Yes, it was kind of game that only the mother of a rivalry could love. Yes, it was a stunning display of football inefficiency.
No, Georgia could care less how it looked, thank you very much.
In a game marred by penalties, turnovers and across-the-board ineptitude, and in which No. 3 Florida could’ve clinched a spot in the SEC championship game, No. 12 Georgia stunned the unbeaten Gators 17-9 in the 90th/91st edition of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville.
While some would call the game a gritty defensive slobberknocker that harkened back to the black-and-white glory days of the sport, there’s only one way to describe what was wrought on the college football world: two-bag ugly.
The two teams combined for 24 penalties for 237 yards; 8-for-27 on third down conversions; just 2.6 yards per rush attempt; and nine turnovers — five interceptions and four fumbles. Six of the turnovers were by Florida, with the last one proving to be a potentially fatal blow for both UF’s SEC and BcS aspirations.
With 2:05 left and trailing by eight, Gator tight end Jordan Reed was on the receiving end of a 13-yard Jeff Driskel pass and, just as he was about to cross the goal line for a touchdown, he was stripped of the football by UGA standout Jarvis Jones. The ball tumbled into the end zone for a touchback, with the Bulldogs regaining possession and the Gators literally fumbling the game away.
With the win, UGA sits in the SEC East driver’s seat. All that now stands between the Bulldogs and a second consecutive early-December trip to Atlanta are wins over Ole Miss and Auburn the next two weeks.
Should Georgia stumble against either of those two teams, however, Florida could still claim the East crown with a win over Missouri next weekend.
The Gators’ best chance for a division title and a shot at a spot in the BcS title game, though, was with a win. Just like the ball for 60 minutes, however, it slipped right out of their hands.