JACKSONVILLE -- Before I re-watch the tape (later in the week) of Florida’s 23-20 defeat to division Georgia, here are some rapid reaction grades.
It took Florida 9+ quarters -- spanning three games and all losses -- for the Gators to score an offensive touchdown against Georgia. Aside from Tyler Murphy's 83-yard pass to Quinton Dunbar (which somehow the wideout did not score on), the Gators totaled just 43 the rest of the first half.
Freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor showed brief flashes, but the offensive line -- albeit steady in pass protection -- failed to open up any gaping holes for UF's tailback. Murphy was again inaccurate and sluggish in his decision-making, but he played pretty well after halftime (capitalizing on short fields) and made some key plays with his legs.
While not totally "inept," UF's offense was hardly the "explosive, confident bunch" coach Will Muschamp teased earlier in the week.
For a defense (suddenly) accustomed to slow starts: Todd Gurley -- injured and all -- tallied 121 yards and two touchdowns on his first five touches of the game.
The sophomore tailback finished with 100 yards on the ground (his second game against the Gators eclipsing the century mark) on 17 carries. Once again, Florida's linebackers struggled.
But Gurley eventually ran out steam (and was slowed by his high-ankle sprain), and it allowed Florida's defense to catch their breath. The third quarter was a dominating effort: five plays, a fumble recovery, a safety (blind-side sack) and two total yards allowed.
The 4th-down stop early in the fourth quarter was another huge play, and yet, when Florida needed its defense (allegedly a suffocating third down unit) to give the ball back to the offense, it couldn't. The Bulldogs' eight-minute drive, a repeat of their game-sealing drive over South Carolina, was demoralizing for defense built on toughness and swagger.
SPECIAL TEAMS D+
Georgia -- who has the SEC's worst special teams -- outplayed Florida's unit Saturday afternoon. The Gators left six points on the field with a pair of missed field goals, while UGA's Marshall Morgan was a perfect 3-for-3. Frankie Valdez was 1-of-2, while Austin Hardin -- Florida's long kicker -- short-changed a 47-yard attempt by a good 3-5 yards short. Oey.
Johnny Townsend pinned the Dawgs deep twice (including setting up the safety). Brian Poole was flagged for a blatent block in the back on one return and the Gators got away with another obvious holding call on Solomon Patton's long run back.
Have at it.
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