It may be called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, but it certainly was no party for Georgia and Dawg fans in 2020. The hated Gators soundly beat the Bulldogs, and it was not close. Yes, the Dawgs talent kept the score close enough that a glimmer of hope remained for the most optimistic fans. But Florida took control of the game in the first half and never looked back as a pack of crippled Dawgs fought in vain to engineer a comeback.
I hate the phrase “bitten by the injury bug.” Every team has injuries every year. There is no excuse or comfort to be found in that old saw. Georgia was bitten by Florida’s offense, not the curse of an imaginary insect. Of course, UGA contributed to the outcome through the play of its offense. There were enough quality players dressed in Red and Black to stay with Florida, except at quarterback. Stetson Bennett lost his effectiveness after the hit that sent him to the locker room for treatment of a shoulder injury, and it is clear that D’Wan Mathis is not going to provide an answer for the Bulldogs.
I don’t know what the offensive line could have done to change the outcome. After the Dawgs initial success in the run game, Florida crowded the line of scrimmage and dared the Bulldog quarterback to throw. A combination of poor throws, drops, and not finding the open guy doomed the passing game. However, I didn’t think the offensive line played badly. At least, one would have a hard time pinning this loss on the line. The story was different on defense.
The defensive front felt the loss of Jordan Davis all night. Without him, Georgia could not get pressure up the middle. Davis eats blockers; his motto is “two on me, somebody’s free.” Add that to the defense’s failure to get the ball away from Florida, and we saw a gassed defensive front that before the end of the first half. Florida’s offensive line was able to block the defensive line and pick up blitzing linebackers effectively.
Bottom Line: Florida kicked Georgia’s butt. To say anything else is to make excuses. Luckily, that was not the last Cocktail Party, and all the negative talk will disappear when the Dawgs get back on track in Jacksonville next fall.