From The Field: Georgia vs. Florida 2021

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From The Field: Georgia vs. Florida 2021

Florida is a better team than I thought. I expected the Bulldogs to pound the Gators into submission with the same type of smash-mouth run game that has devastated Georgia’s other opponents this season. However, Georgia’s rock-ribbed defense provided the lift at the end of the first half that put the game out of reach. The Dawgs have relied on their defense all season, but in Jacksonville, the defense took the offensive and paced the team to an SEC East championship and a spot in the League championship game in Atlanta.

Of course, even if faltering, the Bulldog offense did provide its punch, but the defense seemingly scored at will as the seconds ticked down in the first half. A game that appeared destined to be a classic barn-burner changed direction as the Bulldog defense grabbed the contest by the throat, delivering a margin of error to the offense and sending a message to the nation that this Georgia team is stacked with talent and is ready to make a deep run in the postseason.

 

 

 

 

The 50/50 crowd at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is always fun to watch. As the stands filled before the game, it appeared to me that there was a whole lot of red scattered around in Florida’s half. I dismissed the thought at the time, but as the game wound down and Gator faithful turned their backs on Dan Mullen and his charges, it became clear that – much like a few years ago in South Bend – Bulldog Nation had found loads on tickets on the Florida side of the field in the secondary market. A stadium full of woofing Dawgs serenaded the departing blue and orange clad folks as they collectively voiced their opinion on Florida’s season with their feet.

How fitting that Zamir White provided the exclamation point. His breakaway gallop in the fourth added the perfect exclamation to the game. It had been a tough slog all day for Zeus. Sure, he was effective all day, but he earned every inch. Tough running and yards after contact are his hallmarks, and Saturday was no exception. When he broke into Florida’s secondary on that play, I had a clear view as he ran toward me along the left side of the field. As he neared my camera position and it was clear that he would score, I hoped one of the photos would catch a slight smile on his face as he outraced the Florida secondary to put an exclamation point on the game. No smile. Zeus doesn’t break discipline, but he and his teammates broke the Gator’s (and their fans) hearts.

It was a wonderful day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.