Call it the second half hunker.
The setting...Saturday night in Jacksonville. The story line? A hungry Georgia team with a coach-under-fire at the season's start. The result: A powerful Georgia (6-2, 5-1 SEC) Eastern division champ wannabe.
Trailing at the half, 17-3, this Georgia team rallied and in the end, gave their victory-driven fans just what they wanted: a win (24-20) against their archrival, the Florida Gators. It may not have been the most polished show of the weekend, but students and fans driving home felt good. Some even hung around in the parking lots, tailgating into the wee hours chewing on ifs, ands, buts, and a lot of whews!
Last night, it was this Georgia team that proved that they have the talent.
Showcased were some giant standouts that—given this season to mature—might give the Dawgs a taste of life at the Top 10 next year. Those standouts include: Aaron Murray—a warrior who played despite a hit to the thigh in the third quarter—who passed for 169 yards and two touchdowns on fourth down; Isaiah Crowell, another fighter playing fresh from injury who aggravated a shin contusion bravely forging forward to seal the win for the Dawgs. Crowell finished the game with 81 yards on 18 carries. But it was his teammate, Richard Samuel—who also contributed with 58 yards and a game-clinching touchdown. Both Michael Bennett and Tavarres King caught Murray's splendid passes on fourth down scores.
Lessons were learned on this Saturday night. Grading the Dawgs special teams, demerits are plentiful. For Georgia, missed tackles led to a 99 return for a touchdown by the Gators. Missed field goals and sloppy play will give the Georgia coaching team plenty to polish this week.
Georgia beat Florida by a close margin—24-20 in a college football storybook setting. And with the BCS ranking the Bulldogs at No. 18, the lessons these Dawgs learned this weekend were enough to fill a College Football 101 textbook. Chapter one of that book might start like this: The only thing hot about this Georgia team is their passion. And that passion might be just what they need to get to these Dawgs to Atlanta in December.