So This is What the After Party Feels Like
Posted Oct 30, 2004

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - So this is what the after-party feels like. For the first time in seven years, it was Georgia - and the Bulldogs' anxious fans - that got to experience the euphoria of winning the World's Largest Cocktail Party.

The 10th-ranked Bulldogs held off Florida 31-24 at Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday afternoon for their first victory over the Gators since 1997 and their second since 1990 in the rivalry.

While the Gators' fans filed out of the stadium, the red-and-black portion of the record-setting crowd of 84,753 let loose a celebration seven years in the making.

"Elation," Bulldogs' fan David Lefkowitz said from his front-row seat as the final seconds ticked away. "We knew this was going to be the year."

Georgia coach Mark Richt, looking like a presidential candidate, waved to the crowd with his son David in tow. Richt drew thunderous ovations from the Georgia faithful, which had grown dreadfully tired of leaving its annual pilgrimage to Jacksonville without the post-party glow of success.

"I'm glad our fans can go out to the World's Largest Cocktail party and they don't have to listen to Florida fans run their mouths," said senior defensive end David Pollack, who beat the Gators for the first time in his career.

With the victory, the Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 in the Southeastern Conference) remained in contention for their third consecutive SEC East crown and, potentially, a lucrative Bowl Championship Series game.

Playing for the first time since head coach Ron Zook was fired Monday, the Gators (4-4, 2-4) could not deliver a victory for their embattled coach and his staff. Zook will finish out the season.

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