No. 10 Georgia outsts No. 2 Florida 17-9 in hard-hitting, turnover-filled rivalry game

With an opportunity to clinch the Southeastern Conference East division for the first time since 2009, the No. 2 Florida Gators put together their worst game of the season, turning the ball over six times and failing to score a single touchdown as the No. 10 Georgia Bulldogs outplayed them and completed a 17-9 upset victory.

Georgia (7-1, 5-1 SEC) now controls its SEC East destiny after taking down Florida (7-1, 6-1 SEC) in consecutive years for the first time since 1987-89. The Gators were held without a touchdown for the first time since Oct. 15, 2011 (at Auburn) and the first time against the Bulldogs since 1988.

Florida got off to a rough start on its first possession as sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel fumbled on the first play of the game when handing the ball off to senior running back Mike Gillislee. Driskel would recover his fumble but coughed the ball up again just two plays later, handing it over to Georgia on the 20-yard line. A pair of 10-yard gains resulted in a touchdown for Bulldogs freshman RB Todd Gurley and a 7-0 lead.

Things did not get any better for the Gators when they got the ball back as Florida converted a first down before turning it over on downs at the Georgia 36. Junior wide receiver Solomon Patton tried to convert a 4th-and-1 on a jet sweep but was taken down by his neck and seriously injured his arm on the play.

UF redshirt junior WR Andre Debose fumbled the ensuing punt return though redshirt senior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. was able to recover it. The Gators then forced their first turnover of the game as redshirt sophomore linebacker Neiron Ball intercepted QB Aaron Murray but coughed the ball up again when Driskel fumbled three plays later.

With UGA on the nine-yard line and about to score, Florida senior safety Josh Evans intercepted Murray to begin UF’s best possession of the first half. The Gators used 15 plays to drive 70 yards and reduced their deficit to 7-3 after redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis connected on a 38-yard field goal.

Read the rest of this Florida-Georgia game story…after the break!

Florida registered its third interception of the game on the ensuing Georgia possession as junior safety Matt Elam picked off Murray on third down. The Gators were again held out of the end zone and settled for a 23-yard field goal with 2:43 left in the first half.

After forcing a punt, Florida took over at its own 40 with 1:08 to play and drove 55 yards down the field, but Driskel threw an interception into the end zone to end the half instead of settling for a field goal.

He doubled up with a second interception on the Gators’ first possession of the second half, turning the ball over to the Bulldogs at the 25-yard line. UGA would eventually settle for a 29-yard field goal, giving it a four-point lead midway through the third quarter.

Georgia attempted a surprise onside kick on the ensuing kickoff but was forced to re-kick after being called offsides. The Bulldogs wound up getting even better field position as junior RB Trey Burton fumbled a Wildcat hand-off two plays later, giving up the ball at the 26-yard line. UGA was unable to convert the turnover into points, however, missing a 37-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Florida eventually won the field position battle and took over on Georgia’s 43 following a punt. After Driskel took a zone read 20 yards down the field, UF was pushed back with a penalty and nine-yard sack before gaining a few yards back. The Gators settled for a 51-yard field goal attempt, which Sturgis made to cut his team’s deficit to one point with 9:41 left in the game.

The Bulldogs answered field goal immediately, piecing together a seven-play, 75-yard drive that concluded with a 45-yard touchdown pass from Murray to Malcolm Mitchell. The drive would have been over earlier had junior defensive end Dominique Easley not been called for a costly holding penalty on a drive-ending third-down incompletion. Instead, Malcom took a simple curl up the field and ran into the end zone as UF missed four tackles.

Florida responded with its best drive of the second half with Driskel completing four passes – three to redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed – and Gillislee gaining 22 yards on three carries. On Reed’s last reception, he gained 14 yards but jumped into the air inside the five-yard line and fumbled the ball into the end zone. UGA star LB Jarvis Jones forced a fumble for the second time in the game. He also registered a team-high 12 tackles with 4.5 for loss and three sacks.

