No. 3 Georgia and Florida met up in Jacksonville for their annual Cocktail Party. The Gators were sent home early, while the folks in red and black will party their way back to Athens. The Bulldogs knocked out the Gators in the first half of the first quarter and cruised from there, taking home a 42-7 victory, the program’s largest over Florida since a 44-0 whipping in 1982.
Georgia opened the game by pushing Florida nine yards backward in a three-and-out, then scored in four plays, keyed by a 39-yard pass from Jake Fromm to D’Andre Swift. Playing in what seems like his 11th Cocktail Party, Nick Chubb punched in the opening score from six yards out.
Feleipe Franks was intercepted on Florida’s next possession, and Fromm capitalized by hitting Javon Wimms for a 17-yard touchdown strike.
Georgia forced another three-and-out on Florida’s next possession, and Sony Michel, also playing in his 11th Cocktail Party, got in on the fun with a 74-yard touchdown run on the first play of Georgia’s third possession.
Michel’s run made the score 21-0 Georgia — at the 7:32 mark of the first quarter.
The score remained there until the middle of the third quarter, when Michel again busted free, this time for a 45-yard score. Georgia pushed the lead to 35 on the ensuing possession when J.R. Reed sacked Franks, forced a fumble in that sack and then returned that sack for a touchdown.
After another long completion from Fromm to Swift, Elijah Holyfield added a capper on a 39-yard burst. Chubb and Michel combined to rush 19 times for 214 yards and three touchdowns, and Holyfield added 49 yards and a score on four carries.
Franks’s first Cocktail Party went decidedly different than Fromm’s. He hit 7-of-19 passes for 30 yards with an interception and was credited as the Gators’ leading ball-carrier with nine attempts for minus-15 yards. Malik Zaire entered the game in mop up duty and got the Gators on the board, rushing and passing for 66 yards on a 71-yard drive that culminated in a 1-yard Mark Thompson touchdown plunge with 2:42 remaining, narrowly avoiding Florida’s first shutout since 1988.
Georgia (8-0, 5-0 SEC) can clinch the SEC East if Tennessee beats Kentucky later tonight and the Bulldogs best South Carolina in Athens next week. Florida (3-4, 3-3 SEC) will need to win three of its final five games to reach a bowl game. Oh, and Florida AD Scott Stricklin is reportedly exploring firing Jim McElwain with cause over his death threats claim last week.