In the second quarter, for the first time in two years, Florida allowed a touchdown in The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. Wunderkind freshman Jacob Eason evaded pressure multiple times and hit receivers for big gainers, including a touchdown pass, and the Bulldogs led, 10-7, after the extra point.
The rest of the game, before and after, was more typical of Florida-Georgia over the last three years: Florida’s dominant defense throttling the Dawgs’ attack, and the Gators offense — led by their running game, and more workmanlike than wowing — doing enough to win by a comfortable margin in an aesthetically unpleasant contest.
This 24-10 win was just better than perfunctory. Florida’s defense gummed up a Nick Chubb-led run game (19 carries, 21 yards) and a ravenous pass rush tore after Eason all game, limiting him to just 15 completions on 33 attempts for a measly 143 yards. If not for Luke Del Rio (15-for-25, 131 yards, one touchdown, one pick) tossing a terrible interception on Florida’s first drive and coverage busts on its only touchdown drive, Georgia wouldn’t have even crossed the Florida 40.
That isn’t much of a testament to Florida’s offense, which relied on Jordan Scarlett (26 carries, 93 yards, one touchdown) and Lamical Perine (15 carries, 33 yards) to hammer between the tackles, and tried to minimize what Del Rio — skittish again, in his second game back from injury — had to do. C’yontai Lewis had a brilliant drive to answer Georgia’s field goal, with a sideline catch for the ages and a catch-and-run score on third down, and Antonio Callaway stabbed the Bulldogs with a short rushing touchdown rather than a long receiving one this year.
But Florida’s offense didn’t have to do much to back up its defense. It hasn’t had to in the last three years against the Dawgs.
The Cocktail Party may not be a high-society shindig right now. And yet: As long as Florida keeps downing Georgia, it won’t matter that much if the game looks drunk.