going to beat playing like this, except Furman. I am thinking 5-7 and no bowl. THats not a panic statement, its how I see the rest of the season unfolding. We are not a good enough or disciplined enough team to beat anyone else on the schedule. Can we beat them? Sure, but everything will have to go right. Today it was penalties and turnovers that killed us. We gave UGA a short field twice and then let then cobvert two 4th down TDs. We have a long way to go, I believe in this coaching staff, and if the can bring in some real recievers to go with the two big backs, we will be that pro-style offense Weis wants us to be. Go Gators!

  15. Lee says:

    Brantley definitely got off to a hot start, but in Q4 he couldn’t move and it looked like his throws lacked any strength. I thought we should have put in Brisset, moved the pocket and created some offense witha dual threat QB. Some first downs definitly would have helped. Brantley’s the guy the rest of the year, but one guy can only do so much. Also, worst game of Raineys career, dropped the sure TD on the first drive and another on the same play and a big fumble to boot. He will rebound.

    Keep the faith Gator Nation!

  16. collegeballdude says:

    discipline and fundamentals ……i have said it before “bring back the pit”…….these coaches think they are coaching NFL prima donnas……and weiss is a product of those he had around him; not the other way around…..he is not the guru some think he is…..we gave the last two away; we should have won…..vandy is going to be a tough game and i would not be too surprised if they are favored; even in the swamp at homecoming!

  17. VAgator says:

    Will be the first losing season since 1979. Pathetic. No discipline, Brantley is still terrible and playcalling is equally bad. I don’t blame the guys who transferred. If we lose to Vandy I won’t watch another game this year (likely to happen)

  18. Aligator says:

    7-5, we win the rest of our home game and Maybe we win our bowl game in shocking fashion??

  19. John S. says:

    When you take over a program and decide to throw out everything, this is what happens. Muschamp decided to install a system his personnel couldn’t play. We spent the whole off season installing a new system instead of fundamentals. That’s why we’re no good fundamentally. I would’ve preferred we install a more pass happy spread, and slowly tweak our defense, but we went a different route and turned every player we have into a rookie. Well we play like a team of rookies.

  20. Kincaide says:

    Dicipline? The penalties! The Blocking assignments? Holding on to the football! Easley,Floyd,Powell and we can’t stop there 3rd string back running right down our throats! Oh and the missed field goal! Any High School kid in Florida kicked that distance Friday night and we can’t find some-one on to do it Saturday! I had lots B-shit dreams in my head about this Coaching staff and this is now a nightmare! Concerns about Vandy? Damn right! U guys are getting the big bucks better do something or I personally will come and kick the shit and u out of town! Always a Gator!

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