No. 8 Gators Take Down No. 5 Bulldogs 44-28, Inch Closer to SEC Title Game

The No. 8 Florida Gators take down the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs to take control of the SEC East.
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Photo credit: University of Florida athletic association

In a must-win contest, the No. 8 Florida Gators defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 44-28, the first time Florida has won the annual contest in Jacksonville (Fla.) since 2016.

Entering the game, Florida was coming off of a decisive victory over the Missouri Tigers, defeating Mizzou 41-17. Much of that same momentum would continue throughout the game against the Bulldogs, with Florida able to put up plenty of offense against a banged-up Georgia defense.

With 474, Gators quarterback Kyle Trask set a Florida record for most passing yards in the history of the annual Florida-Georgia contest .

Trask completed 30 out of 43 of his passes for 474 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception. Trask also became the first quarterback in SEC history to complete four or more touchdowns in five consecutive games.

In what could become Florida head coach Dan Mullen's shining moment as a Florida head coach, the Gators have set themselves apart in the SEC East, and are now the only one-loss team in the division.

While the Gators dominated the first half of action, scoring 28 points unanswered to end the half with a decent lead up 38-21, their second-half performance left much to be desired. Florida was able to muster just three points in the third quarter while scoring three points in the fourth quarter.

Those six points in the second half would be enough for Florida to keep Georgia at bay.

Entering the contest, the Bulldogs had the momentum, and ultimately would be favored. However, the Gators were able to hold Georgia to just 227 yards on the day, while the Bulldogs utilized two quarterbacks—Stetson Bennett and D'Wan Mathis.   

The Gators would put up in 571 yards of total offense against the Kirby Smart-led Bulldogs, one of the most impressive offensive performances against Smart in his coaching career at Georgia. While Florida was unable to muster much production in the second half of action, it would be the Gators' defense that sealed the deal.

In total, Florida forced Georgia to punt the football seven times on the day, while picking the football off twice, including what would be the game-sealing interception by Gators safety Shawn Davis with just 3:47 remaining in the game.

Florida would force five three-and-outs on the day while allowing just 108 yards passing on the day. Bennett would complete just 5 out of 16 of his passes for 78 yards, one touchdown and an interception, while Mathis would go on to complete just 4 out of 13 of his passes for 34 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

The Gators competed via the air on Saturday, however, it was the Florida running backs that would become the stars of the passing show—not the receivers. On the day, running back Malik Davis led the team in receiving with five receptions for 100 yards, while backup running back Nay'Quan Wright had a day of his own with three receptions for 71 yards.

Ultimately, Florida comes away from this contest now 4-1 on the year, and truly in control of the SEC East for the first time in years, with five games remaining on the season.

Next up, Florida will take on the Arkansas Razorbacks and a familiar face in quarterback Feleipe Franks.