Mitchell: Oh what a sweet UGA win it is

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 28, 2012


This may be Georgia’s first signature SEC win since 2007. But oh…what a sweet win it is.


By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb

Flash back to Week 6… Florida’s facing an LSU Tigers defense ranked near the top in the nation, and it’s been absolutely mauling the Gators' offense…particularly sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel. The Tigers had racked up five sacks by the half, including forcing Driskel to fumble inside his own red zone with two minutes to go until the break.

What, oh what, was a poor little ol’ Gator to do then?

Florida’s coaching brain trust took the ball out of Driskel’s shaky hands and forced the running game. Florida would pass only four times in that second half, lining up 7-8 offensive linemen and scoring two running touchdowns in beating the Tigers 14-6.

Flash forward to Week 9. The Gators are once again losing at the half, this time 7-6, and have been unable to get anything consistent going offensively. Worse, Driskel has been sacked like a potato and made a series of poor choices.

So what great changes does Florida make on offense? What efficient halftime adjustment does coordinator Brent Pease employ? Take the ball out of Driskel’s shaky hands and run-run-run against a Dawgs run defense ranked tenth “best” in the SEC?

Nope. They did virtually nothing. Certainly nothing that translated to the field.

It’s therefore not surprising that the second half continued along just like the first, and Georgia walked away with back-to-back wins over the Gators. Most of the students in Athens weren’t even born the last time that happened.

The most impressive aspect about the Gators’ 2012 run hasn’t been the improvement of its offense, nor the improvement of either its special teams or rushing attack. The most impressive thing about this Florida team has been its coaching, especially mid-game adjustments.

By that standard, Saturday against Georgia was a train wreck.

Georgia outcoached and outplayed the Gators from the opening kickoff virtually straight through to the final gun. Yes, the Dawgs benefited from six Gators' turnovers and some mind-numbing Driskel red zone decisions. But don’t kid yourself – Georgia came out from the opening bell, punched an overconfident Florida team square in the mouth, and never let up.

Was this the same Georgia defense that's ranked a disappointing ninth overall in the SEC? That was literally humiliated in a 35-7 loss two games ago to South Carolina? That surrendered a neck-wrenching 200+ rushing yards last week to Kentucky?

How much of a difference can one man make? Apparently a lot, if that man’s name is Jones. Jarvis Jones.

After nursing a few injuries the past couple of weeks, star linebacker Jones returned to his orbit and eclipsed anything the Gators tried to do. The healthy All-American had 13 tackles, forced two fumbles, had two fumble recoveries of his own, and three quarterback sacks.

No truth to the rumor that he harassed Driskel so much that Jeff’s mother called Jones’ to complain.

Jones didn't do it alone. It wasn't perfect, but this was perhaps the best big game performance by the Georgia offensive line in recent memory. That and Jones' defensive teammates brought home a spirited, forceful effort.

The win over Florida means the Dawgs are in the catbird seat. Beat Ole Miss and a winless (and rudderless) Auburn squad and Georgia will once again represent the East in Atlanta come December 1.

This may be Georgia’s first signature SEC win since 2007. But oh…what a sweet win it is.


Follow me @russmitchellcfb