Georgia outgained Florida 273-266 in the game but lost the time of possession battle 26:19-33:41. The Gators converted 7-of-16 third-down conversions compared to just 1-of-10 for the Bulldogs. UF did not achieve a single sack in the game and failed to force a second-half turnover, though Georgia ensured that their rivals coughed the ball up all game long.

With the SEC East no longer in its control, Florida will conclude its 2012 league campaign next week at home against Missouri at a yet-to-be-determined time.

Photo Credit: Stephen Morton/Associated Press

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31 Responses to “No. 10 Georgia outsts No. 2 Florida 17-9 in hard-hitting, turnover-filled rivalry game”

  1. dp says:

    Can someone please explain why Jordan felt the need to jump in that situation instead of running someone’s ass over? Seriously?! Great decision. Way to play offense Gators. Way to choke.

    • AnObfuscator says:

      not just the jump, but why wasn’t he holding the football tight, especially with half the UGA defense in arms reach?!

  2. BEAT MISSOU says:

    You’ll never win a game when you turn the ball over so much it matches the points on the scoreboard. Defense did great, a few calls didn’t go our way. On the bright side we played the worst we’ve played all year and they played their best and they only beat us because we gave the game away.

  3. VO2Max says:

    I’m not going to put this loss on Reed, BUT! Reed has been guilty of being a “violator” all season. Tonight it cost the Gators a shot at a win, a huge win over a hated rival, and a trip to the SEC Championship game. I’m pretty sure that when the pain subsides, the coaching staff will be reaming him out.

    We’ve been waiting for the lack of a passing attack to bite us. Tonight, it was Driskel’s immaturity that bit us.

  4. BEAT MISSOU says:

    Driskel did fine passing, turnovers were what costed

  5. Gator John says:

    Condo guys. Reed played a good game, and fumbled at the worst possible time. It happens. I’m willing to bet the coaches don’t team him for anything, he was trying to make a play. He makes one mistake and you all want to jump on him. How about getting onto the offensive line for their pass protection that lead to 3 of those turnovers. Reed has been our best pass catcher all year. Blaming this loss on him is unfair.
    Go gators!

  6. joe says:

    We seemed to be in third and long all game and Pease had no answer to Ga’s blitz. It hurts now but we were due for a reality check. There is no way we were the second best team in the country. I believe we are a year ahead of schedule and the team will learn from this and next year we will be winning these type of games.

  7. GatorGrad98 says:

    I hate losing to Georgia, but not at much as these kids probably do… I am proud of where this team has come from last year. No one thought this team could get this far, this is a great learning experience for these players that I know they will grow from. I think we will have a good rest of the year and a great 2013 in the making!!! Go gators!

  8. Marlex says:

    We’ve been a second half team all season. We’ve been so mainly because our offensive line hasn’t been able to get a consistent push to assist the running game or protect against the pass rush early in games. In just about every game before today, we’ve been able to wear down the defensive line until we were able to begin making plays.

    Today we found out what happens when an opposing team’s d-line is able to hold up for the duration.

  9. Aligator says:

    They looked like they did last year … unprepared and undisciplined. It also looked like Steve Adozzio was calling the plays for the offense today. Up the middle left, up the middle right …. screen out into the flats…. just terrible and no adjustments at halftime this week…. but they are doing much better this season than last and will likely win 10 games this year.

  10. dp says:

    Listen I’m not blaming Jordan for the horrible game that the o-line had, for Driskell’s numerous mistakes, for Debose muffing a punt, for the defense letting that cocky WR score that TD or even for Easley’s dumb penalty when we would have gotten the ball back before that score. All I’m saying is that I don’t care what team you are on…when you are a 6ft 5 beast that weighs in the area of 250-260, when you are on the 5 yard line in a critical game at an extremely critical situation, you cover the damn ball and you run someone over! Either way, we have it first and short or he scores. Last I checked, he isn’t on our track team for his hurdling skills. Cover the damn ball and run someone over! Period.

