At this point, Georgia had not fired. Running back Zamir White scored 75 yards in the game’s opening play, but the offense struggled to start after that. Quarterback Stetson Bennett IV, who briefly left the game late in the first half with a shoulder injury, finished 5 for 16 for 78 yards, a touchdown and an interception before being made shoot in the middle of the third quarter in favor of D’Wan Mathis. . He didn’t do much better as Mathis finished 4 of 13 for 34 yards with one touchdown and two picks.
The win pushes Florida to 4-1 on the year, while Georgia drops to 4-2 after being chosen to win the SEC East in the SEC media poll.
Here are four things to remember when the Gators beat the Dawgs for the first time since 2016.
Is Kyle Trask This Year’s Joe Burrow? You bet
Trask is expected to be the Heisman Trophy favorite. I said it. The college football world has focused on Justin Fields of Georgia, Trevor Lawrence of Clemson and Mac Jones of Alabama in the Heisman race, but it’s time for Trask not only to get into that conversation, but to become the life of the party.
Trask became the first player in SEC history to throw 4+ touchdowns in five straight games on Saturday, and he posted the best single-game passing performance of any Florida player against Georgia. He joined Rex Grossman (2001) and Danny Wuerffel (1996) as the only Gators to have multiple 400-yard passing games in the same season. Quite a few company, a former Heisman winner and a former Heisman finalist.
Burrow, the former LSU quarterback and 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, totaled 1,864 passing yards and 22 touchdown passes in the first five games of last season. Trask has 1,815 yards and 22 touchdowns. The Heisman is at stake in Trask.
Georgia aren’t title caliber, but it’s not all their fault
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were faced with a series of unexpected circumstances. The Dawgs not claiming the title may seem obvious given how this game has gone, but they have simply revealed what Georgia has always been – a paper tiger. He came this season with Mathis under center, went to Bennett when Mathis struggled and didn’t even consider the USC JT Daniels transfer. It doesn’t matter who takes the shots… the downline pass attack is nonexistent as other teams force Georgia out of their comfort zone. That’s what Alabama did last month, and that’s what Florida did on Saturday afternoon.
Is it on the Kirby Smart trainer? May be. He is known as an ultra-conservative coach who has not made the leap to join the new era of college football offense. But he hired offensive coordinator Todd Monken to open things up and lured former Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman to Athens. But when Newman retired, it was over for Georgia. Mathis and Bennett are struggling as passer and there must be something wrong with Daniels as he can’t smell the pitch.
It might have been different if Newman stayed. The key word being “might” because we still don’t know if Smart really got married to the idea of opening things up.
Florida defense is fine
This is the second week in a row that the Gators defense appears to have fixed the problem. Georgia managed to score just 2 of 13 on Saturday, though both managed touchdowns. Granted, Dawgs’ offense as a whole was a giant mess, but this is the second game in a row the Florida defense showed when it mattered most. The Gators held Missouri 3-of-15 in the third downs for the win last week.
Florida’s “best” third-down performance before last week was in Week 2 against South Carolina when the Gamecocks converted 6 of 17. The defense is no longer winning any championships. Fair enough defense does. Florida had more than enough on Saturday, and it seems like the start of a trend.
Dan Mullen won his victory
It was Mullen’s first win over Georgia since taking the Florida job in 2018, and it was a win he badly needed. The Bulldogs entered it beaten up, bruised, and barely able to reconstruct an attack. If not now for Mullen, when? He had to have it… and he did it brilliantly. Mullen made the New Years Six Bowls in each of his first two seasons at the helm. That’s good, but that’s not what he’s here for. He was hired to win national championships, and that’s exactly what is within his reach after dominating Georgia.
Is this Florida team ready to beat Alabama in the SEC Championship game? It remains to be seen. But if it comes down to the Gators and Crimson Tide in Atlanta, it won’t be a two-way blowout.