Georgia vs. Florida score: No. 7 Bulldogs pull away late looking to take control of SEC East
The No. 9 Gators put up a fight, but ultimately they were not deep enough to outlast the Dawgs
No. 7 Georgia outlasted No. 9 Florida 36-17 on Saturday afternoon in a game that gave Georgia another year of bragging rights, a big win in its SEC East battle and hope in the College Football Playoff race after it fell to LSU two weeks ago. Quarterback Jake Fromm went 17-of-24 passing for 240 yards and three touchdowns, the running backs combined for 189 yards on the ground, and the Dawgs defense held strong against a Gators offense that couldn't put together consistent drives late in the game.
Florida QB Feleipe Franks turned the ball over twice -- once on UF's 1-yard line -- while completing 13-of-21 passes for 105 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Gators moved the ball well early but ultimately managed just 270 yards and went 4-of-12 on third downs. Georgia jumped to 7-1 (5-1 SEC) with the win, and Florida fell to 6-2 (4-2 SEC) with the loss. With No. 12 Kentucky shocking Missouri on an untimed touchdown to walk off with a win, the SEC East will be decided on Nov. 3 in Lexington when Kentucky hosts Georgia on the SEC on CBS.
What did we learn from Georgia's big win in one of the fiercest rivalries in college football?
1. Fromm can rebound: Fromm's miserable performance on the road two weeks ago was the first bad game he's had in the red and black. He showed Saturday afternoon that his troubles vs. the Tigers was the anomaly, not the start of a trend. His third-quarter touchdown pass to Jeremiah Holloman to push the lead to 20-14 was the same back shoulder toss down the sideline that he had success with toward the end of last season's SEC title run. He followed that up with a dime across the field to Terry Godwin for a 24-yard touchdown that capped off a nine-play drive that essentially iced the game away.
All three of his touchdown passes were on third down, and Georgia's two other scores were as well. Fromm was clutch, and his team followed suit. This is the Fromm that nearly won the national title last year. This was the Fromm who wasn't intimidated by anything despite being thrust in the action in the first quarter of his first game as a true freshman. This is the Fromm who had a little heat on his backside during the bye week in the form of true freshman dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields. He doesn't care. He gets the job done. He got it done when Georgia needed it most against the Gators.
2. Franks is improving, but he isn't there yet: The redshirt sophomore signal-caller for the Gators has been hit-or-miss during his year-and-a-half as the starter, and the same moniker can be used to describe his performance Saturday. He missed a few huge first half throws -- one on an overthrown flea-flicker on the first play from scrimmage and another on a post in the second quarter that was under-thrown and nearly picked off. He didn't panic and hit Freddie Swain on a 36-yard touchdown on the same post route on the first drive of the second half.
This is what Franks is for now. He has improved from his redshirt freshman season, which was complicated by the mess created by former coach Jim McElwain. Franks' former coach saw potential in him, and it's been a slow progression for a player who was admittedly raw coming out of Crawfordville, Florida. New coach Dan Mullen is still working with Franks, and there has been progress. Not enough to make Florida a contender this year but hope that it could happen next year and beyond.
3. The SEC East is cleared up: Florida's head-to-head losses to Georgia and Kentucky -- the two contenders for the division -- clear everything up. The Wildcats beat Missouri on a game-ending untimed touchdown to keep them atop the SEC East with Georgia. Because of that, the SEC East comes down to one game in Lexington, Kentucky on Nov. 3.
It's hard to believe that Kentucky vs. Georgia will be the game that decides the SEC East race, but it will do just that. Georgia's win over Florida has set up one of the biggest games in Kentucky football history. Georgia proved that it can get off the mat for a big game against the Gators, but it can't let the high from the rivalry win turn into a bluegrass hangover.
4. Fields is going to have a decision to make: The buzz around Georgia after the loss to LSU two weeks ago wasn't "if" Fields was going to see more playing time under center, but "when." Coach Kirby Smart made it clear with his trust in Fromm to take every snap against the Gators and his postgame comments praising his sophomore that this is Fromm's team from here on out. So what does that mean for Fields?
His inexplicable absence from the LSU loss coupled with his time as a helmet holder on the sideline against Florida can't sit well for a player who was the second-ranked player in the entire country in the Class of 2018. The possibility of a redshirt is a distant memory and Fromm now entrenched, will Fields become one of the most sought-after transfer quarterbacks in college football in the near future? It looks like it's more of a possibility now than it did going into the Florida game.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with the latest scores, highlights and analysis from Georgia vs. Florida. If you are unable to view the updates below, please click here.
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