October 31, 2009

Gators dominate Bulldogs - again

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Well, at least Georgia doesn't have to worry about Tim Tebow anymore.

That's about the only positive news the Bulldogs could take solace in Saturday afternoon against Florida, after the Tebow-led Gators rolled to a 41-17 win.

The win was the second straight for Florida over Georgia, which has dominated the series, capturing 17 of the past 20 contests.

"Well, here we are again," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We shot ourselves in the foot pretty good. That's not to say Florida wasn't playing well, but we certainly hurt ourselves for more points."

Richt wasn't kidding.

The Gators intercepted four passes, three coming against starter Joe Cox and one off of backup Logan Gray by linebacker Brandon Spikes who took the ball in for a 5-yard score.

But that's not all.

Nine penalties for 87 yards didn't do the Bulldogs any favors either as Georgia fell to 4-4 under Richt for first time in his nine years as head coach.

Richt tried to put on a positive face after the game.

"We're going to regroup and do whatever we can to get back on the winning track," Richt said. "I'm dedicated to making sure we do that. Right now I don't think we've got anybody who is going to jump ship. We're going to keep fighting. That's really all we can do. Things don't always go the way you want in life and when they don't you can kind of find out what you're made of."

At least Georgia (4-4, 3-3) won't have to worry about facing Tebow anymore.

The former Heisman Trophy winner completed 15 of 21 passes for 164 yards and two scores while he rushed for a team-high 91 yards and two touchdowns, enabling him to surpass Herschel Walker's SEC record for rushing touchdowns.

Tebow and Walker came in tied with 49 rushing touchdowns each.

"To break Herschel Walker's record in the SEC is great, and I get to coach Tim for four more games," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "This is a special record for him. It means the world to him and it means the world to the team. We gave him the game ball and we're still in awe."

It was that kind of afternoon for the Bulldogs, who saw their record fall to 4-4, 3-3 in the conference.

Trailing 24-10 at the half, the first play of the third quarter turned disastrous when strongside linebacker A.J. Jones tipped and intercepted Cox before falling forward to the 17.

Two plays later, Tebow rumbled in from the 5 for a 31-10 lead and the rout was on.

Georgia did pull within 31-17 on a 4-yard pass from Cox to Mike Moore but Georgia would get no closer. The Bulldogs' subsequent drive came to a screeching halt when Jones picked of Cox a second time on third down inside the 50-yard line.

A third Cox pick led to another Florida touchdown, and led to the Gator's fifth score, a 44-yard field goal by Caleb Sturgis.

It was not one of Cox's better efforts.

The fifth-year senior completed just 11 of 24 passes for 164 yards and the three picks which led to 17 Florida points before he was pulled midway through the fourth quarter in favor of Gray.

He didn't fare any better.

With the ball deep inside Georgia territory, Gray was intercepted by Bulldog nemesis Spikes who took it in for a 5-yard score.

"It just a bad night," Cox said. "You can't beat good teams with all the mistakes that we made, much less a great one like Florida."

This one wasn't close.

Florida jumped out to a 24-10 lead, with Tebow hooking up with wide receiver Riley Cooper on passes of 22 and 29 yards on the Gators' first two possessions for a quick 14-0 lead.

A 49-yard field goal by Blair Walsh on Georgia's ensuing possession gave the Bulldogs hope and some momentum which the defense parlayed into a quick three and out by the Gators' offense.

Following a 42-yard punt, a personal foul and 19-yard pass from Cox to A.J. Green set Georgia up at the Florida 31. On the next play, Cox found Aron White down the middle of the field for a 26-yard touchdown cutting the Gators' advantage to 14-10.

But apparently the score gave the Gators a wakeup call.

Georgia didn't help itself when a personal foul during the kickoff by Brandon Boykin allowed the Gators good field position at the 36 which Florida used to push the margin to 17-10 on a career-best 56-yard
field goal by Sturgis, the second-longest in Florida history.

On Georgia's next possession, defensive end Carlos Dunlap sacked Cox for a 12-yard loss forcing a punt.

That play set up Florida's fourth and final score of the half, when Tebow burst through the line of scrimmage on his way to a 23-yard touchdown run.

The score allowed Tebow to break Walker's career SEC record for touchdowns with 50, although it only took the Bulldog legend three years to set the original mark.

Ealey led Georgia with 17 carries for 70 yards. Green was only able to catch three passes for 50 yards. Florida outgained Georgia in total yardage 374 to 286.

The Bulldogs return to action next week when it hosts Tennessee Tech.

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