There was no secret to what Georgia wanted to do. Florida simply couldn’t stop it.
Led by running back Sony Michel, Georgia totaled 293 rushing yards in what turned out to be a 42-7 rout over a hapless Florida team mired in turmoil. Michel only needed six carries to total 137 yards for the game.
Up 14-0 and at the Georgia 26-yard line, Michel took a handoff and found a lane through the left side of the formation and came loose untouched down the sideline. Michel was caught just outside of the end zone but was still able to punch the ball in for a score.
A year ago, Georgia struggled mightily to run the ball in a loss. Now, the Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0 SEC) are undefeated and at the top of the SEC East. The run game has become one of the nation’s best, with Michel and running back Nick Chubb carrying the majority of the load.
Michel came back in the third quarter to put the Bulldogs up 28-0 with a 45-yard touchdown run. Chubb also totaled 13 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown, which was Georgia’s first score of the game in the first quarter.
Georgia jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, which turned into the score at the half.
The Gators (3-4, 3-3) were unable to muster much of anything offensively. On top of that, an ESPN report emerged during the second half that stated Florida is looking for a way to fire head coach Jim McElwain with cause and not pay his $12.9 million buyout. This stems over comments McElwain made during the week about receiving death threats that Florida believes may be unsubstantiated.
Four who mattered
Michel: Michel was electric in his final Georgia-Florida game, totaling the two big plays against the Florida front. Michel ended up averaging 22.8 yards per run.
Georgia safety Dominick Sanders: In the first quarter, Sanders picked off a pass, which was the 15th of his career. Sanders is now one interception away from tying the program record, which is held by both Jake Scott and Bacarri Rambo.
Georgia safety J.R. Reed: Reed gave Georgia its fifth touchdown of the game following a sack he and Tyrique McGhee shared. Reed then picked up the fumble and ran it in for a 3-yard touchdown.
Florida running back Lamical Perine: Perine was the lone Gator to put together a good offensive performance. Down 21-0 in the second quarter, Florida started feeding Perine the ball, with the shifty runner hitting some plays up the middle and on the edge. He finished with 16 carries for 93 yards.
It seemed like Michel sealed the deal when he scored his 74-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He put the nail in the coffin with the 45-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Fromm not asked to do much: If needed, Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm would have probably been asked to throw the ball and make some plays against Florida’s secondary. But with Georgia’s ability to run the ball, Fromm stayed busy handing it off to the talented stable of backs. This turned out to 272 more than last year’s total of 21. Fromm ended the game 4-of-7 throwing for 101 yards, a score and an interception. His touchdown was a perfectly thrown ball to Javon Wims from 17-yards out.
Sack party: Georgia applied pressure on Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks all game. In total, the Bulldogs recorded five sacks. Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter and defensive lineman Julian Rochester each had a sack. Reed, McGhee, outside linebacker Davin Bellamy, defensive tackle Tyler Clark, outside linebacker D’Andre Walker and outside linebacker Walter Grant all shared sacks.
No fly zone: While Perine was the only positive takeaway from Florida’s offense, the Georgia secondary shut down the Gators through the air. Franks could rarely find anyone open and was pressured quite a bit into rolling out. Franks finished the game 7-of-19 throwing for 30 yards and an interception.
Shutout avoided: With Florida scoring a touchdown with 2:42 to go in the fourth quarter, its streak of not being shut out since 1988 stays alive. That streak was in doubt until running back Mark Thompson was able to score late in the game.
35 years later: This win marked the first time in 35 years that Georgia recorded a win over the Gators while undefeated. In that game in 1982, the Bulldogs won 44-0.
Almost a career long: Michel’s 74-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was only one yard off the longest run he has had in his career. As a freshman in 2014, Michel had a 75-yard run against Troy.
Georgia will return to Sanford Stadium and face South Carolina at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday.