JACKSONVILLE, FL- This year’s showdown in Jacksonville had massive implications. With both Florida and Gerogia entering Saturday’s contest with a mark in the loss column already, the matchup presented a disqualifier of sorts. Whichever team ended up taking the loss in Jacksonville would be eliminated from the national title picture.
Despite a slow start, Florida sent a message to their rivals from Athens, defeating the Bulldgos 44-28.
The game started as bad for the Gators as it could have. On the very first play from scrimmage, Georgia tailback Zamir White took a sweep to the left and raced past the Florida defenders for a 75-yard score. Florida quickly went three and out, and the Bulldogs capitalized with a six play, 61 yard drive to take a 14-0 lead just over three minutes into the game.
The Gators wouldn’t go down without a fight, however. Florida scored 14 straight to tie the game up before a pick six by UGA’s Eric Stokes put the Bulldogs back on top.
Kyle Trask rebounded in a big way after the interception finding TE Kyle Pitts for a 25 yard score followed by a 24-yard touchdown pass to TE Kemore Gable that put the Gators ahead by a 28-21 halfway through the second quarter.
Florida wasn’t finished, though. K Evan McPherson knocked in a 50-yard field goal with 1:44 to play in the half. After a quick Georgia three-and-out, Trask connected with WR Trevon Grimes for a 14-yard score. The Gators took a 38-21 lead into the half.
Florida received possession to open the second half and added three points quickly, increasing the lead to 41-21.
A pick by Kaiir Elam ended Stetson Benett’s day, as Kirby Smart elected to bench the redshirt senior for D’wan Mathis. On his second drive, Mathis led the Bulldogs to a touchdown as he connected with Kearis Jackson late in the third quarter to bring Georgia to within two score as the period ended.
The Gators offense struggled thereafter to gain any traction, putting gooseeggs on the scoreboard until McPherson hit from 34-yards out to reach the final score of 44-28.
- Trask: 30-43, 474 yards, 4 TD, INT
- Trask: first QB in SEC history with 4 TDs in five straight games
- Davis: 5 rec, 100 yards
- N. Wright: 3 rec, 71 yards, 15 rush yards
- Elam, S. Davis, Burney: INT each
- UGA: 2-13 on 3rd Down
- The SEC East now has a direct path through Gainesville
- Georgia is essentially eliminated from CFP contention
- Kyle Trask is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate
Florida will face Arkansas in Gainesville next week in a game that will feature the return of Feleipe Franks. The game is slated for a 7:00 start time and will air on ESPN.