JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Sure, there’s plenty about his 14th-ranked Gators that Florida coach Jim McElwain would like to see improve. But he’s not about to complain with the results.
Take Saturday’s 24-10 win over Georgia, for example.READ MORE: Fake Whistleblower Sentenced To Federal Prison For Attempting To Frame Former Acquaintance
Although the Gators scuffled at times offensively, another sterling effort by Florida’s second-ranked SEC defense shut down the Bulldogs, allowing McElwain’s squad to stay in the driver’s seat for the East title.
The Gators (6-1, 4-1) — who won the game for the third straight year — were impressive indeed.
Florida held Georgia (4-4, 2-4) to 164 total yards, including a season-low 21 on the ground and making life miserable for quarterback Jacob Eason, holding the freshman to 14-of-32 passing for 145 yards.
Meanwhile, Florida’s offense did what it needed to do to win, despite managing just 228 total yards themselves.
But the Gators did what Georgia could only do once — find the end zone — including a 4-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Antonio Callaway with 5:54 to go in the third.
A 38-yard field goal by Eddie Pienero in the fourth quarter accounted for the final score.READ MORE: Florida Man Sentenced For $40 Million Fraud
Florida led 14-10 in what was a sloppy first half by both teams.
One of those mistakes came during the Gators’ opening drive when Bulldogs safety Dominick Sanders picked off Luke Del Rio — who completed 15-of-25 passes for 131 yards — setting up a 25-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship for a quick 3-0 lead.
But the Gators would answer, using a nice catch on the sideline by C’yontai Lewis to set up Florida’s first touchdown, which Lewis scored from 19 yards out after a missed tackle from Sanders.
Georgia would reclaim the lead in the second quarter on a 14-yard pass from Eason to Riley Ridley, only to see the Gators go up a second time on a 2-yard run by Jordan Scarlett to jump back in front 14-10.
Thanks to errors by both teams, the score stayed right there.
Florida was penalized six times for 45 yards, while the Bulldogs dropped a handful of passes, including one from Eason with no Gator defensive back within 15 yards.MORE NEWS: Marietta Man Arrested for Phony Community Service Documentation
NOTES: Florida MLB Jarrard Davis was supposed to be a game-time decision with a sprained ankle, but was able to start the game. … Georgia’s Dominick Sanders picked off his second interception of the year on Florida’s first possession. He now has 11 for his career, good for third place in school history. … Florida played the game without two of its top four running backs in Mark Thompson and Jordan Cronkrite, who did not travel with the team. Thompson was cited for pot possession while Cronkrite was left in Gainesville for undisclosed reasons.