    And I agree, with this offense, there is no way we are the second best team in the land. Driskell still needs to grow and our line has to give more time and open better holes. My only fear is that Elam, Easley and Floyd are going to bolt…not to mention the seniors we are losing. This loss really hurt.

  11. Ken (CA) says:

    This was as painful a game in general as i have watched in a long time, on both sides. Even if we had come back and won it was really sloppy and I found myself cringing a lot. It is clear that we are much improved but still have a long way to go. We were tight and not mentally in the came. Incredibly costly penalties again, ball handling horrendous, pass protection non-existent, run protection non-existent. Their defense may have been motivated, but isn’t THAT good.

    We have a ton of players that will likely head off to the NFL this year, especially on defense, hope our recruiting has been good enough that we won’t have significant drop off between experience/raw talent

  12. scooterp says:

    Jesus! 7-1 and everyone wants to jump ship. LOOK we’ve exceeded what anyone thought we would be after October. I’m sorry, but the better team won today. We’ve been one dimentional offensively all season long – you don’t win championships that way. Gary danielson was right, they need to quit babying Driskel and expand the play book. And for god sakes, quit praising the O line. Everyone says Driskel holds the ball too long, but I can’t count to 2 after the snap before he’s pulling turf out of his grill. They came in amped up (which I expected), I just didn’t think it would be sustained for 4 quarters. Georgia has not been a mentally tough football team all year, so I expected after a turnover or two that the wheels would fall off and we would win going away in the second half. WRONG……… that Williams kid probably did them the biggest favor by calling his teamates “soft”. It just sucks that their team had to come together the week we played them. We’re just not ready yet.

  13. B says:

    “Fair weather” fans make me sick. Y’all were kissing ass all year and now we lose a horrible game and you blame Jordan Reed? Who’s been a beast all year? How about we fire muschamp, replace Driskel and Reed, s^*tcan Pease and just start over? I’m disgusted with your comments. It’s embarrassing. GO GATORS!!!

  14. Jrbishop31 says:

    I just want to know how it is holding when the running back is behind the line of scrimmage. Defensive lineman grab RBs all the time when they read screens!!!

  15. W says:

    Unbelievable reading this board right now. Blasting the kids for a bad game is understandable, but they put it all on the line tonight. No lack of effort, just poor execution. And to start talking about next year is foolish and shows lack of commitment to this team. Let’s be honest- this team will be 11-1 or 10-2. If that’s not satisfactory for a 2nd year coach playing a very tough schedule, I think we need a reality check. Let’s keep everything in perspective. This loss hurt, but I think the future remains very bright for the team this year and beyond.

  16. B says:

    I’m with W^. This loss hurts but it is not the end of the world. And that is really hard for me to say. I am a life long Gator, born and raised in Tallahassee. I put up with a bunch from opposing team fans. I can deal with that. But to read these rediculous comments from “Gator” fans….. Wow. As much as I wanted that “perfect” season, this game is OVER. None of the bull$:;% talked here will change that. And until you walk a mile in these players shoes ( who wanted this more than any of us) you have no right to give up on this team. If you do…. You weren’t a fan to begin with.

  17. BEAT SCAR says:

    Nobody was trashing Reed on this board.. All I saw were questions as to why Reed is one of the biggest and fastest tight ends in the country and didn’t just try to run over the DB’s from Georgia. You won’t see many tight ends in the country trying to jump their way into the end zone.

    That being said, Driskel has a bright future. The offensive line improves and we get 1 or 2 more play makers at receiver and we are National Champions. Besides Nixon(sadly, won’t be a big loss), Wilson, Gilly, and Hammond. Our whole offense is back next year.

