Bulldogs score 36 unanswered in 43-20 win over Gators
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The No. 1-ranked Georgia Bulldogs scored 36 unanswered points after getting behind 7-0 and rolled to a 43-20 win over Florida on Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of 76,251 at EverBank Stadium. It was the Bulldogs’ 24th straight SEC regular-season victory, setting a new school record.
Georgia (8-0, 5-0 SEC), which extended its school-record win streak overall to 25 games, trailed after the Gators (5-3, 3-2) scored on the opening drive of the game. After that, the Bulldogs dominated in all phases. The offense piled up 486 yards, the defense posted a season-high four sacks and eight tackles for loss, and Georgia also scored on a safety after a blocked punt.
In the Bulldogs’ sixth win in their last seven meetings against the Gators, quarterback Carson Beck, playing in his hometown, threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Ladd McConkey had a big game with six catches for 135 yards and a touchdown, while running back Daijun Edwards led the ground attack with 95 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts.
The Georgia defense held the Gators without points on eight straight drives after allowing the opening score. Defensive back Javon Bullard led the way with seven tackles, while linebacker Smael Mondon, Jr. had five stops, including two tackles for loss.
The Gators got the ball first and went 66 yards in seven plays, taking a 7-0 lead on a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Graham Mertz to Eugene Wilson III. Georgia answered by driving down to the Florida 4-yard line before settling for a 22-yard Peyton Woodring field goal with 6:16 left in the opening quarter, cutting the lead to 7-3.
Georgia forced the Gators to punt on their next possession, with linebacker Jalon Walker sacking and stripping Mertz for a loss of 13 yards on third down. The Bulldogs, after a 13-yard punt return by Mekhi Mews, started their next drive at the UGA 34. A 19-yard Beck completion to Rara Thomas got the drive rolling, and two plays later, Beck hit McConkey for a 41-yard touchdown, putting Georgia ahead 10-7 with 1:23 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs started their next drive at the Florida 31 after Mondon stopped Trevor Etienne for a loss of two yards on a fourth-and-1 direct snap to the running back. Edwards rushed for 11 on the first play of the ensuing drive, and two plays later, he ran the ball to the right side for a 20-yard touchdown and a 17-7 lead with 13:25 remaining in the half.
Georgia’s defense again set the offense up in Florida territory moments later. After linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson sacked Mertz for a 9-yard loss on first down, defensive lineman Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins sacked and stripped Mertz on second down, and outside linebacker Marvin Jones Jr. recovered at the Gator 11.
The Bulldogs drove down to the 2, where they faced a fourth-and-1. They went for it, and Edwards ran the ball in up the middle for a touchdown and a 24-7 lead with 10:34 on the clock.
Georgia’s defense stopped Florida again with another sack deep in Gator territory, this time by defensive lineman Mykel Williams and linebacker Damon Wilson, Jr., on third down. Georgia’s Joenel Aguero then blocked Jeremy Crawshaw’s punt for a safety, pushing the lead to 26-7 with 9:26 left in the half.
After a scoreless rest of the first half, the Bulldogs added a 32-yard Woodring field goal to push their lead to 29-7 with 7:05 remaining in the third quarter. Beck connected with Dominic Lovett for a 55-yard gain down to the Gator 17 to set up the score.
Georgia’s defense forced a turnover on downs on Florida’s next drive when Dumas-Johnson stopped Etienne two yards short at the Georgia 24 on fourth-and-3. The Bulldog offense then moved deep into Gator territory when Beck found McConkey for a 54-yard gain down to the 23. Three plays later, Beck hit Dillon Bell in the left corner of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown and a 36-7 lead with 18 seconds left in the quarter.
Florida cut Georgia’s lead to 36-13 with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Mertz to tight end Hayden Hansen with 12:29 remaining. It was the Gators’ first score since their opening drive of the game.
The Bulldogs answered right back with a 10-play touchdown drive that ended with a 1-yard Kendall Milton run that made it 43-13 with 5:57 to go. The Gators added a final touchdown on a 1-yard Mertz run with 1:20 remaining.
Georgia returns to Sanford Stadium next Saturday for the first of two straight games against ranked teams to close out its home schedule. The Bulldogs host No. 16 Missouri on Nov. 4, followed by No. 12 Ole Miss on Nov. 11.
*Extending The Streaks: With today’s 43-20 win, top-ranked Georgia (8-0, 5-0 SEC) has extended its school record for consecutive victories now to 25. The streak began during the 2021 season (Dec. 31) when the Bulldogs beat #2 Michigan 34-11 in a CFP semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl. This streak ranks as the fourth longest in SEC history.
-Georgia now has set a school record with its 24th consecutive regular season SEC victory dating to a 31-24 win over Miss. State on Nov. 21, 2020. The 24-game streak ranks tied for second in SEC history with UF (1994-97).
