Dawgs Outlast #9 Florida
By: Joshua Grosh
Georgia defeats Florida 36-17 (Our prediction in #7 Georgia vs #9 Florida Week #9 Prediction was almost spot on)
In a game that felt like two boxers taking shots at one another, Georgia and Florida continued to take shot after shot at one another until Georgia landed the final flurry of punches to win the bout. With every Florida shot, Georgia seemed to relatively have an answer. Though Georgia landed the first shots with two major turnovers and a 10 point lead, Florida was able to tighten up the game in the second quarter where Georgia went ice cold offensively, though Georgia held the lead still as it went on to halftime. Yet, out of the gate of the second half, Florida exploded offensively against Georgia and scored a touchdown to take its first, and only lead of the game. Georgia then responded in return with a touchdown of its own to force the pressure back on Florida. Georgia, would score a field goal in what most would feel was a Florida win after a fumble on the one yard line – and then proceeded to score a field goal to keep the game close. Yet, the offense did not falter after such a stonewall stand by Florida. Like a champ, it responded with a will breaking 9 play, 75-yard drive haymaker of a touchdown which after that, Florida could no longer respond as the limited time now made it a pass dependent game – well outside of their strength on the ground. Georgia would go on to score once more before the game was over to take home the second 2+ touchdown win in a row over Florida – the first time since the 1946 and 1947 seasons. This is also the first time for back to back double digit wins over Florida since 1987 and 1988 (13 points and 23 points). Now for some storyline updates and issues around the game along with my criticisms.
Let’s first address the two major black eyes of the game – the play calling and the run defense. First of all, while I am glad Georgia won the game and am glad Georgia asserted its self and showed a more seeable offensive identity for one of the few times this season. Yet, the play calling was head scratching at times. Georgia did great in the first quarter offensively with Holyfield and Swift seemingly gashing Florida at every other hand off. Yet, towards the end of the first quarter and for a good stretch of the second, Georgia went ice cold – potentially because of the offensive line still aching from injuries and losing another lineman for a period of today’s game. Georgia simply could not get anything going and it was just bizarre as Florida seemed to have completely figure Georgia out. Then, to compound it, at short yardage plays, Georgia made bizarre choices with a heavy offensive set jet sweep on third and one that got swallowed up, a weird 2-point conversion attempt, and a completely bewildering goal line stonewalling by Florida – which we must give Florida credit for. Georgia did better today than at LSU, but at times, the play calling left more to be desired. The second red flag was the rush defense. Perhaps Georgia was showing respect to Franks’ strong arm and Florida’s perimeter passing game, but Georgia continued to get gashed and beaten at the line of scrimmage on rush plays. Florida had its way with the running game with multiple big runs against Georgia’s defense – especially on the power and counter plays. This problem could be symptomatic of injuries at the d-line that Georgia had even during the LSU game, but something has to be done as Georgia goes on to face Kentucky next week with the fate of the SEC East on the line – especially given how great of a running back Kentucky has with Benny Snell. Yet it was not all bad and terrible.
Today’s game had some truly great parts to it. Georgia proved it can pass the ball and it completely silenced what was a growing discontent with the quarterback situation among the fan base – I was one who even asked the competition be opened again going into the bye week so I am not without fault here. Georgia stuck with Fromm and Fromm delivered. Fromm was lights out today and did not appear remotely as tense has he has seemed all season – potentially he is no longer scared of a potential loss of his starting position? With this game, Georgia resoundingly stated that Fromm is the starter; no ands, no buts, no ifs. Another positive from this game seems to be Georgia has decided to stick to Holyfield and Swift – likely answering a long needed problem of picking the dominant running back and staying with them, and Holyfield seems to be getting the nod in this regard. Hopefully this decision stays heading forward and Georgia continues to gel as a unit together.
Jake Fromm: 17-24 passing for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns, 6 rushes for 11 yards.
Holyfield and Swift: Their combined tandem completely helped Georgia carry on. While not as effective as Chubb and Michel, they turned in a respectable performance with a combination of 32 carries for 175 yards and 1 touchdown. These two are combined due to how well both fed off each other.
The next game will be against a high ranked Kentucky team (who could creep into the top 10) at Lexington Kentucky. Kentucky came back to win against an upset minded Missouri team with a last second touchdown to win. Stakes are high as this game will determine the winner of the SEC East and it will determine whether UGA gets to defend its SEC title or Kentucky gets its first ever SEC East title and title game appearance. The game time has not yet been announced.