Saturday October 30, 2010Oh Henry! Gators Beat Georgia In Overtime Thriller
Senior Chas Henry
On Georgia's possession in the extra period, Gator junior free safety Will Hill (West Orange, N.J.) intercepted a pass from quarterback Aaron Murray and raced down the sideline for an apparent game-ending touchdown. However, he was ruled out of bounds after an 89-yard return, meaning that Florida was to begin its possession at UGA's 25-yard line. Hill had two picks and also thwarted a two-point conversion with a catch in the end zone. After UF ran three plays and gained six yards, Henry delivered the game-winner to give the Orange and Blue its 18th win in the last 21 encounters with the Bulldogs.
Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley (Ocala, Fla.) completed 16-of-25 passes for 193 yards and one interception, while six different players had multiple receptions and accounted of 219 yards receiving for Florida. Burton had a team-high five catches for 35 yards, while redshirt sophomore Omarius Hines (Corsicana, Texas) led the Gators with 50 yards on four receptions. Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. (Hollywood Fla.) also chipped in with three receptions for 46 yards.
On the first offensive play of the game for Georgia, Murray was intercepted by junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins (Pahokee, Fla.), his third interception of the season. Florida's offense was unable to convert, and the drive ended with a missed 42-yard field goal by Henry.
In the second quarter, Rainey put Florida on the board first with a 20-yard rushing touchdown, his second touchdown of the season, first rushing score and longest run of the campaign. The Gators used an 11-play, 91-yard drive and an extra point from Henry to take a 7-0 lead.
Georgia answered Florida's attack with a 64-yard touchdown pass from Murray to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Tavarres King to tie the game at 7-7. It was his first completion of the contest and longest scoring toss of the season.
Later in the second quarter, senior strong safety Ahmad Black (Lakeland, Fla.) forced a fumble by Murray which was picked up and returned 10 yards by redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins (Olney, Md.), his first career fumble recovery. On a challenging 3rd down and 19, Brantley connected with redshirt junior wide receiver Deonte Thompson (Belle Glades, Fla.) for 21 yards and a Florida first down. The Gators capitalized on the turnover with a two-yard touchdown run by junior running back Jeffery Demps (Winter Garden, Fla.) to regain the advantage at 14-7.
On Georgia's next possession, Hill snared Murray's pass for his first pick of the year and returned it 13 yards to the Bulldogs' 41-yard line. Florida's offense followed the interception with a 40-yard pass from Brantley to Demps to put Florida at the 1-yard line. On the next play, Burton pounded it in the end zone and the extra point lengthened UF's lead to 21-7.
On UGA's first possession of the second half, the Bulldogs were forced to settle for a field goal after a strong Gator defensive showing held them on 3rd down and 4 from the 10-yard line. Blair Walsh completed a 28-yard field goal to shorten Florida's lead to 21-10 with 5:18 left in the quarter.
Three seconds into the fourth quarter, Georgia used a four-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Washaun Ealey to close the gap to 21-16. Hill foiled the two-point conversion with a diving catch in the end zone to preserve the Gators' five-point advantage.
On the ensuing drive, Rainey gave the Gators excellent field possession with a 44-yard kickoff return to the Georgia 49. Henry capped off a eight-play, 33-yard drive with a 34-yard field goal that resulted in a 24-16 margin.
Georgia answered with a 74-yard, four-play drive that ended with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Murray to sophomore tight end Orson Charles. The Bulldogs used a successful two-point conversion on a rush by Murray to tie the game at 24-24.
Florida moved back in front on a career-long 51-yard touchdown by Burton, which was the rookie's team-leading 11th touchdown and 10th on the ground. The point-after by Henry put the Gators ahead, 31-24.
Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin then returned junior kicker Zack Brust's (Jacksonville, Fla.) 64-yard kickoff 51 yards to UF's 43-yard line. Although he was tackled by Brust, Boykin's lengthy return gave Georgia excellent field position. The Bulldogs tied the game seven plays later on a 15-yard scoring toss from Murray to wide receiver A.J. Green and an extra point by Walsh.
It was the battle of defenses in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, as the score remained deadlocked at 31-31. Holding a 2-2 all-time record in overtime entering today, the Gators went to an extra session for the first time since a 49-42 victory in double overtime against Vanderbilt on Nov. 5, 2005, in The Swamp. Meanwhile, Georgia had not been in overtime since a 26-23 triumph over Alabama on Sept. 22, 2007.
UF will meet Eastern Division foe Vanderbilt next week in Nashville, Tenn. The game will air at 12:21 p.m. and will be televised on the SEC Network.