-The Bulldogs extended their school record for consecutive regular season wins to 35, which leads all of FBS. This streak began during the 2020 season with a 31-24 win over Miss. State. on Nov. 21.
-The Bulldogs are now 41-1 in their last 42 games.
-Georgia improves to 8-0 for the fourth time in the Kirby Smart era (now 89-15 overall), joining the 2017, 2021 and 2022 clubs.
-With the latest victory over UF, Georgia now holds a 56-44-2 edge in the series history including 6-2 under Smart.
-A first in the series history, Georgia has beaten Florida three straight by at least 20 points (34-7 in 2021; 42-20 in 2022; 43-20 in 2023).
*Summary of the Offense: Georgia finished with 486 yards of total offense on 66 plays, tallying 43 points. UF was allowing just 20.0 ppg.
-Junior QB Carson Beck, a Jacksonville native, finished 19-for-28, 315 yards, 2 TDs in his first start in the series.
-Junior WR Ladd McConkey had his second career 100-yard receiving game and finished with six receptions for 135 yards, both career highs. He had a 41-yard TD catch, his first of the year, and 13th overall.
-Junior Dominic Lovett (4 rec. for 83 yards) had a career-long 55-yard reception from Beck which was his longest completion too.
-Sophomore Dillon Bell notched a 17-yard TD, his first this year (4th career), to cap a six play, 76-yard drive to put the Bulldogs up 36-7.
-Senior Kendall Milton’s one-yard plunge finished off a 10 play, 75-yard drive in 6:32 to make it 43-13. Milton had 55 yards on 13 carries.
-Senior Daijun Edwards rushed 16 times for 95 yards including a pair of TDs to lead rushers.
-The Bulldogs had 110 rushing yards on 18 attempts for a 6.1 average at the half and finished with 171 yards on 38 carries for a 4.5 avg.
*Defensive Review: UF ended the game with 339 yards of total offense on 59 plays.
-In the first half, UF tallied just 120 yards of offense on 30 plays After UF’s opening TD drive, the Gators final five possessions of the half resulted in 42 yards on 23 plays. The Bulldogs collected four sacks in the first half after coming in with 12 for the year.
-Sophomore LB Jalon Walker forced a sack/fumble, only the second forced fumble by the Bulldogs this year. Junior Jamon Dumas-Johnson notched a sack to give him a team-leading 3.5.
-Sophomore Marvin Jones, Jr. collected the first fumble recovery of the season for the Bulldogs.
-Redshirt sophomore Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins caused the fumble, just the third by the Bulldogs this season.
-Junior Javon Bullard a team-high seven tackles, senior Tykee Smith had six while junior Smael Mondon had five tackles including 2 TFL.
-In the first half, UF had 22 rushing yards on 14 attempts for a 1.6 average and finished the game.
-UF’s lone TD in the second half came in the 4th quarter after trailing 36-7. It covered 75 yards on six plays in 2:49 and made it 36-13.
-Special Teams picked up a safety to cap a run of 26 unanswered points by the Bulldogs in the first half. The Bulldogs now have scored 108 points on 16 TDs and six safeties in the Kirby Smart era. It was the 30th score by either the defense or special teams under Smart. Georgia is now 27-1 when they register a non-offensive score score in the Smart era.
-Sophomore P Brett Thorson had three pooch punts for a 35.7 average including placing all three inside the 20.
*Blocked Punt/Safety: Georgia registered a safety on a blocked punt by freshman Joenel Aguero. It was the first blocked punt by the Bulldogs since Jalon Walker versus Kent State in 2022 that resulted in a safety. It was the first safety since that day against KSU too.
*Woodring Tallies 11 Points: Freshman PK Peyton Woodring hit a 22- and a 32-yard field goal plus was 5-for-5 on PATs for 11 points. He is now 14-for-17 in field goals on the year.
*Captains, Coin Toss and For Starters: Senior Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint (WR) plus juniors Sedrick Van Pran (C), Javon Bullard (S) and Jamon Dumas-Johnson (ILB) served as the game captains. Georgia won the toss and elected to defer the ball until the second half. Van Pran made his team-leading 38th career start. There were no first-time starters. Redshirt sophomore DL Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins saw his first action since being injured in the opener.
*Honoring #77 Devin Willock: Junior Sedrick Van Pran (C), normally #63, wore #77 today in honor of his late teammate Devin Willock. A different Bulldog offensive lineman will be wearing #77 each game this season.
*Up Next: Top-ranked Georgia (8-0, 5-0 SEC) plays host to No. 16 Missouri (7-1, 3-1 SEC) Saturday, Nov. 4 at 3:30 p.m. (CBS). The Tigers had an open date today with their lone loss a 49-39 decision to No. 23 LSU in Columbia on Oct. 7.