    Floyd, Elam, Easley, Hunter, Evans, and Bostic are going to be the ones who leave. Guess what? We have people that will step right in and fill the void. As far as taking Bostic’s spot, Taylor will have no problems. Gonna be tough replacing Floyd and Easley. Elam is a playmaker, but Muschamp knows how to coach those DB’s.

    Sorry to talk about next year I just saw someone say something about people leaving for the NFL

    GO GATORS!

  18. Ken (CA) says:

    i don’t think those complaining about the comments here get it. It isn’t the fact that we lost, it is the way we lost that has upset so many…

  19. Gator Boys says:

    Go Gators

  20. Donnie says:

    Some, and I say some…. Of you are completly ridiculous. Not one poster here had us undefeated coming into this game. At absolute worst we end the season 10-2. No one in the country had us better than 9-3 with most saying 8-5 following a bowl game. I’m bummed that we lost, but did any of you think we were going undefeated? We’re going to lose a few kids on both sides of the ball this year for sure but this may of been the best season in gators football history including 2007 for the young guys, freshman and sophomores, to see and feel what it’s like to have your goals ripped away from you from poor execution. When I spoke to a freshman defensive player (a freshman with extensive playing time) a hour or so after the game he told me that his class vowed to never feel this way again. We had 6 turnovers. If we take 2 back, the 1 at the end of the first half and reeds fumble we win this game and could say that even though we played the worst game all year we still won. In short, Georgia didn’t win this we lost it. If we played again tomorrow we may beat that same team 42-6. The only real things I’m pissed about are 1, Andre debose is never going to amount to crap in the receiving game unless he pulls one in on a go route and 2, Xavier Nixon has gotten worse every year since his freshman year. Both freshman o-lineman are better knowledge wise but are just shy strength wise. The future is BRIGHT! Go GATORS!!!!

  21. G8rgr8 says:

    Im blaming Reed…. He’s a converted QB, he should have known how critical a first and goal would be for us, and how costly a fumble would be in that situation, before the snap of the ball… We obviously still have a “gap” in leadership! Proof is that, the only unit on our team with leadership is Matt Elam and our secondary! We got burnt on a blitz that everyone in the stadium knew was coming!!! We did not disguise it very well… Reeds fumble didn’t loose the game for us, the previous 58 minutes did…. The fumble just ended any chance we had, and happened at the one moment where we should know better. Congrats Georgia, well played!!!! This one is gonna make us tuff….

  22. Tractorr says:

    In the end, we aren’t ready for Bama this year anyways. Next year is the year and it always was supposed to be. This year has already exceeded expectations.

  23. Ted says:

    Don’t blame Reed for giving everything he had to try and make a play. The whole game was a comedy of errors, albeit a sad one.

    Ted

  24. scooterp says:

    I don’t have to apologize for being angry about this performance and neither should anyone else. I thought Florida would win because we’re mentally tougher than Georgia, but it sure didn’t play out that way. Someone needs to tell Purifoy to quit jawing with the receivers and concentrate on his assignment. The better team won yesterday, and yes I’m angry about it.

  25. SaraGator says:

    You guys are nuts for blaming Reed. The whole team was sloppy and allowed their emotions to dictate the game. But you have to give Georgia credit, they played like the team they were supposed to be. Remember, lots of people looked at their schedule and predicted them to win the SEC East.

    Overall, even though it hurts to lose to the Mutts (hate them the most!), I’m impressed we just have one loss. We still have a chance. We still have to win out and hope Mutts drop another game.

    Go Gators!

    • Gator John says:

      Agreed on both points. Reed was trying to make a play. …some fans just want to point fingers I guess. its just a good thing they dont coach this team.

      I am happy we are 7-1, especially after the last two seasons. success can go to some fans heads. a ten win season would be great improvement. It has been and will continue to be a great year!Lets hope Auburn or Ole Miss can help us out over the next two weeks. Go Gators!

  26. gator says:

    Its been alot of fun this yea,r gonna get over this game and got 3 winnable games to right the ship and get ready for the semenholes and a top bowl game. Good year!

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