An embarrassing day for the Bulldog Nation

Gators holder Michael McNeeley scores on a fake field goal attempt. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)
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Gators holder Michael McNeeley scores on a fake field goal attempt. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)
Gators holder Michael McNeeley scores on a fake field goal attempt. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Gators holder Michael McNeeley scores on a fake field goal attempt. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

A completely one-dimensional Florida offense might have sounded like just what Mark Richt wanted as the Dogs and Gators met for their annual clash in Jacksonville.

Unfortunately, on this particular Saturday, one dimension was more than enough for Florida, as Georgia’s defense, strong against the run up to this point, proved incapable of stopping the Gators’ rushing attack.

Florida hardly had to pass at all, so inept was the Bulldogs’ run defense. One Gators back wound up the day with 197 yards while another had 192 yards. Florida rushed 60 times for 418 yards, the second most ever against the Bulldogs, topped only by Auburn’s 430 yards on 63 attempts in 1978. The Gators threw just six passes, completing three of them for 27 yards.

Combine the defensive failure with a generally ineffective day for Georgia’s own rushing attack, poor play by the Dogs’ special teams (the Gators were sparked by a successful fake field goal run for a touchdown) and you have one of the soundest thrashings a Richt team has endured in quite a while.

Nick Chubb scores on a day Georgia's offense was largely ineffective.  (John Kelley / UGA)

Nick Chubb scores on a day Georgia’s offense was largely ineffective. (John Kelley / UGA)

The Dogs’ Nick Chubb, hero of the past two games while subbing for the suspended Todd Gurley, managed to get 156 yards on 21 carries, but about a hundred of those came in the first quarter (including a 39-yard touchdown scamper that opened the scoring) before the Gators clamped down. However, Chubb also finally looked like a true freshman, fumbling twice, losing one to the Gators (after a 35-yard run).

Quarterback Hutson Mason wound up with career-highs in attempts and completions, going 25-for-41 for 314 yards and one touchdown, completing seven to Malcolm Mitchell for 55 yards and six to Michael Bennett for 60 yards. But most of that was in garbage time. Unfortunately, Mike Bobo didn’t decided to open up the passing attack until the game was just about out of reach.

A Georgia touchdown with 3 seconds on the clock made the game look closer than it was at 38-20.

While an off day for the offense didn’t help, chiefly you can lay this one on Jeremy Pruitt’s defense. Time after time, all Florida backs had to do was bounce it to the outside and there were lots of open yards ahead of them. “We just did not contain like we should,” Richt said after the game.

The head coach summed up his team’s effort pretty well when he said, “We got whipped, physically whipped” on both sides of the ball.

Maybe the lingering Gurley affair finally took its toll on Georgia’s offense, which came out looking flat and uninspired. And perhaps the defense spent too much time the past couple of weeks reading about how awful Florida’s offense was. That’s how they played, at least — like a team that didn’t really expect to be challenged.

As defensive lineman Mike Thornton said, “I don’t think we showed up to play.”

What sort of day was it for UGA? Well, on one long Gators run in the second quarter, Georgia’s Quincy Mauger was actually blocked from making the tackle by one of the officials!

And, even when Florida was just trying to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, they still busted a long one for yet another touchdown.

Plus, Georgia actually wound up making Will Muschamp look like the better coach.

Now, that’s hapless.

Feel free to share your own thoughts on Georgia’s loss to the Gators, but keep it clean and civil or you’ll be banned from commenting here.

Got something about Georgia athletics you want to discuss? Or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Email junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg


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