7 Quick Hits: No. 11 Florida Gators beat Georgia 27-3, firmly in control of SEC destiny

By Adam Silverstein
October 31, 2015

No. 11 Florida Gators football (7-1, 5-1 SEC) pulled away late in the first half and cruised to a 27-3 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs (5-3, 3-3 SEC) on Saturday at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party from EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.

Though Florida’s passing offense left much to be desired, the Gators were simply the better team Saturday, forcing five turnovers on defense (four interceptions) and seeing the running game compile 244 yards on 44 total touches.

With the victory, the Gators take a firm hold on the SEC East crown. It would take Florida losing out and Vanderbilt winning out in order for a three-way tie to be forced in the division. As such, UF is likely headed to the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 2009.

OnlyGators.com breaks down seven of the most important takeaways from the Gators’ biggest victory yet under head coach Jim McElwain … coming up momentarily.

Have a day, defense: The Gators held the Bulldogs to just 223 total yards on Saturday, limiting Georgia to 15 rushing yards in the first half (fewest since 2004) while intercepting third-string quarterback Faton Bauta four times. Overall, Florida forced five turnovers on the afternoon and even got some rush against one of the best offensive lines in the country, proving that UF has a legitimate unit that is one of the best in the nation.

Linebackers senior Antonio Morrison and junior Jarrad Davis (six tackles each) dominated throughout the contest, and while Davis dropped an early interception, he made up for it on a second opportunity to seal the game late in the fourth quarter. Also picking off passes on the day were redshirt junior safety Marcus Maye, junior cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and junior S Keanu Neal, who corralled a ball in the end zone to erase a potential late scoring drive.

Have a day, KT: Junior running back Kelvin Taylor loves Jacksonville … and hates Georgia. Taylor took 25 carries for 121 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday; he now has 318 yards and four touchdowns over the last two seasons against the Bulldogs.

While Taylor was certainly impressive, he was not the only player to pick up chunk yardage. After freshman Jordan Cronkrite got ejected for targeting, classmate Jordan Scarlett was counted on to be Florida’s change-of-pace back late. He broke through for a huge 60-yard run and finished with 96 yards in nine touches.

He. Is. Antonio. No, not Morrison. Wide receiver Antonio Callaway became the first freshman pass catcher to total 100+ yards three times in his first season with the Gators, catching a 66-yard touchdown pass in the first half and finishing with three receptions for 110 yards on the afternoon. Callaway, who was questionable for the game with a mid-week foot injury, could not have looked healthier on Saturday.

One mistake changed the game: While Florida likely would have run away with this contest anyway, the Gators benefited from an early miscue by Bulldogs WR Reggie Davis, who muffed a punt inside the five-yard line that led to a fumble recovery touchdown for junior cornerback Nick Washington and a 6-0 lead for UF. The teams looked like they would be in an offensive funk all game – and were – but the early miscue by UGA gave Florida an opportunity to gain confidence and jump on an early advantage.

Star in the making: Though his stat line was not monsterous, junior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard was dominant throughout Saturday’s contest, leading CBS analyst Gary Danielson to opine that Bullard likely made himself more money than he lost by staying in college and not leaving early for the NFL. Danielson was right. Bullard has positioned himself as a first-round draft choice and looks like one of the best defensive linemen in college football.

Rough at quarterback: Though sophomore Treon Harris made a few nice passes on Saturday, he started the contest 2 for 11 and looked like he would have a very difficult day. Harris is simply not the thrower that redshirt freshman Will Grier is, but the Gators have no choice – they have to roll with Harris for the rest of the year, and the second-year signal caller is by far UF’s best choice at quarterback. Harris finished 8 of 19 for 155 yards with the touchdown toss to Callaway, picking up 39 more yards with his legs.

Quicker hits: Florida has not made a field goal since Oct. 3 after redshirt junior Austin Hardin badly missed a 45-yard attempt early in the game … the Gators outrushed the Bulldogs by 100 yards in the first half … UF’s 20-0 lead was the largest halftime advantage in the series since 1996 … redshirt senior tight end Jake McGee was the only other Florida player with more than one reception (three for 23 yards) … per ESPN, McElwain’s 24-point win over the Bulldogs is the largest for a first-year Gators coach since Steve Spurrier in 1990.


  1. Robert says:

    Adam, do we lock up the SEC East if we beat Vanderbelt?

    • dave massey says:

      Irony of ironies, if the Dores beat Florida AND win out they win the SEC East on the tiebreaker, otherwise Florida wins the East. I’m betting that’s not going to happen.

      • Tractorr says:

        Nope, Florida would have to lose to Vandy and South Carolina. Vandy would have to beat Florida, UK, TAMU, and Tenn.

        This is the only way Florida doesn’t go to Atlanta. Nothing is certain but if I were planning on going I would book my hotel and airfare.

        • HoneyBee says:

          I booked my hotel back in January. Just checked a week ago and the prices are 100 dollars more per night. I would book now before the announcement. You could always cancel.

