Rapid Reaction: No. 3 Georgia leaves no doubt in blasting Florida
Play Underdog For Heat-Celtics Game 6! Who ya got?
Whatever ones you might have had about No. 3 Georgia, the Bulldogs answered them with authority, exclamation points and touchdowns Saturday.
The Dawgs scored on their first three possessions and never looked back in a 42-7 victory over Florida that said as much about 2017 as it did the direction of these two programs.
Georgia ended a three-game slide in the Cocktail Party, topping 40 points in this rivalry for just the sixth time in the past 50 meetings.
Called out by Florida’s defensive backs earlier in the week for completing “easy passes,” Jake Fromm certainly made it look easy. What his first two passes lacked in air yards, they more than made up for in placement.
The first soft toss allowed D’Andre Swift to catch in stride and race 39 yards to set up Georgia’s first touchdown. His second was a perfect jump ball to 6-4 Javon Sims, who hauled it in for a 17-yard touchdown.
WHAT A CATCH. WHAT A THROW.
Fromm and Wims connect for a perfect @FootballUGA touchdown. pic.twitter.com/k0qHEN06iq
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 28, 2017
Georgia ended the first quarter with more touchdowns (3) than Florida had first downs (2).
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both approached the 100-yard by halftime. Michel, of course, broke off the 74-yard touchdown run that pushed Georgia’s lead to 21-0.
They had reason to be motivated. In addition to entering this game 0-3 against Florida, the senior duo combined to gain 22 yards on 12 carries in last year’s loss.
Both had single carries for at least that many yards on Saturday and Georgia, held to 21 yards last year almost topped 300 for the third consecutive game.
Florida, the two-time defending SEC East champion, suffered its third consecutive SEC loss. The Gators (3-4) will enter November with a losing record for the first time since 1986. How long ago was that? Steve Spurrier hadn’t even coached his first game … at Duke.
Nobody would mistake this Gators offense for Spurrier’s.
Even when Georgia did make a mistake — Fromm opened the second half with a poor decision and poorer throw that Duke Dawson intercepted — the Gators struggled to make them pay for it.
Dawson’s pick allowed the Gators the rare chance to start a drive in enemy territory. Three penalties prevented points. Two were pre-snap, including an illegal formation that speaks directly to coaching. The third penalty was for offensive pass interference, but that was declined because the offender, DeAndre Goolsby, dropped a fourth-down pass in the end zone, anyway.
Georgia took over at the 24, and five plays later, Michel raced 45 yards for his second touchdown to make it 28-0.
The scoreboard operator didn’t have time for a bathroom break, however. Less than a minute later, Georgia sacked Feleipe Franks on third down. Franks fumbled, and J.R. Reed scooped it up and danced 5 yards into the end zone for a 35-0 lead.
From that point on, the only drama was whether Florida would be shut out for the first time in 367 games or extend its its nation-best scoring streak to 368.
It took most of the afternoon and a couple of nice scrambles from backup quarterback Malik Zaire, but the Gators finally got their points when Mark Thompson scored on a 1-yard run with 2:42 left.
It wasn’t much, but it certainly beat the alternative. On this day, beating the alternative was about as good as these Gators could do.
Georgia, 8-0 for the first time since 2002, continued to look like it can beat anybody.