Commentary

Jones records four sacks

Sophomore linebacker ovewhelms Gators, haunts gimpy QB Brantley

Updated: October 29, 2011, 10:50 PM ET
By David Ching | DawgNation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jarvis Jones saved his best for his team's biggest game.

Georgia's star outside linebacker was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award earlier this week and showed why during Saturday's 24-20 win against Florida with four sacks and a forced fumble deep in Florida territory that led to a short touchdown drive.

"It was a great game," Jones said. "I give credit to my teammates, though. They were in great position, they were in coverage holding their player down, and I got to the quarterback. It all goes together."

The Bulldogs limited Florida to three points and 32 total yards in the second half, mixing up their coverage schemes and confusing Gators quarterback John Brantley.

[+] EnlargeJarvis Jones
Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesSophomore LB Jarvis Jones, the transfer from USC, spent as much time in the Florida backfield as Chris Rainey.
It didn't help Brantley's cause that a leg injury prevented him from escaping a relentless Georgia pass rush that produced six sacks.

Leading the charge was Jones, who became the fifth player in school history to record at least four sacks in a game.

"He played tremendous," inside linebacker Alec Ogletree said. "I couldn't be more proud of him than I am right now."

Perhaps Jones' biggest sack came in the fourth quarter, when he took down Brantley for a 5-yard loss on fourth-and-10 at Georgia's 36-yard line. The Gators didn't get the ball back.

"I'm really proud of Jarvis. Jarvis is a guy that plays hard," Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. "He's probably the most complete linebacker that we've had since I've been here.

"He's a guy that works his tail off to be a more complete linebacker, and he's still a young player. This is his first year in our system, and once he gets more acclimated to what we're doing, I think the sky's the limit for how good he can be."

Receivers making plays With receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Israel Troupe back in Athens, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo didn't have a positive feeling about the team's depth at wideout when the Bulldogs arrived in Jacksonville.

Even with rarely used players such as walk-on Rhett McGowan -- who made his first career catch -- and Taylor Bradberry playing alongside the regulars, the Bulldogs managed 169 passing yards.

"Really when we got here, at the meal in the pregame, you're looking over at the receivers table and you're like, 'Oh my gosh,' " Bobo said. "But those guys had the opportunity to make plays and an opportunity to play, and I think they played their butts off for this football team and just did an outstanding job."

It wasn't Georgia's most prolific performance statistically, but the Bulldogs got a memorable effort from freshman Chris Conley, who caught three passes for 38 yards, including an 18-yard pass to the Florida 18 on Georgia's final drive that enabled the Bulldogs to run out the clock.

Meanwhile, Tavarres King and Michael Bennett both made leaping fourth-down touchdown catches over Florida defenders that made a difference in the outcome.

"You just know that you've got to go get it," King said of his 14-yard touchdown catch over Jaylen Watkins in the third quarter. "I felt like I let one get away from me earlier in the game and I felt like I had to redeem myself, so I just went up and got it and came down with a big TD."

Added Bobo: "That's what it comes down to when you're playing a good football team is you're going to have opportunities to make the play. When it comes your way, you've got to pick up the phone and you've got to answer it because it's ringing. Like I keep saying, when we put it in those guys' area, they made plays."

Attacking Brantley Florida struggled mightily in the run game, rushing 22 times for minus-19 yards. That marked the second time this season that the Bulldogs held an opponent to negative rushing yardage, following a minus-20-yard performance by Tennessee.

"We have to find some ways to run the football. We cannot be so one-dimensional," Florida coach Will Muschamp said.

But that's what the Gators were against Georgia on Saturday, and Grantham was able to take advantage of that weakness by mixing coverages and regularly dropping defenders off the line on the snap as the game progressed.

Brantley was 10-for-20 for 226 yards at halftime, but was just 2-for-14 for 19 yards in the second half.

"I think him being not mobile helped us a whole lot," Jones said. "We found a couple tendencies in their tackles and their offensive line, and him not being mobile, it really helped us get to him."

Extra points Georgia said Richard Samuel, who left game on the final play, has a sprained ankle. X-rays are negative. Samuel rushed for 58 yards on 17 carries and scored the go-ahead 4-yard touchdown with 13:18 to play. & Offensive guard Dallas Lee has a fracture of the right fibula. & Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree had five tackles and forced a fumble after missing the last six games with a broken foot. & Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had the worst completion percentage of his career, going 15-for-34 for 169 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. The only two games in his career where he has completed less than 50 percent of his passes were against Florida.

David Ching covers University of Georgia sports for DawgNation. He can be reached at davidchingespn@gmail.com.