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Florida 27, Georgia 3: Gators devour Dawgs with running game, predatory defense

The Gators have been working on their masterpiece. And the restoration is proceeding apace.

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

For the second straight year, Florida scored a dominant win over Georgia.

More importantly: For the first time since 2009, the Gators survived their game against Georgia with their chances of winning the SEC East entirely intact.

That's what the Gators' 27-3 win over the Dawgs guarantees. That's the picture Florida painted in broad, bright strokes on Saturday.

It wasn't always pretty, especially early on: Treon Harris struggled mightily in the first quarter, and the Gators didn't get going on offense until the second quarter, despite a gift of a special teams touchdown on a muffed punt by Reggie Davis that Nick Washington smothered in the end zone. But when they did get going — on a Harris heave to Antonio Callaway, who now has more 100-yard games than any other true freshman in Florida history, and on tough runs by Kelvin Taylor, who topped 100 yards against Georgia for the second straight year — it looked more like a masterpiece.

That's one of the talents of this team, which preyed on Georgia's Faton Bauta, intercepting four of his passes: It makes ugly look good. And that's something new to this group of Gators under Jim McElwain; even Will Muschamp's best wins were somewhat less satisfying than this one, with offensive woes that lasted more than a quarter or crippling mistakes here and there.

On this day, those errors were limited to errant strokes on the canvas: Harris being painfully inaccurate early, Austin Hardin missing a field goal, an extra point getting blocked, a Harris fumble setting up Georgia's lone scoring drive of the day.

Through it all, the big picture stayed the same.

With one more win, against either Vanderbilt or South Carolina, Florida's going to be able to practice its art in Atlanta. With a few more, the Gators might take their unusual installation on tour.

The restoration is progressing quite nicely.