Instant Analysis: Comeback falls short
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It never became as ugly as it looked like it had the potential to be, but the truth will still sting for the Gators. Florida (4-4, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) lost 23-20 Saturday to Georgia (5-3, 4-2 SEC), the Gators' third consecutive loss in the series. Instant Analysis takes a look.
IT WAS OVER WHEN: Florida's defense broke again. Georgia had to be stopped for the Gators to have a chance to topple the Bulldogs' three-point lead with 9:41 remaining in the fourth quarter. Georgia never gave Florida a chance, driving 69 yards and milking the clock until the game's conclusion.
HE STOLE THE SHOW: Sophomore running back Todd Gurley returned from a high ankle sprain for his first action since September. He had plenty built up in the tank after missing three-and-a-half games. Gurley powered his way to 100 yards on 17 carries, including a touchdown. He also had three catches for 87 yards and another score. Fiery and full of fight from the stop, Gurley turned a month off into controlled aggression, and the Gators were often his victim.
THE STAT DOESN'T LIE: Linebacker Michael Taylor guaranteed during the week the Gators would never allow another team to gain 500 yards on them again the way Missouri did in Florida's last time out. He might have been right, but it was close. Georgia stormed through an uninterested UF defense for 259 yards and 17 points on 21 plays in the first quarter. From there, the Gators held their own, only allowing the Bulldogs 100 more yards before their game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The final tally was 416 yards.
WHAT A PLAY: Sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison's latest mistake was his most costly. Morrison showed blitz on a third and six play, only to fail to recover when Gurley eased past him untouched and found open field. Morrison's man was off to the races, turning an Aaron Murray screen pass into a 73-yard touchdown. Gurley put a move on safety Cody Riggs and then outran cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III for the score.
THIS MATCHUP PROVED KEY: Florida's linebacker play rebounded in the second half to a certain extent, but the hole had already been dug too deep. Morrison and Taylor once again had an afternoon of missed assignments and shoddy tackling. Each was run through on back-to-back plays on Gurley's first two runs of the day, which resulted in 30 yards and a touchdown.