Top-ranked Georgia continued its season-long defensive domination by converting three Florida turnovers into 21 points into en route to a 34-7 victory on Saturday at Jacksonville, Fla.
Stetson Bennett, starting his fifth game of the season at quarterback for the Bulldogs (8-0, 6-0 SEC) in place of the injured JT Daniels, went 10-of-19 passing for 161 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Georgia’s Zamir White rushed for a team-high 105 yard on 14 carries, highlighted by a 42-yard touchdown run, while James Cook added 46 yards and a touchdown on 10 attempts. Kearis Jackson had three receptions for 59 yards for the Bulldogs, whose victory all but guaranteed they will be atop the initial College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday.
Florida (4-4, 2-4), which defeated Georgia last year en route to winning the SEC East Division, started Anthony Richardson at quarterback over Emory Jones, who had been inconsistent while starting the Gators’ first seven games.
Richardson went 12-of-20 passing for 82 yards and two interceptions, in addition to rushing for 26 yards. But he was replaced by Jones after an upper-body injury midway through the third quarter.
Jones went 10-of-14 passing for 112 yards. His 2-yard run with 2:49 left enabled Florida to avoid getting shut out and kept their record streak of scoring in 418 straight games dating to 1988 intact.
Dameon Pierce led the Gators with 69 rushing yards, and Justin Shorter caught four passes for 50 yards.
Georgia took advantage of Florida’s first-half miscues to score three touchdowns in the final 2:16 of the second quarter.
Richardson was running for extra yards when he was stripped before his forward progress was stopped. Nolan Smith made the strip and also had the recovery on Florida’s 11-yard line.
On the next play, Cook took a handoff and burst up the middle for a touchdown, giving Georgia a 10-0 lead with 2:16 left in the first half.
Smith got Georgia the ball back inside Florida territory 33 seconds later when he intercepted a pass that was tipped by lineman Travon Walker at Florida’s 36-yard line with 1:46 remaining. On the next play, Jackson made a diving catch just inside the sideline for a 17-0 lead with 1:35 left in the half.
Instead of playing conservatively and running out the clock, Richardson pushed the ball down the field. On a second-and-11 from Florida’s 47-yard line, he was intercepted by linebacker Nakobe Dean, who raced untouched 50 yards for a 24-0 lead with seven seconds left in the half.
–Field Level Media