21 points were on the board at EverBank field eight minutes into the game on Saturday, and none of them points belonged to the Florida Gators.
The Georgia Bulldogs have been exposing and embarrassing defenses all season, and Florida was the next victim on the list.
Florida won the time of possession by nearly 10 minutes, but Georgia won the game by 35 points in a 42-7 bloodbath. That was because the Bulldogs didn’t need much time to score once they got the ball.
All five of Georgia’s offensive touchdown drives took fewer than three and a half minutes and ranged between one-to-five plays per drive.
“It was a shock,” said sophomore defensive back Chauncey Gardner. “We knew they could put up points, but in that quick of time—it is what it is. We’ve got to move on and play the next game. Do what you’ve gotta do.”
Moving on is much easier said than done. Giving up 292 yards on the ground and 101 yards through the air on just seven Georgia pass attempts isn’t something any defense could be proud of.
“It sucks man,” said redshirt junior defensive lineman Khairi Clark. “Because we practice all week, and to not come out and execute what we practice and have them run all over us is just embarrassing.”
According to some defensive players, Georgia threw in a couple plays the Gators just weren’t expecting, but in the end, the Bulldogs put together a stronger game plan on both sides of the ball.
While Florida’s defense left Jacksonville with a bad taste in its mouth, there were a few positives to take away.
After being pummeled by Georgia’s offense in the first 15 minutes, Florida held the Bulldogs scoreless with just 35 total yards in the second quarter. The adjustment gave the Gators their best chance to get back in the game, but the offense did not make the same adjustments.
“We stayed together,” said senior defensive back Duke Dawson. “That’s one thing about me. I’m not really vocal, so that’s one thing I did, I opened up to the guys and they listened to me. Just having someone like that to be on them, it’s always great to see. You see those guys buying in. Everybody was bought in and everybody locked in to what we had going on.”
Still, with the adjustments made after the first quarter, Florida’s young defense couldn’t match up with Georgia’s offense. The Bulldogs were better, and they proved it on Saturday.
This defense is young, but that cannot be an excuse much longer. The Gators still have a high standard on defense. That standard was not met against the Bulldogs, and hasn’t been met in several games this season.
Players know what is expected of the defense at Florida. It is why many of them chose to be a part of this team in the first place, and they were not satisfied with the performance they put on the field in the rivalry loss.