Georgia 17 Florida 9; Defense Mans Up

With Georgia coming off of a lackluster win at Kentucky and with the South Carolina blowout still seared in it’s memory there wasn’t a lot of confidence that Georgia could beat Florida. On the other hand, Florida was 7-0 and coming off of a 44-11 demolition of the Gamecocks. The Georgia defense was reeling so much that senior safety Shawn Williams lashed out at his teammates and their play on the defensive side of the football.

The first half of this game saw some ugly football. Florida turned the ball over three times (two fumbles and an INT) and Georgia turned it over four times (a fumble and three INTs). For the game, there were 24 penalties called and to say it was “chippy” would be an understatement. Both defenses played well holding their opponents to under 300 yards in total offense for the game and in Florida’s case holding Georgia to 1 for 11 on third downs.

The difference in this game was the intensity that Georgia and it’s defense brought. The intensity had been missing for the season but somehow they dialed it up in this rivalry game and it helped them to hold Florida to 1.7 ypc and gain six turnovers. Bacarri Rambo made a game changing play at the end of the first half with an INT in the end zone and Jarvis Jones made one at the end of the game as he stripped Jordan Reed inside the five yard line as Florida looked to be going in for a chance to tie up the score. 

Game balls for Georgia go to the defense and Jarvis Jones, Todd Gurley and Malcolm Mitchell. Jarvis Jones was relentless with 13 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries. The week off really helped him get his body healed and it showed in this game. Todd Gurley is just a freshman but he played much bigger today as Georgia’s feature back. He outplayed his counterpart, Mike Gillislee, and helped to provide Georgia with some type of offense as Aaron Murray struggled mightily. Gurley finished with 119 yds rushing, 23 yards receiving and 1 TD. Malcolm Mitchell didn’t have a great game but he did have Georgia’s biggest offensive play and was their leading receiver. Just a few plays after getting a 15 yard personal foul call, Mitchell redeemed himself by taking a short pass, beating his man and taking off for the end zone while fighting through defenders and giving Georgia an eight point lead.

In addition to those individual players you have to commend the entire defense for stepping up and playing as a team. There wasn’t any finger pointing, as there had been in previous weeks, and there was relentless pursuit of the football. The offensive line also played a much better game then they had recently as they provided Murray with some protection and Gurley with a little bit of wiggle room. Aaron Murray had a horrible first half but like him or not, he is a gamer and he stayed with it and made some plays down the stretch and specifically on the late TD drive (where Mitchell scored on the catch and run).

This was a big win for Georgia. It saves a season that was looking like it might be taking a turn for the worse and it reinvigorates the World’s Outdoor Cocktail Party rivalry as Georgia has now taken two straight from the Gators.

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