Final: No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs punish Florida Gators

Special to Gatorsports.com
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JACKSONVILLE — Georgia led just 3-0 late in the first half Saturday.

All it took was three Florida turnovers the top-ranked Bulldogs converted into three touchdown in 2:16 for a commanding 24-0 lead at the break.

 Anthony Richardson, making his first start, fumbled the ball trying to make something out of a quarterback run deep in the Gators’ own territory, and Georgia scored immediately after.

On the next drive, Kearis Jackson intercepted a tipped pass from Richardson, and Georgia scored immediately after once again. Richardson threw a pick-six on the next drive.

What could have been a three-point game at the half ballooned into a 24-point deficit for the Gators and took all momentum from Florida.

The Gators dropped to 4-4, 2-4 in the SEC. The Bulldogs (8-0, 6-0) en route to a Eastern Division title.

All Georgia has left on the schedule before a likely showdown with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game is Missouri, Tennessee, Charleston Southern and Georgia Tech, who were a combined 12-16 before today.

Florida coach Dan Mullen raises his fist to fans as he arrives for the Florida/Georgia football game Saturday.  Florida players and coaches arrive for the Gator Walk into TIAA Bank Field. The Gators are the home team vs Georgia.

The Gators trail the all-time series against Georgia 44-53-2, but are 22-10 vs. the Bulldogs since 1990.

This marks the first time in program history Florida has faced the No. 1-ranked team twice during the same season. The Gators lost 31-29 to then-No. 1 Alabama on Sept. 18.

No. 1 Georgia 34, Florida 7

Georgia  0   24   3    7  — 34

Florida    0     0   0    7  —   7 

Second Quarter

UGA_FG Podlesny 21, 8:38.

UGA_Cook 11 run (Podlesny kick), 2:16.

UGA_Ke.Jackson 36 pass from Bennett (Podlesny kick), 1:35.

UGA_N.Dean 50 interception return (Podlesny kick), :07.

Third Quarter

UGA_FG Podlesny 42, 1:15.

Fourth Quarter

FLA_E.Jones 2 run (Howard kick), 2:49.

UGA_Z.White 42 run (Podlesny kick), 1:57.

                                       UGA        FLA

First downs                       17         20

Total Net Yards                 354       355

Rushes-yards               33-193    39-161

Passing                            161        194

Punt Returns                  1-7            1-7

Kickoff Returns                  1-31       0-0

Interceptions Ret.               2-48      2-1

Comp-Att-Int                      10-19-2    22-35-2

Sacked-Yards Lost                1-9        2-12

Punts                                    2-48.5     3-44.333

Fumbles-Lost                            1-1        1-1

Penalties-Yards                    6-38          8-50

Time of Possession            27:40        32:20

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING_Georgia, White 14-105, Cook 10-46, Bennett 6-35, McIntosh 3-7. Florida, Pierce 9-69, Richardson 12-26, Wright 7-23, Jones 5-22, Davis 6-21.

PASSING_Georgia, Bennett 10-19-2-161. Florida, Jones 10-14-0-112, Richardson 12-20-2-82, Davis 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING_Georgia, K.Jackson 3-59, Washington 2-41, Cook 2-12, Bowers 1-38, McConkey 1-7, McIntosh 1-4. Florida, Shorter 4-50, Gamble 4-26, Henderson 4-24, Davis 4-19, Zipperer 2-28, Copeland 2-27, Weston 1-15, Wright 1-5.

MISSED FIELD GOALS_Georgia, Podlesny 46. Florida, Christmann 51, Christmann 23.

Betting odds:What's the latest line, over-under for Florida Gators vs. Georgia Bulldogs?

Picking the game:How are college football experts predicting Florida-Georgia?

3:20 p.m. | Josh Braun to start at guard

Looks like left guard Ethan White stayed home, as Braun was announced as the starter for UF. White was injured in the LSU game.

UF receivers Rick Wells and Trent Whittemore not dressed.

FIRST QUARTER

3:50 p.m. | Anthony Richardson starts

Florida redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Richardson made his first collegiate start Saturday in the Gators’ battle with No. 1-ranked Georgia at TIAA Bank Field.

Richardson was seen working with the first-team offense as UF took the field for pre-game warm-ups, and the Gainesville native would take the first snap under center on Florida’s first drive following Georgia’s unsuccessful 46-yard field-goal attempt.

Richardson’s first play as starter was a five-yard hand-off to Malik Davis. On the second play, Richardson hit tight end Kemore Gamble for a two-yard gain.

The 6-foot-4 Richardson has been a promising presence under center all season for Florida while rotating in for redshirt junior Emory Jones. Richardson entered the contest against Georgia having completed 21 of 37 passing attempts for 392 yards and five touchdowns this season.

— Graham Hall

4:15 p.m. | Gators' first-quarter analysis

What went right: The Gators’ defense held on all three of Georgia’s drives in the first quarter. The Bulldogs came away empty on the first when Jack Podlesny’s 45-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right. And Florida forced a punt on the second drive; both of the first two drives were aided by third-down penalties. The ‘Dawgs went three-and-out on their third attempt, though UF’s Richardson-led offense couldn’t capitalize either. 

