Happy Halloween, y'all. As we sit and watch the terrible devastation of the Monster Storm and wonder what effect it will have on the nation's ability to vote next week, I can't move ahead without commenting on last weekend.
Now that's what I'm talking about. Just as the 2012 Georgia Bulldogs put an end to loose talk about "old man football" in September, they put an end to talk about a soft defense Saturday night on the banks of the St. Johns River. And speaking of grown men -- if you look up the term in the dictionary, you'll find a photograph of Jarvis Jones -- or at least you should.
The defense hunkered, didn't they?
Over and over and over again. Every time they absolutely had to have a stop, they got a stop -- or a turnover -- and I lost track of how many times the game was stopped to tend to Florida players who were knocked groggy by the hard-hitting players in the red helmets and jerseys -- and aren't we glad we didn't have to resort to wearing black uniforms or silver spacesuits to get these guys ready to play? They used pride and want-to for motivation -- not gimmicks. The result was that we saw the darnedest bunch of Dawgs getting after Florida's No.2-rated athletes than we had seen in a long time.
How 'bout them Dawgs!
It was a great week for me. I don't know when I've enjoyed a roadtrip more. I went to Jacksonville last Wednesday and got to watch the whole week unfold. My lovely wife, Lisa, and I, were among the advance party at The Landing last Wednesday evening and we watched the madness as RV City slowly filled up on Thursday. Thursday night, I had the rare privilege of speaking to the Jacksonville Bulldog Club meeting, and I have never attended a finer event -- or seen a more fired-up bunch of Bulldogs in my life. At the Jacksonville Bulldog Club it really is great to be a Gator hater.
Plus none of my fears about having to host a tailgate for about 65 people in a hurricane came to fruition. We had a little wind down by the river, but not enough to dampen anyone's enthusiasm -- and for the record -- jean shorts outnumbered mullets 3-1 in this year's official tally.
Then there was the game, and what a game it was. I have heard it called boring and ugly and all sorts of names by people who don't really understand the American South, but what we actually had was simple an old-fashioned SEC slobberknocker where neither side was going to take any prisoners -- or show any mercy to the other side.
Did we make too many penalties? Oh, Lord yes. But emotions were high and the other side, running on the same adrenaline as our bunch, made about as many as we did. And really? A 15-yarder on Todd Gurley for that little baby gator chomp? Give me a break. I've seen Tim Tebow do the jaws of life thing on the same field without being flagged.
I loved the enthusiasm of the Georgia crowd and I sensed from the opening kickoff -- the one where the Florida player was upended at his own 16 yard line, that the team and the fans were ready to put the past behind them and play as one on this glorious fall Saturday.
I'm not going to give you Jarvis Jones's stats because you've heard them for two days and have them memorized by now, but he was like a man among boys Saturday -- and the rest of Todd Grantham's defenders were playing to just as high a level. Georgia held the No. 2 team in the country to no touchdowns. That's enough said. Incredible effort. And the offense did enough to win the game -- especially the guy wearing Babe Ruth's number.
One thing that could have made Saturday's game a little sweeter: Wouldn't we all have purely loved to have heard Larry Munson calling that one? "All right, get the picture now. Wind is from the east at 35 miles per hour. It is practically a gale and there is just no telling what might happen here today."
And I wonder what he would have said on Florida's final drive. "We just can't stop them. We've stood up over and over and over and we just can't possibly do it again. They are driving down the field. Are they gonna just wait until the last minute and then just break our hearts?"
But they didn't. Jarvis Jones slapped the ball out of their arms and we recovered in our endzone and we just broke their hearts. We beat Florida for the second year in a row and Will Muskchump is 0-6 in the WLOCP. So take that Coach Boom.
And I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when the Head Ball Coach at S.C. realized that the team he smashed in the mouth three weeks ago is now the odds-on favorite to repeat as SEC East Champions and return to the Georgia Dome on Dec. 1 -- possibly -- possibly -- with a chance to upset Alabama to earn a spot in the BCS Championship game in Miami.
I stayed in the stadium Saturday night, as I promised I would, until they made me leave. I had lots and lots of company -- all wearing red and black and all agreeing on one thing: It really is great to be a Bulldog on a Saturday night.
And thank you Donald Varn. That Bull Gator promised me last winter that if I would get well enough to make the trip to Jacksonville, he would put on red and black and become a Bulldog for a night. The man was true to his word. Glory, glory, indeed.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.