Halftime analysis: Seven thoughts

semerson@macon.comNovember 2, 2013 

UGA_v_FL

Georgia's Todd Gurley rumbles toward the end zone for the Bulldog's first touchdown of the day against Florida Saturday in Jacksonville.

GRANT BLANKENSHIP/THE TELEGRAPH — gblankenship@macon.com

Seven thoughts as Georgia leads Florida at the break, 23-3.

1. I can already see it: 2012 was the year Georgia was five yards away from a national title, and 2013 was the year it was one sprained ankle away. Hey, isn't Mike Bobo a much smarter playcaller when he has Todd Gurley? (Not to mention Michael Bennett.) On that opening drive: Todd Gurley two runs for 30 yards, one catch for 14, Michael Bennett 2 catches for 14 yards. Yeah, they missed those guys.

2. Gurley changes things because of his pure running ability, and ability to break any play for a long one, as we saw on the 73-yard catch-and-run. Bennett changes things because he's a sure-handed pass-catcher and Aaron Murray really, really trusts him. It's no accident that Bennett caught the first two passes on Georgia's final drive of the half, as well as two third-down conversions earlier in the game.

3. Because of all this, Murray and the offense have 335 yards and 23 points at halftime against the SEC's top-ranked defense, and the nation's fourth-ranked defense. Georgia gained 259 yards in the first quarter. Georgia had 221 yards the entire GAME at Vanderbilt. It's confirmation of how much the injuries affected this offense.

4. As for Georgia's defense, it's had a solid performance, though not a great one, considering how putrid Florida is on offense. Todd Grantham will say - rightly - that his guys made stops when it really mattered. Two in the red zone to force field goal attempts, and the fourth-down attempt late in the half. Still, the run defense is a bit leaky, and Florida's 83-yard pass on the second play was an example of Georgia making another quarterback look great.

5. There's more substituting going on in general, but especially in the secondary. Damian Swann has played the nickel back most of the time, rather than Josh Harvey-Clemons, and Sheldon Dawson is seeing his most action of the year. In fact Harvey-Clemons was out for most of that final defensive drive, and he wasn't hurt.

6. This qualifies as the greatest in-game injury update ever: Early in the second quarter Arthur Lynch took a shot to the ribs and had to leave the game. A short time later came this e-mail from UGA spokesman Claude Felton: "Artie Lynch sent word up to announce that he is "Boston Strong" and the Red Sox won the World Series this week."

7. Jonathan Rumph has played, so no more redshirt for him. But he hasn't caught a pass, or been targeted. So ... enough with that.

Final bonus thought: Before this game began, I turned to a Florida beat writer and pointed out that most beat writers on both sides seemed to think Georgia would win. He looked at me, bewildered, and replied: "I think the only question is by how much." And that's how this has played out. Unless Georgia's offense or special teams delivers some gifts to the Gators, it's hard to see this game finishing close.

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