JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The SEC East-leading Georgia Bulldogs played like the underdog and, for once in a blue moon, came out on top against the Florida Gators.
Florida managed just one first down in the second half and the Bulldogs’ came back from a 17-3 deficit to edge the Gators 24-20 here at EverBank Field on Saturday. The win was Georgia’s sixth in a row, snapped a three-game losing streak against Florida and was just the fourth in the last 22 years against one of their most bitter rivals.
With the victory, Georgia (6-2, 5-1 SEC) remains in at least a tie for first atop the SEC’s Eastern Division. South Carolina (6-1, 4-1), which holds the tiebreaker due to its 45-42 win in Athens in September, was playing Tennessee in Knoxville late Saturday night.
It was the fourth loss in a row for the Gators (4-4, 2-4), who are in their first year under coach Will Muschamp, a UGA graduate and football letterman. It’s the first time Florida has lost four consecutive games since 1988, when Georgia also handed it loss number four.
After giving up a 72-yard pass play on Florida’s first offensive play of the game, the Bulldogs bowed up to allow just 154 total yards the rest of the way, including 19 yards passing in the second half.
Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who was named a Butkus Award finalists just this past week, recorded four of the Bulldogs’ six quarterback sacks in the game. John Brantley, who ended starting for the Gators, was 12-of-33 passing for 245 yards.
The Bulldogs scored two of their three touchdowns on fourth-down passes from quarterback Aaron Murray, one to freshman Michael Bennett and another to junior Tavarres King. Murray was 15-of-34 passing for 169 yards and threw one interception.
Tailback Richard Samuel recorded the other TD on a four-yard run in the fourth quarter and finished with 58 yards rushing in relief of injured starter Isaiah Crowell. The game ended after Samuel’s first-down run to the Gators’ 1-yard line.
Crowell missed most of the second half with a shin contusion but managed to finish with 81 yards on 18 carries.