What went wrong: The lone penalty and Jace Christmann’s missed 51-yard field goal attempt were the only blemishes – otherwise, the Gators looked good on both ends against a team favored by two touchdowns. 

Play of the quarter: Dameon Pierce’s 19-yard rush was the longest play of the first quarter, and indicated the Gators have the physicality to match up with the vaunted Bulldogs defense. 

Trending: Florida’s defense, having stopped the Bulldogs three times already today, looks to limit Georgia once again when the second quarter commences.

Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is tackled as he runs Saturday against Georgia at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.

— Graham Hall

Georgia  0

Florida    0

SECOND QUARTER

4:27 p.m. | Georgia scores first

Jack Podlesny gives Georgia a 3-0 lead with a 21-yard field goal at the 8:38 mark.

James Cook runs for 11 yards for a TD following a Richardson fumble to put the Dawgs up 10-0.

Stetson Bennett passes for a 36-yard TD to Kearis Jackson to put UGA up 17-0 with 1:35 remaining before the half after Richardson was picked off on a tipped pass.

Gators are minus-9 in turnovers this season.

The last time the Gators were shut out in the first half of this rivalry was in 2017, trailing 21-0.

Richardson pass was intercepted for a TD by Nakobe Dean, who returned it50 yards.

5:13 p.m| Gators' 2nd-quarter analysis

What went right: The Gators held Georgia to a 21-yard field goal after the Bulldogs had 1st-and-goal on UF’s seven-yard line. Rashad Torrence hauled in an interception on the 2-yard line after the Gators turned it over on downs, marking Stetson Bennett’s third pick of the season. But it was mostly downhill from there. 

What went wrong: For starters, Florida got all the way down to the UGA 31-yard line but came away empty as Richardson’s fourth-down pass attempt intended for Jacob Copeland landed incomplete. Three plays after Torrence’s takeaway, Richardson was stripped of the football, and the ‘Dawgs quickly found the end zone for the first time of the afternoon to take a 10-0 lead. Richardson’s tipped pass would be picked on the next series, and Bennett found Kearis Jackson from 36 yards out to push the lead to 17-0. The Gators again looked to answer before the half concluded, yet the last-minute push only dug UF in a deeper hole as Richardson’s pass intended for Malik Davis was intercepted by Nakobe Dean and taken all the way to the end zone, giving Georgia a 24-point cushion. 

Play of the quarter: Richardson’s fumble at the 11-yard line, which not only set up James Cook’s touchdown one play later and erased any momentum the Gators had found – it kick-started the Georgia onslaught. 

Trending: Georgia has all the momentum after scoring a trio of touchdowns in 3:11 of game-time, and Florida’s offense will look to return to the promising form it displayed in the first quarter when the Gators receive the second-half kickoff.

— Graham Hall

Georgia  0   24

Florida    0     0

THIRD QUARTER

Richardson was taken to the locker room after suffering a hit to the head/neck area by two Georgia defenders, per CBS.

6:04 p.m. | Gators' 3rd-quarter analysis

What went right: The Gators recovered a fumble at the 49-yard line, but once again couldn’t turn the turnover into points on the scoreboard. Despite impressive defensive play for much of the day, not much else went right for Florida in the third period of play. 

What went wrong: Christmann’s 23-yard field-goal attempt missed wide left, continuing the graduate transfer kicker’s rough day and keeping Georgia’s shut-out hopes alive. Making matters worse for the Gators was Richardson’s health. The redshirt freshman took a shot on the second drive of the quarter and immediately headed for the medical tent. Emory Jones took over under center and completed two of three passing attempts as Richardson was evaluated in the locker room. 

Play of the quarter: Christmann’s missed field goal gets the nod here, because it kept alive the possibility that UF would be shut out for the first time since the 1988 season. 

Trending: With Jones at quarterback following Richardson’s injury, the Gators are looking to find the end zone for the first time today. 

— Graham Hall

Georgia  0   24   3

Florida    0     0   0

FOURTH QUARTER

Emory Jones scores for Gators at 2:49 mark.

6:48 p.m. | Gators' 4th-quarter analysis

What went right: Sophomore safety Rashad Torrence II recorded his second interception of the afternoon midway through the fourth quarter when Bennett threw into double coverage. After Lewis Cine was whistled for defensive pass interference, Jones found the end zone from two yards out with under three minutes remaining to avoid getting shut out, though it was certainly a moral victory considering the end result.

What went wrong: The Gators had the ball on the UGA 25-yard line but came away empty once again as Emory Jones’ fourth-down pass attempt was off the mark. Zamir White tacked on a 42-yard touchdown, the longest run of the day, with 2 minutes remaining against a UF defense with no safety coverage over the top to reinstate Georgia’s 27-point lead and further embarrass Florida. 

Play of the quarter: There’s an argument to be made for White’s long score, certainly, but Jones’ 2-yard rush prevented UGA from making history – ending the nation’s longest scoring streak – so it has more long-term value. Again, it’s a moral victory for a program that doesn’t often embrace consolation prizes.

— Graham Hall

Georgia  0   24   3    7  — 34

Florida    0     0   0    7  —   7 

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