ATHENS — Jay Rome had a catch last Saturday, one of only four the Georgia tight end has had this season. It’s two balls he didn’t catch, however, that stuck out.
Both could have been touchdowns, and they were on separate drives. Georgia, of course, has not scored a touchdown the last two games, so the near-misses to Rome were quite glaring.
The first didn’t appear to be Rome’s fault. It came in the second quarter, on a third-and-1 from Florida’s 36, when play-action fooled the Florida defense enough that Rome was able to get behind the secondary. He had clear space towards the end zone, but Faton Bauta’s pass was slightly behind Rome, who reached back and got his hands on the ball, but couldn’t pull it in.
Rome dissected his end of the play after Tuesday’s practice.
“I came out of my break, I looked for the ball and it was behind me. I tried to get two hands back around on it. I ended up only getting one hand back, and couldn’t really turn around in time,” Rome said. “Definitely would have been a really tough catch seeing how I couldn’t get two hands on it. But still a catch I think that I can make and I will make. It is what it is.”
One play later, on fourth down, Sony Michel was stuffed for a three-yard loss.
Rome’s next big chance came in the fourth quarter, when Georgia (trailing 20-3) had first down from Florida’s 13. Rome got open in the end zone and Bauta put it near him, but Rome couldn’t haul it in.
“That was just all me,” Rome said. “The quarterback threw a perfect ball and I had a great opportunity to catch it, and I just didn’t maximize my opportunity. That’s something I have to work on myself, and something I have to make that play for the quarterback.”
Three plays later Bauta threw an interception, and any chances the Bulldogs had for a comeback were over.
“I’ve made plays way tougher than that, so that’s what made it hurt even more,” Rome said. “But it’s over with, nothing I can do about it. It’s over with.”