Gators eager to play 'disrespectful' 'Dogs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida's Derrick Harvey was at the bottom of the pile, trying unsuccessfully to strip the ball out of Knowshon Moreno's grasp.

When Harvey stood up, he was surrounded by Georgia Bulldogs — about 70 of them. They were jumping up and down in unison, shouting, taunting and reveling Moreno's 1-yard touchdown run. The stunned Gators watched in disbelief.

"It was disrespectful," said Harvey, a defensive end taken in the first round of the NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. "We were surprised."

And stung.

It also may have been just what this Southeastern Conference series needed. Some would argue that the game formerly known as the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" had grown stale, mostly because of Florida's domination the last two decades.

Last year's brazen end-zone celebration, the one that catapulted Georgia to a 42-30 victory, gave new life to one of college football's most storied rivalries. And when the No. 5 Gators (6-1, 4-1) and eighth-ranked Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1) meet for the 65th consecutive year Saturday, no one knows what will happen.

Will there be pushing and shoving beforehand? Will there be words exchanged? Will Georgia win consecutive games against Florida for the first time since 1989? Or will the Gators get revenge for last year's debacle?

This much is certain: The winner will control the SEC East, have the inside track to the Dec. 6 championship game in Atlanta and stay in the national title hunt.

"It's a long process getting (to Atlanta), and it starts with this weekend," Bulldogs quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "Whoever wins this game is going to have a big advantage in the East."

The Gators have been pointing to this week, this game, this opportunity, all year, partly because of what happened at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium last season and partly because they realize all those lofty goals they set could hinge on this one.

Nonetheless, Florida players have been quiet all week; Coach Urban Meyer banned them from talking about Georgia's celebration because he didn't want to give the Bulldogs any bulletin-board material or extra motivation.

Meyer also declined to reveal how he planned to use last year's revelry to energize his team. Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow offered a small glimpse when he said the Gators had a picture of Georgia's celebration hanging in their locker room.

Former guard Drew Miller gave more insight. Miller, who watched the Bulldogs' bravado from the sideline last year, spoke to several former teammates this week and said they're eager for payback.

"The whole off-season was Georgia the whole time," said Miller, also with the Jaguars. "They've been reminded of it this whole week. They're going to be ready to go, and they're definitely going to want to get some revenge."