JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Georgia's defense was far from soft against rival Florida.
And now the Gators are no longer undefeated and no longer in charge in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division.
The 12th-ranked Bulldogs stuffed
No. 3 Florida from every angle, forcing six turnovers in a 17-9 victory
Saturday that left them on the cusp of the SEC championship game.
Call it the World's Largest
Outdoor Turnover Party, and it gave Georgia consecutive wins in the
series for the first time since 1989. These have to be two of the most
significant victories of coach Mark Richt's tenure.
The Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1
Southeastern Conference) can clinch the East and a spot in the
conference title game with wins against Mississippi and Auburn in the next
If the Bulldogs play defense like they did against Florida, getting to Atlanta should be a mere formality.
The Bulldogs did little on
offense until Aaron Murray found Malcolm Mitchell for a 45-yard
touchdown with 7:11 remaining that put them ahead 17-9. Mitchell spun
out of Loucheiz Purifoy's tackle attempt and went mostly untouched the
rest of the way. Florida kept the drive alive with Dominique Easley's
holding penalty on third down.
Georgia sealed its fifth victory in the last 23 games in the rivalry with — what else? — a defensive play.
Jarvis Jones knocked the ball out
of Jordan Reed's hands near the goal line, and teammate Sanders
Commings recovered in the end zone with 2:05 left.
Jones had another huge game
against Florida (7-1, 6-1). The senior, who had four sacks in last
year's 24-20 victory, finished with 13 tackles, three sacks and two
He helped the Bulldogs respond
as well as possible to safety Shawn Williams' criticism of "playing too
soft" earlier in the week. Williams had a point after Georgia allowed at
least 20 points in six of its first seven games and gave up 206 yards
rushing last week at Kentucky.
Jones missed that game with a
sprained ankle. With him back, Georgia looked like a different defense,
and it surely helped that Florida self-destructed at every turn.
Watch Jones' big game-clinching play in the video below.