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Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Mike McDaniel

Florida’s Trick Play on Fourth-and-Inches vs. Georgia Went Terribly Wrong

When you’re a two touchdown underdog against a bitter rival, it’s time to pull out all the stops.

This applied to Florida in its tilt against No. 1 Georgia on Saturday in Jacksonville. Trailing 10–7 at the start of the second quarter, Florida came out of the television timeout set to go for it on fourth-and-one from their own 35-yard line. 

To make a decision like that in your own territory, you need to have the perfect play call. Florida thought they had it. They didn’t.

Quarterback Graham Mertz was set to receive the snap in the pistol, before running up under center just before the ball was snapped. Once the ball was snapped, it intentionally went through Mertz’s legs and into the arms of running back Trevor Etienne.

It looked like Etienne was then going to throw the football down the field before he was hit in the backfield for a huge loss and a turnover on downs.

Set up with a short field, Georgia running back Daijun Edwards ran it in from 20 yards out three plays later to give the Bulldogs a 17–7 lead.

There’s nothing worse than making life easier for a team that’s better than you, and Florida coach Billy Napier probably should have considered that before making this call on Saturday.

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