Gimme 5: Keys to Florida’s loss to UGA
JACKSONVILLE — The transitive relation states when an Object A is related to an Object B, and B is in turn related to an Object C, then A is also related to C.
It is a proven theory in math. Not so much in sports.
Earlier this season, South Carolina throttled Georgia. Sure, it was in Columbia, S.C., but the Gamecocks laid the hammer on the Bulldogs, beating them 35-7.
Two weeks later, South Carolina looked equally overmatched against the Gators. Florida’s defense was swarming and its offense was efficient, beating South Carolina 44-11.
In math, Florida would be object a, supremely dominant over South Carolina, Object B, who was far better than Georgia, Object C.
The theory says Florida should therefore be better than Georgia. In fact, much better. However, that is what is great about sports. There are no rules and every game is unique.
That proved to be true Saturday night at EverBank Field. No. 10 Georgia upset No. 2 Florida 17-9, throwing the mathematical world out of whack.
For Florida (7-1, 6-1 SEC) the loss likely cost the team a chance to play in the SEC Championship Game. The team has surpassed preseason expectations, but coming that close is painful all the same.
Here, for the first time this season, are five keys to Florida’s loss to Georgia.
5. Todd Gurley
Coming into the game, the Gators spoke about having to limit Gurley and Keith Marshall. They did a good job against Marshall, holding him to four yards on four carries.
Gurley was much different. He carried the ball 27 times for 118 yards and a touchdown. He was strong, physical and fast, helping Georgia’s offense move the ball despite Aaron Murray’s three first-half interceptions.
Losing Isaiah Crowell was expected to be a huge loss for Georgia this season. However, Gurley’s talents, as a freshman, are remarkable.
He was great Saturday night and looks to be the future for Georgia’s ground game.
4. One-dimensional offense
Mike Gillislee carried the ball 22 times for 77 yards. An average of 3.5 yards per rush just will not get it done.
Georgia loaded the box and caught Gillislee in the hole a number of times. On talent alone he was able to break contain a few times to pick up chunks of yards. However, all together, he was ineffective.
The same goes for Jeff Driskel in terms of rushing. The zone read rarely caught Georgia’s defense off balance, and he rushed for just 12 yards.
What ensued was the Gators had to look to pass the ball to move it consistently. That just did not work. The result? No touchdowns and three field goals. And a loss.
Florida was called for 10 penalties, which resulted in 95 yards. Compared to Georgia’s 14 penalties for 132 yards, the Gators looked like saints.
However, it was the timing of the penalties that severely hurt the Gators, particularly a holding call on defensive end Dominique Easley in the fourth quarter.
On third-and-10 from Georgia’s 25-yard line, Murray hit Gurley in the backfield, and Easley immediately brought him to the ground. Florida’s defense appeared to be off the field, but Easley was called for holding, giving Georgia a new set of downs.
Five plays later, Murray hit Malcolm Mitchell for a 45-yard touchdown to give Georgia a 17-9 lead. The penalty was instrumental in the score, which completely swung momentum in the game.
2. Jarvis Jones
Here are the numbers: 12 solo tackles, one assisted tackle, three sacks, 4.5 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
South Carolina’s Jadaveon Clowney could be the nation’s best player, but Jones made a case for himself against the Gators.
“He did some big things,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “He led like I’ve never seen him lead before. I’m just proud of him and our whole defense.”
The All-American linebacker was everywhere. There is likely still pieces of his helmet implanted somewhere in Driskel.
He was disruptive. He was nasty. He was everything you want in a defensive player.
The Gators simply could not contain him.
The game essentially began and ended with turnovers that cost Florida the game.
Driskel fumbled the ball on the opening series, which resulted in Georgia’s first touchdown. Looking to score and tie the game late in the fourth quarter, Jordan Reed fumbled into the end zone to essentially end the game.
In between those two fumbles, the Gators had two more fumbles and a pair of interceptions that continually set them back.
It cost them points. It cost them field position. It cost them the game.
“That’s the end of the game in my opinion — six turnovers,” Gators coach Will Muschamp said.
He was correct. That’s when Florida lost the game.
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