Bill Shanks

Bulldogs played angry to send a message

Georgia running back Nick Chubb (27) is lifted into the air by teammate Isaiah Wynn (77) after his first quarter touchdown against Florida Saturday in Jacksonville.
Georgia running back Nick Chubb (27) is lifted into the air by teammate Isaiah Wynn (77) after his first quarter touchdown against Florida Saturday in Jacksonville. The Telegraph

Well, that was something. That was amazing.

Georgia beat Florida 42-7 Saturday in Jacksonville. That type of sentence has not been written much over the last few decades. It’s real though. It really happened.

Two years ago, Georgia started the third-string quarterback and got embarrassed. That got the coach fired. Then last year, Georgia had only 21 rushing yards on 19 carries. That made Georgia fans furious.

This year, almost everything went right for the Bulldogs.

After seeing Georgia put up a 6-21 record against Florida the last 27 years, Bulldogs fans still had that worry going into Saturday’s game. It’s that feeling that no matter how good Georgia may be, something crazy could happen in Jacksonville.

It was a wasted emotion, at least on this cloudy afternoon in Jacksonville.

Georgia made it clear from the first few minutes of the game they were in control at EverBank Field. Florida could do nothing right, and that was all this great Georgia team needed to finish the game off before some could probably even get in their seats.

The Bulldogs wanted to show early on their defense would be in control. They won the toss and deferred to the second half. Georgia basically said, “Go ahead, Florida, let’s see what you can do against us.”

They did nothing. Florida’s false start on the first play from scrimmage was a sign. They were in more trouble when on the first third down play Lorenzo Carter swallowed up Gators’ quarterback Feleipe Franks to force the first of seven punts.

And then Georgia scored. Then they scored again.

Georgia scored more points (14) in the first five-plus minutes of the game than they did in the previous two games (13) against the Gators.

Then Georgia didn’t stop scoring.

There was anger in this Georgia team Saturday. This team wanted to send a message to anyone who had doubts. This is a great football team. They came into a place full of scars and bad memories and made Florida fans feel what the Georgia faithful have felt for years.

But maybe this Georgia fanbase no longer has to cringe when thinking of making the trip to Jacksonville. Maybe Saturday’s game changed all of that.

This was complete control, from start to finish. This was a domination Georgia fans haven’t seen since, well, a long time. Think 1982, when Georgia beat Florida 44-0.

Sure, Florida got a late touchdown with Georgia’s second-string defense in, but it didn’t change how great a performance it was for the Bulldogs.

When the Gators pushed Georgia at times, the Bulldogs pushed back. Florida had an impressive drive and finally went down the field on Georgia’s defense in the second quarter, only to fail on a fourth-and-2 play. Then Florida fans left – en masse – with six minutes left in the first half.

They didn’t want to see it. Georgia fans know that feeling.

Sure, these weren’t the Steve Spurrier Gators or the Urban Meyer Gators, but it was the two-time defending division champion Gators. For Georgia to get where it needs to go, this was a must-win game.

The ride back to all parts of Georgia was a sweet one for Georgia fans. They didn’t walk out of that stadium wondering when they would ever beat the Gators. It was Florida’s fans who left early Saturday, and they’ll likely never forget this beat down from Georgia.

The message was sent. Georgia is a great football team. They are dominating teams they should dominate, which is another sign they are in the middle of a special season.

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