Before this football season began, experts ranked Georgia no better than tenth. That isn't tenth in the country, either. It's tenth in the Southeastern Conference. Florida, the experts figured, was far stronger.
Saturday, by the margin of a single point, Georgia gave Florida a beating. But when the Bulldogs had finished defeating the Gators, 14-13, the experts had taken the hardest fall.
Not that the setback didn't hurt Florida. The Gators' hopes of gaining a conference title and bowl bid turned dark. A Georgia center named Bill Saye (Hey) turned out the lights.
Saye was the difference with two critical pass interceptions. He was the difference when he recovered a key Gator fumble. And he barreled in with Roy Wilkins to rush the kicker on the extra point try that could have turned Georgia victory into a frustrating tie. It wasn't a bad day for a fellow who was a fourth string guard last year and is playing center this season for the first time since high school.
Fumbling Florida lost the ball three times. One fumble started a Bulldog drive that ended when Jimmy Harper plunged over from the one. Charlie Madison's conversion was good.
Florida matched the score early in the second quarter but late in the period Georgia untied it when Bob Clemens capped a 69-yard drive with a scoring buck. Madison's second conversion was as good as his first.
Don Chandler intercepted a Harper pass in the third quarter and ran 67 yards to the seven. Three plays later Bob Davis tallied and the game's biggest moment was at hand. Left end Wilkins, with Saye broke through and blocked Allen's try for the tie. Georgia had its one-point lead and it stood up. Saye made sure. With less than two minutes to go he intercepted a Florida pass and then his mates simply killed the clock.
For the Gators it was a bitter loss since victory would have given them undisputed conference leadership. For Georgia it was different. When the game was over, Coach Wally Butts, the forgotten man of football, was forgotten no longer. Butts was hoisted high on stalwart shoulders and carried triumphantly from the field.