I enjoyed Saturday afternoon’s Georgia-Florida game immensely. Autumn finally arrived after a late last hurrah of summer that saw us reach 90 degrees in October.
Friday and Saturday felt good and cool and crisp. It was football weather.
With it, comes the annual slug fest in Jacksonville, known as Georgia v. Florida.
Never been too good at math, but three wins in a row over the hideous blue and orange reptiles from Florida adds up to fun, fun, fun.
It was a big game. With a still stinging loss to South Carolina and a lackluster win over Kentucky in the rain, the Dawgs had to have this win to have a shot at getting back to the SEC championship.
Jake Fromm has struggled. The team has struggled and the Florida Gators always give us fits.
The doubters and grumblers and fair weather fans were squawking as they always do.
I suffered through those long and exasperating Spurrier years when the Gators ran up a series of lop-sided victories.
That said, this winning streak, you see, has been a long time coming. I’ve waited for – and wanted it for – a long, long time.
The lead was small but steady throughout the game. A two-score margin opened up early in the fourth quarter led by Miami transfer Lawrence Cager who snagged the touchdown and two point conversion. Florida still managed to come back and cut the margin to a slim seven point lead late in the fourth.
We needed to run out the clock.
Hearing Neal Howard and Eric Zeier at the mike urging the clock to wind down took me way back to long ago when the lovable, gravelly voiced Bard of the Bulldog faithful, the late, great Larry Munson, worried along with us about how much time was left.
“My God! You guys, would you look at the clock!” Munson would growl.
And, we would and we would fret until they hit zeros.
Up 24-17 late in the fourth quarter, Fromm stood up in the face of a blitz and hit tight end transfer Eli Wolf on third-and-7 across the field for a 22-yard gain to keep Georgia’s drive alive and allow the Dawgs to run out the clock to those beautiful triple zeros.
I will always be grateful to Larry Munson for rescuing me from the monotony of Saturday afternoons spent at the pecan orchard crawling on my hands and knees hunting those precious nuts in briers and sand-spurs. Our pecan orchard also doubled as a cow pasture, so you also had to dodge “other” things.
My Uncle Vann would pull up his Chevy S-10 beside the trees and my old friend Larry would tell us about the Bulldogs while we plunked pecans down in five gallon, repurposed, empty John Deere hydraulic oil buckets.
Don’t look now, but we might play in the SEC title game in December in Atlanta. I don’t say it too loud because I am afraid I’ll jinx it. It has happened before. Maybe Nick Saban will retire before then.
Saturday was so sweet. Can you say three in a row? I’ve repeated it often just to make sure it is really true. How sweet it is.
I am thinking about writing in Kirby Smart and Jake Fromm for President in 2020. They’ll be a whole lot better than anyone else running.
Autumn has arrived. They tell me in math 24 is more than 17.
Georgia beat Florida and that means all is well — at least in my world.
• Jason Deal is a staff writer for The Blackshear Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.