By Mark Long
Sunday, October 28, 2007
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Oct. 27 -- 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 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 touchdown run. The Bulldogs bounced around and drew two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Georgia was forced to kick off 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 a defense that has 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.