With half of the top ten teams in the country out on bye on Saturday, Nov. 2 the focus of the college football world was exactly where it should have been, Jacksonville, Florida for the annual match-up between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators. For the second season in a row, both teams entered the game as top ten teams, with the Dawgs coming in at No. 8 and the Gators looking strong in the No. 6 spot.
Despite the rankings, Georgia entered the game as 6.5-point favorites, but questions swirled around both teams. Could the Bulldogs contain the explosive receiving corps of the Gators? Could the Gators control the “in-your-face” running game of the Bulldogs? The answers turned out to be no and yes, in that order, as the game came down to the final drive in a 24-17 win for Georgia.
The Bulldog’s running game, behind D’Andre Swift got stronger and stronger as the game progressed but the Florida defense bottled up Swift and held Georgia to a total of 119-yards on the ground forcing the Bulldogs to rely on the arm of Jake Fromm.
Fromm delivered a gem. For the first time in his career at UGA the team won a game in which he attempted 30 or more passes as he completed 20 of 30 for 279 yards and two touchdowns versus no interceptions. Lawrence Cager, returning from injury, was his favorite target catching seven for 132-yards and a touchdown.
Kicker Rodrigo Blankenship added the remainder of the points, going a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals 31, 37 and 27 yards along with two extra points.
As he has since gaining the start, Florida’s Kyle Trask seemed to throw the ball at will to his primary targets in wide receiver Freddie Swain and tight end Kyle Pitts. Trask finished the game with 21 completions for 257-yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
Florida’s undoing was the complete lack of a running game. Georgia’s defensive front was a solid wall for the entire sixty minutes of the contest to hold the Gators to a meager 21 yards on 19 attempts.
With the win, the Bulldogs take control of the SEC East but still face a tough schedule as they wrap up their conference schedule with games against Missouri, Auburn and Texas A&M before taking on the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets in the season finale.
The loss puts a big dent in Florida’s post-season hopes as they now must count on a Georgia loss while having to win their three remaining contests against Vanderbilt, Missouri and Florida State.
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