Jarvis Jones leads dominant Georgia defense

dshirley@macon.comOctober 27, 2012 

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mark Richt gave Jarvis Jones a long, hard hug near the 50-yard line Saturday night after Georgia’s 17-9 win over Florida.

And with good reason.

Jones had another All-America performance for the Georgia defense in helping the Bulldogs beat the Gators for the second straight year. Jones finished with a game-high 13 tackles as the Bulldogs’ defense held the Gators without a touchdown.

“I had a great game, but I thought all of us had a great game,” Jones said. “I mean, we just held the No. 2 team in the country without a touchdown, so I think that shows just how great of a game we played and what kind of effort we had.”

Jones certainly was the leader of that effort.

In addition to his tackle total, he had three sacks and caused two fumbles, while also recovering one fumble. And he made the defensively play of the game with a tackle on Florida’s final drive. With Georgia leading by eight and Florida driving deep in Bulldogs territory, Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel hit Jordan Reed over the middle for a short completion.

Reed turned and headed toward the goal line but was hit by Jones from behind inside the Bulldogs’ 5-yard line, and the ball bounced into the end zone. Sanders Commings recovered the ball in the end zone for Florida’s sixth turnover, and the Bulldogs ran out the clock on their biggest win of the season.

“I just knew if he scored, the game could be tied, so I took it upon myself to get back there and get the ball out,” Jones said. “It was certainly a big play for us. It was just a play I had to make.”

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was confident Jones would make those kinds of plays Saturday.

Jones’ three sacks added up to minus-22 yards for the Gators, and he also had 4.5 tackles for loss for minus-24. A Georgia defense that has been inconsistent for most of this season was dominant, holding Florida to 266 yards on 69 plays. The Gators’ run-first offense was held to 81 yards on the ground on 41 attempts, and Driskel completed 14-of-26 passes for 185 yards, while throwing two interceptions and fumbling twice.

Driskel also was sacked five times.

“This is a man’s game, and he played like a man,” Grantham said of Jones. “We moved Jarvis around a little bit more this game and played him with Jordan to get him closer to the ball so he could make plays. And he made plays. He was aggressive, and we wanted to get him where the ball was going to be, and he was just unbelievable.

“He deserves everything he gets because he just works so hard and is such a good player.”

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