While the pregame festivities at "The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" are always enjoyable, smiles were scarce on the field for much of the game as No. 10 Georgia defeated No. 2 Florida 17-9 in a hard-fought defensive battle.
Both defenses played extremely well. The Bulldogs tormented Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel and caused him to throw two interceptions, while Florida also lost four fumbles.
But Georgia also struggled against the Gators' heralded defense, and QB Aaron Murray tossed three picks in this game. However, he came through late in the game and hit a Malcolm Mitchell for a 45-yard touchdown pass with 7:11 to go in the game to put his team up 17-9.
Florida then threatened to comeback as Driskel completed a pass to Jordan Reed deep in Georgia territory. The Gators tight end leaped towards the end zone, but Bulldogs outside linebacker Jarvis Jones capped off an incredible defensive performance by forcing another fumble. This sealed Georgia's upset.
Country music legend Charlie Daniels set the stage by noting that a few tasty beverages would certainly be followed by an entertaining football game.
The world's largest cocktail party is featuring a pretty dang good football game this year..Gators snapping-Dawgs barking— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) October 27, 2012
The game was certainly not pretty in the first half. Both coaches had plenty of reasons to be displeased, but Will Muschamp did a terrible job of hiding his emotions, as Saturday Down South shows.
Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel pitched an idea for a new name for this historic rivalry.
World's Largest Outdoor Interception Party— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) October 27, 2012
Fox Sports sideline reporter Kristen Ledlow has a creative way to take advantage of the fear that Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones strikes into the heart of opposing offenses.
I wanna be Jarvis Jones for Halloween. He's scary.— Kristen Ledlow (@KristenLedlow) October 27, 2012
CBS Sports' Doug Gottlieb was critical of Malcolm Mithcell after an ill-advised unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, but was humbled after the sophomore made the biggest play of the day by catching a 45-yard touchdown catch with just over seven minutes left in the game.
Malcolm Mitchell hopes the coaches accidentally delete this part of the game tape— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) October 27, 2012
Malcolm Mitchell just shut me up— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) October 27, 2012
Aaron Murray, Georgia: B
This game was characterized by both quarterback's struggles. Murray had helped Georgia become a high-powered offense this season, but he stumbled for most of the day, throwing three interceptions.
But he came through in the fourth quarter by engineering a scoring drive that was capped off with Mitchell's long touchdown pass. This saved his grade from being significantly lower.
Jeff Driskel, Florida: D+
Driskel was also far too carless with ball in this game and ended his day with two interceptions and no touchdowns. He was more productive than Murray through the air for much of the day, but failed to make any impact on the ground.
He completed 16-of-28 passes for 185 yards, but turnovers were the difference in this game, and too many of them were committed by Driskel.
Todd Gurley, Georgia: B+
Gurley the only offensive player in this game who was able to make any sort of positive, consistent mark on the game. He racked up 119 yards on a touchdown on the ground.
The freshman proved that his future is extremely bright by turning in such an impressive performance against one of the better defenses in the country.
Mike Gillislee, Florida: C
Gillislee failed to match Gurley's production and averaged just 3.5 yards per carry. He finished the day with 78 yards on 22 attempts.
The senior running back has turned in several gutsy performances this season and has carried the Florida offense at times, but Georgia refused to allow him any space to run in this contest.
Jarvis Jones: A+
Jarvis Jones was unbelievable in this game. He brought new meaning to the phrase "wreak havoc," recording 13 tackels, three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
He was consistently productive for all 60 minutes in addition to being incredibly clutch, punching the ball out of Jordan Reed's hands as he was just a few feet away from the goal line. This performance deserves the highest marks.
Georgia's remaining SEC games are against Ole Miss and Auburn, and if they win both contests, they will become the SEC East champions. This will earn them a spot in the conference title game.
Florida's national title hopes just took a seemingly fatal blow. This loss will knock them down a few spots in the BCS standings, in addition to possibly costing them a chance to play for the conference championship.