JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Seven thoughts (well OK a few more) at halftime as Georgia trails Florida 20-0 at EverBank Field.
1. Georgia hasn’t scored a touchdown in three weeks and 114 minutes and 53 seconds of game action. Let that sink in. Georgia had two weeks to try to create an offensive spark, even changing quarterbacks (more on that in a bit) but it hasn’t worked for a number of reasons – starting with some strange and ineffective play-calling. Georgia fans must appreciate Mike Bobo more and more. There seemed to be about a half-dozen third-and-shorts for Georgia (less than a yard) and at no point was a quarterback sneak or fullback dive called. In fact on one third-and-inches there wasn’t even a fullback on the field, and yet the call was still a run straight up the middle. Another head-scratcher: Part of the attraction to Bauta was supposed to be his mobility, but he hasn’t been given much opportunity to show it. Bauta’s first zone-read keeper resulted in a 2-yard loss, though it wasn’t so much his fault. The blocking was nonexistent. Speaking of which …
2. Georgia’s run game has been totally neutralized. The run blocking continues to be a problem, with no push at the line, and the attempts at outside runs don’t go anywhere either. Georgia has to find a way to get Sony Michel (or somebody else) some space to run. It’s not been happening.
3. Faton Bauta has looked OK at times, though with a couple major mistakes. The interception deep in his own territory shouldn’t happen, but it did. Still, Bauta hasn’t been Georgia’s biggest problem. His throwing is better than some may have expected; he doesn’t have the strongest arm but he is accurate, and Bauta has done a good job of waiting out the play, going through progressions and finding an open receiver. He’s run the play-action pretty well. To be fair, so did Greyson Lambert, which led to the question of why Georgia didn’t use it more. Bauta did have two glaring misses: The interception, when he underthrew Isaiah McKenzie, and the third-down pass that was just behind Jay Rome. If the ball’s there it’s either a touchdown or a chance in the red zone.
4. Having said all that, this has been a game about three big plays, all in Florida’s favor, two for touchdowns and another to set one up. But that’s what happens when you’re not the better team: You fail to make the big plays to offset that, and don’t create some of your own. Throw in an anemic Georgia offense and that’s why you have a rout and a seemingly hopeless second half.
5. The back-breaking Florida touchdown – or at least it feels like it’s back-breaking, considering Georgia’s offensive struggles – came when two things went wrong for the Bulldogs. First, they couldn’t keep Treon Harris in the pocket. And second, they couldn’t use Dominick Sanders, who was in the locker room suspended for the first half because of last week’s targeting penalty. He can play in the second half. But its probably too late to do any good.
6. Poor Reggie Davis. Three weeks after the dropped pass at Tennessee, he had the game-turning drop, this time on a punt. It was an all-around awful play by Davis, who chose to try to fair catch at his own 5. Then he muffed it backwards, allowed it to be advanced, which it was in the end zone by the Gators. Davis also later had a drop on what could’ve been a completion into Florida territory. Just not a good day for the junior from Tampa.
7. Georgia’s defense actually played well for most of the half, and that was without Jordan Jenkins, who has hardly played. Leonard Floyd and Davin Bellamy are playing well on the outside, and there generally are a lot of red jerseys around the football. With the exception of the 66-yard touchdown (other than that, Mrs. Lincoln …) Georgia has done a good job of keeping Harris in the pocket. The Gators also haven’t been able to gash the Bulldogs the way they did last year, helped in part by some suspect play-calling. But it hasn’t hurt Florida. It has hurt the other team.
Bonus thought: How about Brice Ramsey? He’s turned out to be Georgia’s most productive quarterback after all, just at a different position.
Final thought: This rivalry has seen some strange turns and odd results. But it’s hard to see this game turning around. Very, very hard. And Georgia’s season looks soon to officially be a lost one.