Cocktail Party: Georgia vs. Florida Notes From the Cheap Seats


I thought by Sunday afternoon, the hangover from the Cocktail Party would have worn off.

I was wrong.

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I decided it was best to save money and not make the trip to Amelia Island/Jacksonville this year. Unlike student-athletes, the NCAA has no issue with me signing autographs for money, so I’ll be signing for $5 a pop from my barstool again next week.

Todd Gurley and I have two things in common: our flowing black hair, and for the last three UGA football games, we watched the Dawgs on television instead of being at the games. I, for one, can’t wait until we are both back between the hedges on November 15th against Auburn.

While Gurley’s absence wasn’t the reason Georgia lost – I saw implosions on defense, holes in the offense and several special teams mishaps that Florida capitalized on – we never know what Gurley’s presence could have accomplished for the Dawgs.

A few things worried me about the game:

1) Georgia had not seen an offense designed around Treon Harris, who in his own offensive scheme vs one designed for Jeff Driskel is a completely different player that no team has seen this year.

2) Punting and field goals were out of the question with the wind. Even extra points weren’t a given.

3) Georgia was going in with a three-game winning streak against Florida, and all good things must come to an end, right?

UF had committed 15 turnovers in the last four games. The turnover margin was even this game – each team lost a fumble, and each team recovered three of their own fumbles.

Nick Chubb’s first touchdown of the game was his fourth straight game with a touchdown. He had 95 yards rushing with 5 minutes left in the first quarter, and got to 100 yards before the first quarter ended. Gators had 19 yards before they got their first 1st down of the game, then promptly handed it over to Georgia on an atrocious fake handoff that Kelvin Taylor and Harris botched.

Unfortunately, the Dawgs couldn’t capitalize on the turnover as the offense stalled at the 22 yard line and Marshall Morgan missed the kick. That missed (or was it missed?) field goal was the beginning of the end for the Dawgs. The first quarter belonged to UGA. The rest of the game was Florida’s.

Muschamp’s desperation mirrored Richt’s in 2007, only the Gators’ touchdown from the fake field goal didn’t result in an on-the-field celebration and 15 yellow hankies being thrown in the air. But when has Georgia ever predicted a fake punt or field goal?

Center David Andrews was hurt in the first quarter and couldn’t play in the Dawgs’ first drive after the Gators scored. Hunter Long took over for him, but the offense was never quite right even after Andrews returned.

The ineptitude by the Georgia offense seemed to rub off on the defense as they gave up the Gators’ second touchdown of the day. The referee blocking for UF on Kelvin Taylor’s 44 yard run to put Florida in the red zone didn’t help either.

Nov 1, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt reacts as he talks to the referees against the Florida Gators during the second half at EverBank Field. Florida Gators defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 38-20. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I watched the rest of the game with my hands over my eyes. Georgia only trailed at halftime in one other game, the loss at South Carolina.

The Florida defense had caused six 3-and-outs per game this year. Dawgs avoided this fate on the first drive with a nice 1st down pickup by Malcolm Mitchell, but Georgia had three 3-and-outs after that fateful missed field goal, four if you count the drive that ended the second half. I count it because, well, we are Georgia.

The drive that ended on the 2 yard line defined the game for Georgia: an offensive pass interference call, recovered fumble, and after the Gators took over on the 2 yard line, a 98-yard drive put the final nail in the coffin.

Although the Dawgs would score again to make the final score 38-20, it felt like the 2008 game vs. Alabama or the 2012 debacle at South Carolina. When the stakes were high, Georgia fell flat again.