By ANTONYA ENGLISH and KEITH NIEBUHR
Published November 2, 2003
JACKSONVILLE - The big plays just keep coming for Florida safety Keiwan Ratliff.
With just less than five minutes left in the first half, Ratliff intercepted David Greene and returned it 17 yards.
The interception ties Ratliff with three Gators with seven in a season: Randy Talbot (1974), John Clifford (1970) and Will White (1990). Ratliff, who leads the SEC in interceptions, has six in the past three games. He had three before this season.
"Basically, it comes down to film study," Ratliff said. "When you watch a lot of film, you can really learn about an offense and a quarterback's tendencies. The coaches do a great job of getting us film, and I like to study a little extra to get an upper hand."
A BIG MISTAKE: Georgia defensive back Bruce Thornton owned up to a second-quarter unsportsmanlike penalty after an incompletion on third and 9 from the Bulldogs 28. (He tossed the ball toward the stands.) Instead of attempting a 45-yard field goal, the Gators got the ball at the 14 and eventually made a 24-yard attempt for a 3-0 lead.
"I should have known better," Thornton said.
PEACHES FOR NEW YEAR'S?: Officials from several bowls attended, including the Peach, Outback and Capital One.
If the Gators continue their winning ways but don't win the SEC East, Peach Bowl officials said Florida would get serious consideration for a bid to Atlanta.
"You try and take an 8-4 team, at least," said Albert Tarica, past chairman and member of the Peach Bowl executive committee. "But if we can get Florida at 7-5 ... depending on how they finish, of course. They are exciting to watch, and they travel well."
INJURIES MOUNT: Having lost seven players for the season to injuries, Georgia lost three more Saturday. Tailback Tyson Browning injured his knee with 3:30 left in the second quarter and didn't return. He led all rushers (60 yards) at the time. Early in the second half, free safety Sean Jones (shoulder) and nose tackle Gerald Anderson (knee) were injured and didn't return.
ODDS AND ENDS: Georgia's third-down inefficiency continued early Saturday. The Bulldogs, 0-for-13 on third downs in last year's 20-13 loss, failed to convert on their first three. Georgia's first conversion came with 13:02 left in the second quarter. ... The Bulldogs got no points off turnovers for the first time this season. ... Since 1961, the game has been decided by seven or fewer points 20 times. ... The Florida defense has not allowed a touchdown in 16 of coach Ron Zook's 22 games.
LAST WORD: "We really wanted to win this game. I looove beating Georgia." - Florida tight end Ben Troupe, a Georgia native.