Blogs by the quarters
Published: Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 4:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 1, 2008 at 4:24 p.m.
The game started without incident, no shenanigans in the pre-game. The atmosphere was what you would expect from the biggest Florida-Georgia game ever. We saw a lot of weird things in the parking lots, not the least of which was a giant Ferris wheel where the media used to park. Two Gator fans wore Georgia paraphernalia and fake, goofy teeth. Both teams started the game looking a little shaky with three false starts between the two on the first two possessions. But the Bulldogs hit some big plays on their next drive and appeared to be going in the right direction, but the Gator defense came up strong. Drew Stafford lost 11 yards on two plays after the Bulldogs had a second-and-2 on the Florida 9-yard line. That was followed by a missed field goal by the Bulldogs thanks to pressure from the Gator defense. The uneven start to the game was magnified by a long break to review a spot when Tim Tebow made a first down. It was close and Mark Richt was hot when the play was not overturned. Florida caught a huge break when Tebow threw an interception to Prince Miller but it was negated by a blow to the head penalty on Georgia's Jarius Wynn. Two players later the Gators took the lead on Percy Harvin's 13-yard run. Harvin accounted for 51 yards on three plays in the drive. And what did Florida do after the first score to answer Georgia's celebration from last year? Nothing. Which is exactly what the Gators should have done.
— Pat Dooley
It's only the end of the first half, but with Florida ahead 14-3, karma appears to be working overtime for the Gators. Georgia had a chance to cut in the lead before the end of the first half, but the appropriately-named tight end Tripp Chandler slipped in the end zone to miss a potential wide-open touchdown catch. Knowshon Moreno followed with another gaffe, allowing a pretty touch pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford in the end zone to bounce off his facemask. Then, Georgia kicker Blair Walsh caromed a 27-yard field goal attempt off the left upright. The red zone has been the dread zone so far for the 'Dogs. Georgia has managed just three points in three trips inside the Florida 20. Meanwhile, Florida has cashed in with a pair of touchdowns on its two red zone trips. The Gators even received an assist from Georgia coach Mark Richt, who made a questionable call on an onsides kick attempt after the 'Dogs cut the lead to 7-3. Florida needed just 41 yards to march to its second touchdown drive after Butch Rowley scooped up the onsides attempt.
— Kevin Brockway
The Florida offense was very conservative in the first half, with Tebow attempting only five passes. The Gators ran only 25 plays, so there weren't that many opportunities to be creative. Getting the ball to start the third quarter, the offense had a chance to really seize momentum. The Gators opened up with a pass for a 14-yard gain and had a drive going before Brandon James dropped a third-down pass that would have given the Gators a first down inside the 25. Moments later, when it appeared the Bulldogs were in the midst of putting together a 98-yard scoring drive, cornerback Joe Haden came up with a huge momentum-changer for the Gators. On a first-down play from the UF 29, Haden stepped in front of a Stafford pass for the pick. He raced 88 yards down the sideline before being bumped out of bounds on the UGA 1. A play later, Tebow was in the end zone and it was suddenly a 21-3 advantage. Following a defensive stop, the offense finally struck for the big play, with Tebow finding Louis Murphy deep for a 44-yard TD pass. Then it was the defense with a dagger, tackle Terron Sanders returning a fumble 20 yards to the UGA 10 to set up a Tebow TD. The score led some 'Dog fans to head for the exits.
— Robbie Andreu
In the days leading up to the Florida-Georgia game, much of the hoopla involved whether either team would be bold enough to pull the same type of celebration stunt the Bulldogs did after their first touchdown in the 2007 contest. Well, the Gators' initial TD came in the first quarter and the reaction was subdued. Georgia's first? With the fourth quarter beginning, we're still waiting. The Bulldogs have moved the ball fine, but their play once in the red zone was on par with Kentucky's ineptitude a week earlier. Plus, Georgia seemed to do all it could to set up Florida for scores of its own. I ramble, yes, but this one is over and finding something interesting to share about the final period is difficult. Here's something ... Brandon Spikes is lining up at defensive end. That's an interesting wrinkle. Oh, poor Matthew Stafford ... he just threw another pick. This one Dustin Doe tipped and Ahmad Black returned to the Bulldogs 25. One play later Tim Tebow threw a take-that touchdown pass to Percy Harvin to make the score 42-3. Florida's next series saw Tebow removed after one snap to a roar from the crowd. Then, John Brantley came in throwing. And throwing to Deonte Thompson for a touchdown. Apparently, Urban Meyer is celebrating in his own way.
— John Patton
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