he sign on the bed sheet draped across the motor home from Georgia read, "Damn GOOD Dawgs."
Today, led by the best of them all, Georgia's third-ranked Bulldogs were nothing short of that.
Georgia ran over and around startled Florida in a 44-0 victory as Herschel Walker rushed for 219 yards and scored three times.
The win raised Georgia's record to 9-0 and its Southeastern Conference record to 5-0. It also raised the likelihood of a No. 1 or 2 national ranking when the polls come out Tuesday.
There were 80,749 fans on hand in the expanded and refurbished Gator Bowl, the biggest football crowd in Florida history, and they even behaved themselves in what is sometimes called the world's largest outdoor cocktail party. But there wasn't much to argue about in this latest version of an ageless rivalry. After being stopped twice in the first half within 17 yards of a score, No. 20 Florida (5-3, 2-3) never mounted another drive.
"They had their way today," said Florida quarterback Wayne Peace.
Walker seemed to be setting a record almost every time he touched the ball, until finally and mercifully he was replaced by second-stringers in the third quarter with Georgia ahead, 27-0.
He established NCAA marks for most yards gained in a three-year career (breaking Charles White's 4,854) and most carries in a three-year career (breaking Ed Marinaro's 918).
He set a Georgia record for total offense, surpassing Zeke Bratkowski's 4,824 yards, and he moved to fifth on the all-time NCAA rushing list.
All this with a sniffle.
"I've had a cold for three weeks and I was a little short of breath," said the 220-pound junior with the fluid-drive moves.
"Maybe it hurt my little bursts of speed a little bit."
Walker said he wasn't disappointed that Coach Vince Dooley removed him two-thirds of the way through the game. "We have a lot more physical teams we have to play and I have to be ready for it."
Such is the attitude of the odds-on favorite for the Heisman Trophy. His performance today earned him the most valuable player award for this showdown of deep-South powers, but he said he'd put off celebrating in favor of rushing back to Georgia to finish a book report.
Walker scored the first three touchdowns and each one bore his unique stamp.
In the first quarter, Georgia recovered Peace's fumble at the Florida 37 and quarterback John Lastinger turned the attack over to Walker.
Walker gained seven yards on his first carry. On the next down he took the handoff and was off into the defensive line. He bounced left and broke four tackles on a 30-yard run into the end zone, scoring standing up.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs drove to the Florida one and the entire Georgia half of the stands stood up in expectation of the obvious. Lastinger handed off to Walker and the muscular back launched himself as if riding a pogo stick. He bounded over the masses of linemen for a 14-0 lead. By halftime he'd already amassed 162 yards rushing.
In the third quarter, with the score 20-0 after two field goals by Kevin Butler, Walker found himself a yard from scoring again. This time, his third-down leap fell short.
Lastinger called his number again on fourth down, but mishandled the ball. When Walker arrived to take it, "It looked like I was going to hit him in the back and drive him into the line. So I just grabbed the ball from him and took it in."
Sounds easy. In fact, Walker snatched the ball from the stumbling Lastinger at about hip level and slid into the end zone under everyone. It wasn't pretty, which is rare for Walker.
Despite all this offensive prowess, it was defense that turned the game around, according to Dooley.
"I don't really know what happened today," said the coach, whose team had won squeaky-tight, 26-21 games over Florida the last two years. "We were dominating but I can't tell you why. Walker had a little something to do with it and the offensive line blocked extremely well.
"But really the big play was when the defense stopped them on the goal line in the second quarter. If they score there it's 14-7 and we could still be out there fighting."
The Gators had first and goal at the Georgia five late in the half, but three plays later they were at the one with one shot left. Peace handed off to Lorenzo Hampton on fourth down and the running back broke left and dived for the goal.
Jeff Sanchez, a defensive back, was there to stop him. "It was really close," said Sanchez. "I wasn't sure whether he was in or not." The officials ruled not and the Bulldogs were on their way to a rout.
Sanchez had also stopped Florida's earlier bid for a touchdown when he intercepted Peace's 17-yard pass in the end zone in the first period. But the goal-line stand, he said, forced Florida to start thinking about the big play to get back in the game instead of chipping away with short-yardage plays.
"They went for the big play and that's how I got my other interception" later in the second quarter, said Sanchez. By then, with Walker in high gear, it was all but history