Georgia Dawgs Bury Gators In 42-30 Win

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Georgia Bulldogs celebrated in the end zone early and on the sideline late.

They probably should have hoisted Knowshon Moreno and Matthew Stafford on their shoulders for both.

Moreno ran for a career-high 188 yards and three scores, Stafford threw three touchdown passes and No. 20 Georgia upset ninth-ranked Florida 42-30 on Saturday in a game filled with big plays and momentum shifts.

The Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) sacked Tim Tebow six times and contained the Gators' high-scoring offense most of the game. The result was a rare Bulldogs victory in one of the South's most heated rivalries.

Florida (5-3, 3-3) had dominated the series known as the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party since 1990, winning 15 of the last 17 meetings and eight of nine. Georgia turned it around Saturday, taking advantage of Tebow's bruised non-throwing shoulder and Florida's porous defense.

Bulldogs coach Mark Richt set the tone for before the game. Richt, who had been 1-5 against the Gators, uncharacteristically orchestrated an on-field celebration following his team's first touchdown.

"I told them if they didn't get a penalty for celebrating after the first score I would be mad at them," Richt told CBS Sports as he headed to the locker room.

The Bulldogs came through for their coach in a big way, when the entire team ran on the field and into the end zone to celebrate Moreno's first TD run. The Bulldogs bounced around and drew two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Georgia was forced to kickoff from the 8-yard line and the brazen show of emotion drew the ire of Florida coach Urban Meyer.

Just two weeks ago, Richt chastised his players for jumping on Vanderbilt's midfield logo following a 20-17 victory.

Meyer huddled his players on the sideline and had them jumping up and down. The Gators may have felt dissed but that wasn't enough to make up for defense that's struggled all season.

The defending national champions were exposed in losses to LSU and Auburn, and Kentucky's Andre Woodson picked them apart in a close game last week.

Georgia was even better, gouging every aspect of Florida's defense.

Stafford was 11-of-18 for 217 yards with an interception by that was returned for a touchdown early.

Moreno did most of the damage on 33 carries, picking up yards inside and out, breaking tackles and outrunning defenders all over the field. Stafford took advantage, using play-action passes to make Florida's secondary look silly. The Gators' pass rush rarely got close to Stafford.

The Bulldogs sealed the victory when Tebow fumbled a snap with 2:23 remaining. The turnover started a raucous celebration on the Georgia sideline, then at midfield and again in the same end zone.

Georgia finished with its most points in the series since a 44-0 win in 1982.

Florida simply wasn't as effective as it had been on offense. Tebow injured his shoulder last week against the Wildcats and was clearly favoring it Saturday. He ran very little in the first half, and the Gators just weren't the same.

Tebow finished 14-of-22 for 236 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.

Percy Harvin picked up the slack, running for 97 yards and catching two passes for 41 yards. A fumble by Kestahn Moore and another fumbled snap by Moore helped Georgia build an early lead.

Stafford never let the Bulldogs relinquish it.

He connected with Mohamed Massaquoi for an 84-yard score that made it 14-7. He flipped a 1-yarder in the flat to Brannan Southerland to make it 28-17 early in the second half. Stafford's 53-yarder to Mikey Henderson was the topper, making it 35-24 with about 11 minutes remaining.

Florida also dropped to 7-1 in rivalry games under Meyer, losing its first game against Tennessee, Georgia or Florida State.


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