Recap: Georgia vs. Florida
Jacksonville, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Kelvin Taylor and Matt Jones each eclipsed over 190 rushing yards and combined for four touchdowns as Florida ran its way to a 38-20 upset over No. 9 Georgia, a result that effectively ended the Bulldogs' national championship aspirations.
The Gators put up a whopping 418 yards on the ground overall on a Georgia defense that hadn't allowed more than 132 rushing yards during the five-game win streak it brought into Saturday's showdown. Taylor grinded out a career- high 197 with two touchdowns on 25 carries, with Jones amassing a personal- best 192 and a pair of scores on 25 attempts.
"That was the story of the game," Georgia head coach Mark Richt said of the Gators' rushing success. "We couldn't run the way we like to and they did."
Michael McNeely added a 21-yard touchdown run on a game-changing fake field goal in the second quarter, beginning a stretch of 31 consecutive points that propelled Florida (4-3, 3-3 SEC) to its first win in the series since 2010.
"Let me get this (monkey) off my back," said Gators head coach Will Muschamp, whose team had dropped 10 of its last 13 and was handed a 42-13 shellacking at home by Missouri in its last outing. "That's one less thing for you to write about."
The loss was a devastating one for Georgia (6-2, 4-2), which lost control of its own destiny in the SEC East with Missouri's win over Kentucky.
Nick Chubb had another big game in place of the suspended Todd Gurley in defeat, rushing for 156 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and gaining 59 more with another score on five catches. Hutson Mason threw for a career-high 319 yards and a touchdown on 26-of-42 passing, though most of the damage came after the Bulldogs were down 31-7 in the fourth quarter.
With the way the Gators had been struggling coming in, the outcome was one few could have seen coming. Much like Muschamp's gutsy decision to fake a 38- yard field goal attempt with his team trailing 7-0 midway through the second quarter.
Florida had its first three possessions end in a pair of three-and-outs and a lost fumble, but its offense got untracked by stringing together a 14-play, 78-yard sequence in the Gators attempted just one pass -- a 12-yard catch by Jones on 3rd-and-7.
The Gators got as far as the Bulldogs' 21 before the drive fizzled and Muschamp summoned the field goal unit. McNeely received the snap and with Georgia caught off guard, found a gaping hole off right tackle before following his blockers into the end zone with 8:25 left in the first half.
Florida kept hold of the momentum seized by the trick play and held on to it well into the fourth quarter.
Taylor ripped off a 44-yard run deep into Georgia territory on the second play of Florida's next series, which followed a three-and-out from the Bulldogs. A 13-yard catch by Latroy Pittman shortly after put the ball on the two, where Taylor barreled in from there to send the Gators in front just over five minutes prior to the intermission.
Chubb broke loose down the right sideline for a 39-yard touchdown on Georgia's second possession of the day, but he and the Bulldogs were held in check by the Gator defense over the remainder of the half.
Georgia did have a chance to take a 10-0 lead near the end of the opening quarter, but Marshall Morgan pushed a 39-yard field goal wide left as the Bulldogs failed to cash in on a fumble near midfield by Gators quarterback Treon Harris.
"It just felt like we couldn't ever get anything going," Mason said. "We were obviously in the game and had a chance to be up 10-0. They caught good wind and good things kept rolling for them."
Florida's ground game kept on humming after the break, as Jones found daylight on an option run and sidestepped a defender before sprinting his way to a 44- yard score that extended the margin to 21-7 less than three minutes into the third quarter.
"We were going to pound them and pound them and were going to keep pounding them," said Taylor. "We weren't going to be denied. We just kept running hard, and everything else happened."
After another Georgia drive went nowhere, Florida ran nine straight times, highlighted by Jones' 25-yard burst that set up Frankie Velez's 21-yard field goal with 5:09 left in the third.
Chubb lost a fumble at the end of a 35-yard run on the Bulldogs' next series, and Georgia punted it away again the next time it had the ball. Andre Debose returned the kick 38 yards to the opposing 26 and Jones later capped the short trek with a 1-yard TD on a direct snap that pushed the lead to 31-7.
Georgia finally managed to cut into the deficit with a 9-play, 68-yard jaunt culminating in Chubb's 10-yard catch in the end zone on a deflected ball. He couldn't hold on to Mason's pass on the ensuing 2-point try, though, keeping the score 31-13 with just over 11 minutes left.
Mason drove the Bulldogs to the Florida 2-yard line after getting the ball back two minutes later, but two incompletions and a bobbled snap preceded Marcus Maye's breakup in the end zone on fourth down to turn Georgia over on downs with 5:17 remaining.
Taylor then sealed the verdict by busting into the open field for a 65-yard run that put the Gators up 38-13 with 2:11 to go.
Georgia got one final touchdown with three seconds still to play, coming on a 1-yard run by Brendan Douglas.Game Notes
Georgia had allowed an average of 94.4 rushing yards over its five-game win
streak ... Harris attempted just six passes, completing three of them for 27
yards ... Jones' previous career best was 176 yards, set against Kentucky on
Sept. 28, 2013, while Taylor delivered his first 100-yard effort as a Gator
... Florida had won 18-of-21 meetings in the series prior to the Bulldogs'
prevailing in the last three matchups ... Both teams wore their home jerseys,
the first time that's happened in the rivalry since 1970.