Five plays that changed the game

JACKSONVILLE — There were a number of plays that helped determine the eventual outcome in Florida’s 49-10 victory over Georgia. The Gators had stars all over the field and they each played a significant role in establishing Florida as the leader in the SEC East after crushing the Bulldogs. Let’s take a look at those plays in the order in which they occurred and the players that made them possible.

PHANTOM CALL: The game could have taken a decidedly different direction when Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was picked off by Georgia cornerback Prince Miller at the Bulldogs 25-yard line. The play occurred during Florida’s second possession with no score in the game. The Dogs could have had the football just 60 yards from paydirt. However, Georgia defensive end Jarius Wynn was called for a personal foul after officials said that he got his hands in the facemask of a Florida offensive lineman. It was a questionable call by the officials.

HARVIN RUN: The Gators scored two plays after the Phantom call, when Percy Harvin ran 13-yards for the first score of the game. Just as he has all year long, Harvin demonstrated that he has just too much speed for the opposition. The score was the first of the game. 

FOURTH AND GOAL: Tebow scored the Gators second touchdown on a one-yard run from two-yards out to give Florida an 11-point lead. This was a man-on-man test of who can knock the other off the line of scrimmage. The Gators won the battle on this play and it continued all day and night. 

HADEN PICKS OFF STAFFORD: Cornerback Joe Haden had been looking for an opportunity to jump a route intended for Massaquoi. He took advantage of that opportunity and returned the football 88-yards to the Georgia one-yard line. One play later, Tebow ran the football into the end zone and the Gators were up by 18 points. Florida head coach Urban Meyer called this the play of the game. The Georgia meltdown began right away. Haden’s 88-yard interception return was the fourth longest in school history. Jackie Simpson (1955 vs. Mississippi State) and Joe Brodsky (1956 vs. Mississippi State) hold the Florida record with 100-yard returns for touchdowns. By the way, Haden led the game in tackles with 10 tackles.

FAILED ONSIDE KICK: Georgia head coach Mark Richt opted for an onsides kick after Georgia place kicker Blair Walsh drilled a 35-yard field goal in the second quarter. The attempt backfired as Butch Rowley recovered the ball at the Georgia 41. Florida scored seven plays later and took a 14-3 lead. 

BONUS PLAY ONE — TEBOW TO MURPHY: Tebow capped a four play drive with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy. In a game where the Gators had scored all of their points via the ground game, Tebow-to-Murphy demonstrated that the Gators had whipped Georgia through the air as well.

BONUS PLAY TWO — SANDERS FUMBLE AND RUMBLE: Defensive tackle Terron Sanders picked up a Knowshon Moreno fumble after he was pummeled by the Gators defense for a 12-yard loss. He began with an impressive spin move and sprinted toward the endzone. He made it to the Georgia 10-yard line before he was tackled. Anytime you can watch a 300-pound defensive tackle use a spin move with the football in his hands- it’s one of the plays of the game.

This was as complete a victory as the Gators have had since the dismantling of Ohio State in the 2006 national championship game. There were so many plays that highlight Florida’s domination of the Bulldogs. And none of them required emptying the benches. Imagine that.