It was quite possible that Lawrence Cager wasn’t even going to suit up for Georgia’s game against Florida on Saturday.

A separated shoulder, coupled with a rib injury sustained against South Carolina on Oct. 12, meant that he wouldn’t play a part in the Bulldogs’ water-logged win against Kentucky on Oct. 19 before the open week. So when his tweet on Monday appeared to signify his availability for the game against the Gators, Dawgs fans gleefully welcomed the news.

And he delivered.

Cager’s final stat line? Seven catches, 132 yards and a back-breaking 52-yard touchdown with 10 minutes left in the 4th quarter to give Georgia a 24-10 lead that it would not relinquish. And with the Dawgs needing a win to keep their SEC East and College Football Playoff chances afloat, he picked a heck of a game to have a career day.

And now Georgia sits in the drivers’ seat for an SEC East title and will place high in the first CFP rankings on Tuesday after a 24-17 victory. But that doesn’t mean it can take its foot off the gas pedal. There’s still Missouri, which will enter Sanford Stadium next Saturday looking to crash the party. Auburn, with a slim shot at getting to the SEC Championship game over Alabama and LSU, boasts a talented back in Boobie Whitlow and a strong quarterback-wide receiver duo in true freshman Bo Nix and sophomore Seth Williams, followed by Texas A&M and Georgia Tech.

Cager’s performance was just one part of an inspired performance by the Dawgs on Saturday. Here are 3 more things I liked (and 1 thing I didn’t like) from the win over Florida.

3 things I liked

1. The elite rushing defense flexing its muscle once again

The Gators were held to just 21 — 21!—rushing yards. Not since being held to 11 yards against Michigan in the 2017 season opener had the Gators’ ground game been shut down in that fashion. And it’s another notch in the belt of an elite run defense that has now held 5 teams to under 100 yards and has given up an average of 78 yards per game.

Dan Lanning stepped into some big shoes when Mel Tucker left for the head coaching job at Colorado. But as the defensive coordinator, he has built a unit that is virtually impossible to consistently run against. Granted, the most it’s given up is 163 yards against Kentucky (and that was due to Lynn Bowden keeping the ball on the ground instead of throwing it), but it also held Notre Dame to 46 and Tennessee to 70.

Saturday’s performance was a master class, the likes of which we haven’t seen in several years: it’s the fewest yards rushing a Georgia opponent has been held to since Samford in 2017 (22) and the fewest for an FBS opponent since 2016 (South Carolina; 30).

2. 3rd-down defense

Kyle Trask simply couldn’t sustain a drive for the Gators, who trailed in time of possession by nearly 12 minutes. The most telling stat came on 3rd downs, as the Gators converted just 2-of-9 tries. Both came on Florida’s final possession and stood as a stark contrast to Georgia’s 12-of-18 mark.

While Trask was 21-of-33 for 257 yards and 2 touchdowns, most of his damage came on the Gators’ last 2 possessions. Outside of that, their inability to move the sticks kept them from truly affecting the game until it was too late. That’s a credit in part to the Georgia defensive corps stiffening up at the right time and getting Florida off the field, although part of it can be traced to some puzzling coaching decisions by Dan Mullen.

3. Jake Fromm’s best performance of the year

There’s a lot that can be said about Jake Fromm, who likely played his best game of the season. The junior showcased his awareness and focus on multiple occasions throughout the day, adjusting to Florida’s defense and keeping Trask and the offense on the sideline. Never mind that the Dawgs’ opening possession ended in a field goal; not every quarterback can convert 4 3rd downs on a single drive.

Fromm’s day (20-for-30, 279 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions) offset a slower-than-usual day for the Georgia running attack as it managed just 119 yards on 37 carries — 30 of those yards on a single touch by D’Andre Swift, although he played a huge part during the drive that ended in Cager’s touchdown catch.

When the Dawgs can’t run the ball consistently, that makes it more difficult for Fromm to run the offense efficiently. Thanks to a rock-solid game plan by offensive coordinator James Coley, though, the Dawgs found other ways to beat Florida as Fromm spread the ball around and delivered time and time again, mostly to Cager, who had the biggest game of his career. Even Brian Herrien found himself involved offensively outside of running the football as he made 4 catches for 46 yards.

By the way, that stat about Fromm being 0-5 when throwing the ball 30 times or more? Make it 1-5.

1 thing I didn’t like

1. The passing defense

I almost don’t want to mention this because it feels like I’m pouring water on the excitement of a win, but despite a poor performance on 3rd down for Florida, its receivers were able to find soft spots in the Georgia secondary. Freddie Swain gashed the Dawgs for 8 catches, 91 yards and 1 touchdown, while tight end Kyle Pitts finished with 4 catches and 78 yards.

That’s one area in particular from Saturday’s game that stuck out for the wrong reason. Georgia’s defense kept Trask, Swain and Pitts off the field where they couldn’t do any damage, but the plays it did give up are going to be a point of discussion in the film room this week leading up to a home game against Missouri.