Rapid Reaction: Georgia's Playoff hopes diminish after loss to Florida
A few quick thoughts on Georgia’s surprising 38-20 loss to Florida Saturday in Jacksonville:
What it means: Defending Eastern Division champion Mizzou’s now in the driver’s seat for a return trip to Atlanta while Georgia’s College Football Playoff hopes took a tremendous, likely fatal, hit. The Bulldogs have a few days to recover before next week’s game against Kentucky, a matchup that all but eliminates the loser from division title contention.
What I liked: Nick Chubb, minus a crucial lost fumble in the third quarter, gave a premiere performance for the third consecutive game in Todd Gurley’s absence. The true freshman toted the football 21 times for 156 yards and a score along with a 10-yard touchdown reception in the fourth that brought the Bulldogs within 18 points. Chubb’s 39-yard burst on Georgia’s second drive gave his team an early lead, but that was the last time Georgia flexed its muscles in Jacksonville.
What I didn’t like: Georgia’s run defense. What happened to Jeremy Pruitt’s unit up front? Florida running backs Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor broke several tackles and imposed their will throughout, helping the Gators establish a new season-high with 424 rushing yards. Coming in, Georgia had the SEC’s second-best rush defense at 105.1 yards per game.
Key play: Will Muschamp rolled the dice trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, faking a field goal for a 21-yard touchdown. Holder Michael McNeely split a gap around the right end and raced untouched to the end zone, bringing momentum back to the Florida sideline.
What’s next: Georgia hosts Kentucky, a team that’s lost three straight since starting the season 5-1.