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Gurley’s return helps Georgia hold off Florida

Florida v Georgia Getty Images

Tailback Todd Gurley returned from injury to lead Georgia in both rushing and receiving as the Bulldogs (5-3) held on to beat rival Florida (4-4), 23-20, in Jacksonville on Saturday.

Gurley, out since late September with a high ankle sprain, totaled 122 yards and two touchdowns on his first five touches to help spark the Bulldogs to a 23-3 halftime lead. He finished with 100 rushing yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and also added 87 yards and a score on three catches.

Aaron Murray joined Buck Belue and Johnny Rauch as the only Bulldog quarterbacks to beat Florida three times. The senior went 16 of 25 for 258 yards and one touchdown as he completed passes to seven different receivers.

What looked like a possible blowout in the early going turned into a nailbiter, as the Gators owned the second half.

A key sequence in the third quarter helped Florida on its comeback. After Austin Hardin missed a 47-yard field goal, Murray’s lateral was muffed by Arthur Lynch (who seemed to think it was a forward pass) and Leon Orr pounced on the ball for the Gators and returned it to the Georgia 13-yard line. A review upheld the call and Mack Brown punched it in for a touchdown two plays later to make the score 23-10 with a little under seven minutes to play in the third.

The teams then traded punts after ineffective possessions, only Florida’s punt pinned the Bulldogs down on their own three yard line. That’s when Louchiez Purifoy sacked Murray on a corner blitz for a safety to make the score 23-12 with the third quarter winding down.

Georgia free kicked it and the Gators took over on their own 50 and drove in for a touchdown in five plays, with Tyler Murphy‘s 14-yard TD run being the capper. Murphy found tight end Clay Burton for the two point conversion and, suddenly, UGA’s lead was just 23-20. The roof seemed to cave in for the Bulldogs when Gurley was stopped on fourth and one from the UGA 39 yard line on its next possession.

But while Florida got the ball back in good field position, Neiron Ball‘s personal foul penalty pushed it back to its own 46. The Gators advanced as far as the UGA 41, but Corey Moore sacked Murphy for a loss of 14 yards on third and 12 and Florida was forced to punt.

Georgia then took over on its own 17-yard line with 8:17 to play. It held the ball the rest of the way, running 15 plays while benefitting from another ill-timed Florida penalty that kept the drive alive. Game over.

This was a hard-fought, physical battle that got fairly sloppy at times.  The Bulldogs won the first half, the Gators won the second and, in the end, the better team won.

Could this be the beginning of the end for Will Muschamp at Florida? The third year coach is now 22-12 overall, but Ron Zook was fired for going 23-14 in his three seasons in Gainesville. With games against South Carolina, Georgia Southern and Florida State left to play, do the math. Muschamp and Zook might end up having a lot more in common than a blustery sideline demeanor.

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9 Responses to “Gurley’s return helps Georgia hold off Florida”
  1. sweepthleg says: Nov 2, 2013 8:10 PM

    Muschamp is my favorite UF coach in 20 years may he forever reign. He’s the favorite is the AD he will get 1 more season to turn it around. Todd Gurley is freaking amazing and if he was back for the Vandy & Mizzou games UGA would only have 1 loss. Mike Bobo and Todd Granthan need to be fire they are the definition of mediocre.

  2. brutusbuckeye2011 says: Nov 2, 2013 9:21 PM

    Muschamp won’t be fired. The Florida fans know that it’s Urban’s fault.

  3. miamifishfan says: Nov 2, 2013 9:44 PM

    Bad comparison. Zook was viewed as a loose cannon who was way in over his head. And oh yeah, that whole 11-1 Sugar Bowl thing

  4. i10east says: Nov 2, 2013 9:59 PM

    The Gators at .500 LOL

  5. overratedgators says: Nov 2, 2013 10:24 PM

    Hey Gators: maybe if you stand on your tippy toes and grab some binoculars, you’ll at least be able to SEE the BCS rankings from where you are.

  6. gatorjet says: Nov 3, 2013 12:40 AM

    Funny no mention of Gurley throwing a punch- videos all over internet

  7. luxinterior78 says: Nov 3, 2013 1:14 AM

    Troll Alert!
    At least one relevant Florida team won today. 3X winner today, FU (yes, I know it is UF) lost, Miami lost, and Noles won. Guess that makes it 4X since FSU, unlike FU, could beat them. More like the Miami Breeze, for FSU anyways.

    Attention civic leaders of Gainesville: You need to contact the attorneys you have on staff and they must get ahold of their colleagues at ABC. Video of the 1st half of the FSU/Clemson game alone should be the evidence you need to present to your Mayor for him to ask for assistance from the Governor. On NOV 30th FSU is going to Gainesville. You will need monetary assistance to rebuild your old broken down stadium. It is already a dump and might actually spontaneously combust to save itself from witnessing the onslaught your mighty gators will fall victim to. You will need a team of psycological and psychiatric professionals on hand. I just dont think your team will be the same after being dismantled by a redshirt freshman, a guy who two years ago broke his back and was told he would never play football again, and Jack Nicklaus’s grandson. Those would be J. Winston, of course, RB James Wilder Jr, and TE Nick O’Leary respectively. The Governor also needs to activate the Florida National Guard units ASAP. Those weekend warriors (I was active duty, 1st Armored Division, 15months in Iraq) will need all the training they can get to even HOPE to contain what FSU is gonna bring to your town. Too bad its already too late to call FEMA. The Hurricanes blew ya’ll up several weeks ago.

  8. wabbitslayer says: Nov 3, 2013 7:53 AM

    UGA gets a first down due and clinches the win due to a UF personal foul. Abolutely freakin’ hilarious. Best ending to a game EVER.

    Glad to see that the refs, after all these years, have finally gotten as sick and tired as the rest of the SEC of UF’s continual dead-ball pushing, shoving and trash talking.

    Cannot wait to see the ‘noles FLATTEN them.

  9. cometkazie says: Nov 3, 2013 12:00 PM

    Loved the game. The other guy gets the ball trailing by 3 mid-way in the 4th.

    Stop them cold and use up the rest of the time marching down the field.

    So much better than the shoot-outs.

    I got the impression the refs didn’t want to throw so many flags but the penalties were so obvious. UF or FU, as the case may be, needs to work on a lot of things, discipline being one of them.

    I just wish I knew what the UGa QB and FU #55 were talking about after the game. It looked like an interesting conversation.

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