        • Dave Massey says:

          Actually Georgia has to lose again also or it could become a three way tiebreaker that goes to the second tiebreaker. The mutts are actually still mathematically in it. In my giddiness, or um impairment, my point was that unless Vandy wins out Florida is the East champ no matter what happens in any other games. Vandy is not going 4-0 in the SEC, period. I’ll be be there next week in the Bull Gator Deck. I fully expect pandemonium and chants of SEC, SEC, SEC to break out all game long. We won’t be waiting for the Dores to lose, we’ll take care of business!!!

  2. Mac_supporter says:

    Adam, did Treon pass a lot in high school? Is it a mechanical thing that makes him less of a passer? What exactly is the issue because he looked really bad on some easy throws today?

    • 305Gator says:

      I think a lot of it has to do with his height, he probably cannot see clearly unless he is rolling out. If that is the case the only way he can be better is with a scheme planned just for him.

      • Dave Massey says:

        He doesn’t read defenses well, he doesn’t go through the progressions, and he badly missed open receivers. He scrambles and waits for the routes and defenses to break down and that is when he is successful. It’s not about height, there was a reason Grier was playing ahead of him. I do agree that the best way he will succeed is not to try to pass from the pocket, he can’t do it.

  3. Oldflyer says:

    Jake McGee had two sensational catches. He is a real weapon. A very good blocker as well; on LT’s 1st TD he drove a defender–don’t know if it was a LB or DB, into the endzone from the point of attack.

  4. Dave Massey says:

    My write in vote for president will be Coach Mac.

  5. Spuntly says:

    I loved hearing “Touchdown….. Taylor made!” from Hubert while driving around in Fairbanks. Brought me back home for a moment. Kelvin showed his worth today.

  6. Mike The Red says:

    Give KT credit, he came through when we needed it. Callaway continues to impress. Our defense stepped up big time. Ugly game but a big win.

    Go Gators.

  7. Mike The Red says:

    Btw… Cronkrite got done wrong big time. That was a solid clean hit. That was not targeting by either the letter or spirit of the rules.

    • scott says:

      Pretty much 100% THIS!

    • Tractorr says:

      I absolutely agree that was not intentional target (what other form of targeting is there I suppose?).

      The problem is that the letter of the law is not only vague but favors the player who got hit. There is a clause that states something to the effect that if the play is in question it is a penalty. From what I saw, Cronkrite clearly hit the other player directly in the shoulder with his head up. The problem become that the player was arguably defenseless and Cronkrite’s follow-thru caused his hands to move up off the pads striking the other player in the head. To me that is not targeting and striking a defenseless player in the head/neck with hands, arms, shoulders or helmet; but his hands did make contact with the other player’s head. I suppose since there was contact there could be a question hence the penalty is enforced. I don’t like that they make a suspension penalty have the error assessed to the offending player. Fine if they make the 15 yards favor the player who gets hit, but how are you going to eject and suspend a kid for something that the NCAA defines as questionable?

    • 305Gator says:

      Totally agree with you

  8. Michael Jones says:

    Scarlett is going to be a stud.

    Can’t believe how much better coached we looked.

    Hard for me to believe that we don’t have a better pocket passer behind Treon. I like the kid. A lot of moxie . . but. . . . . . . . . .

  9. 305Gator says:

    Great win. I think we win out and go to Atlanta. What happens there is a different story, eventually we will need a kicker and a QB who can throw it with accuracy and dependability

    • Michael Jones says:

      That sounds about right. FSU game should be tough but hopefully we’ll get’em. But for sure we have a championship defense. It is one of the most violent, hard-hitting defenses I’ve ever seen but disciplined and without all the personal fouls and personal grandstanding. Don’t miss that nonsense at all.

      Along with Mac, Summers and Collins have been incredibly. Let’s throw in Nussmeier too.

      Been a good year, folks. My goodness what a turnaround good coaching can bring about.

      It would be cool if Bama can upset LSU. I think we match up a little better against Bama.

  10. Mike The Red says:

    OK…I will defend Harris because no one else is. Yes, he started 2 for 11, but he finished 6 for 8. Obviously not his best game. He feels more comfortable out of the pocket. Why not run plays that let him?

    • G2 says:

      I’ll defend him also, all he does is win! Yes, he misses 6 or 8 straight then hits Callaway for a TD. Kids a gamer!
      What happens if he gets dinged? We don’t have a strong enough OL and running game to pound the ball on good teams like Bama and LSU.

      • Michael Jones says:

        If he gets dinged we bring in a kid who doesn’t miss 6 or 8 straight. Like Jacob Guy, for example.

        • senuod says:

          We get that you’re not impressed with Treon’s passing abilities, but c’mon….It’s pretty clear that Jacob Guy is not comparable to the production that Treon has accomplished. Guy wasn’t even the first QB mentioned as an option for backup when Grier was suspended.

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