Jay Rome

Associated Press

Florida chomping Georgia through one half in Jacksonville

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Faton Bauta has failed to spark Georgia in his first start, and his Bulldogs trail No. 11 Florida 20-0 at the half in Jacksonville.

Florida opened the scoring thanks to the generosity of Georgia punt returner Reggie Davis. Retreating to his own five to receive a punt from Florida’s Johnny Townsend, Davis muffed it and Nick Washington recovered the ball for the Gators inside Georgia’s end zone. The ensuing PAT was blocked. (Oddly enough, the score came with time expired in the first quarter, meaning there will be kickoffs to open the first, second and third quarters.)

Georgia’s offense, so inept for most of the half, missed spectacularly on its one chance to score in the half. Jump-started by a 37-yard kickoff return, the Bulldogs moved to a 3rd-and-1 at the Florida 36 when Bauta missed a wide open Jay Rome with room to run. Mark Richt elected to go for it on fourth down, and Sony Michel was hounded for a loss of three yards.

Treon Harris, who had hit only two of his 11 throws to that point, broke the game open with a 66-yard catch-and-run score to Antonio Calloway with 5:06 to go before the break. Vernon Hargreaves III snared a tipped interception on Georgia’s next possession, and Kelvin Taylor rushed in from the three two plays later.

Bauta completed 9-of-17 throws for 79 yards with two interceptions, and Georgia’s ground game has produced only 15 yards on 11 attempts.

Harris meanwhile, has connected on only 3-of-12 throws, but gained 97 yards with a touchdown among those completions, and Taylor has carried 16 times for 91 yards and a score.

Overall, Florida out-gained Georgia 212-94 while allowing only four first downs.

Georgia will receive to open the second half.