Instant Analysis: More of the same

Nov 2, 2019 | 0 comments

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In 2017, the Georgia Bulldogs delivered the fatal blow to Jim McElwain’s tenure as Florida’s head coach with a 42-7 victory. A year ago, the Gators entered the game with newfound optimism under first-year coach Dan Mullen and led 14-10 early in the third quarter. Still, UGA pulled away late for a 36-17 victory.

The No. 6 Gators entered Saturday’s showdown with No. 8 Georgia in Jacksonville looking for redemption and a chance to prove that they’ve closed the gap with the Bulldogs.

Instead, it was more of the same, as UGA (7-1, 4-1 SEC) defeated UF 24-17. This game proved that Florida still has work to do before they’re ready to beat the nation’s best teams.

Here is Inside the Gators' Instant Analysis.

It Was Over When: After Florida quarterback Kyle Trask connected with Van Jefferson for a jaw-dropping 23-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 16-10, Georgia answered right back to put the game away.

On first-and-10 from his own 48-yard line, Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm faked a handoff and dropped back to pass. UF’s Ventrell Miller and Shawn Davis appeared to not be on the same page and allowed Lawrence Cager to run all alone down the left sideline. Fromm lofted him the ball, and Cager strolled into the end zone for a 52-yard score to make it a two-possession game again.

UF scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, but it was too little too late.

They Stole the Show: Cager caught a career-high seven passes for a career-high 132 yards and the long touchdown.

Florida did a nice job of containing running back D’Andre Swift for most of the game, but he still finished with 86 yards on 25 carries. His 30-yard run on the last series of the first half led to a field goal.

Gators tight end Kyle Pitts had another good game, catching four passes for 78 yards. He was open on just about every play.

UF’s Freddie Swain made eight receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown. He hauled in several big passes as the Gators tried to mount their comeback.

The Stats Don’t Lie: The Bulldogs dominated the stat sheet. UGA out-gained UF 398-278.

Perhaps the biggest difference in the game was third down conversions, as the Bulldogs were 12-18, while the Gators converted just two of nine.

The team who rushed for the most yards had won the prior 13 meeting in the series, and that continued on Saturday. Georgia out-rushed Florida 119-21. Florida did a good job stopping the run through the first three quarters, but Georgia was able to pick up some big first downs on the ground to put the game away in the fourth quarter.

The Gators entered the game with the better pass-rush so far this season, but the Bulldogs recorded the only two sacks of the game.

Oh What A Play: On the Bulldogs’ opening possession of the second half, the Gators got rare pressure on Fromm and forced him to roll to his right. He lofted a ball down the right sideline that reserve running back Brian Herrien juggled and caught while falling to the ground for an 18-yard gain. It might’ve been the catch of the year in college football this season.

These Matchups Proved Key: The Bulldogs won this game by dominating both lines of scrimmage. Despite the return of Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga, UF couldn’t get consistent pressure on Fromm and failed to sack him, and he picked them apart on third downs.

The Gators entered the day ranked third in the league in passing offense, while UGA was fourth in passing defense. Georgia’s secondary won this matchup.

UF’s defensive backs did a decent job covering the Bulldogs’ receivers, but the breakdowns on third down proved costly.

UGA also won the coaching battle. Kirby Smart got the best of Mullen’s offense, and UGA offensive coordinator James Coley seemed to know exactly what Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was going to call.

Up Next: Florida (7-2, 4-2) will look to avoid the post-Georgia letdown that plagued them last season. They’ll host Vanderbilt Saturday at noon for their first home game in more than a month. The Gators need to win out to keep their hopes of making a New Year’s Six bowl alive.


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