Georgia vs. Florida score, takeaways: No. 1 Dawgs rout Gators thanks to wild flurry of turnovers, scores

No. 1 Georgia throttled Florida 34-7 in a critical SEC East showdown as the blood rivals met in their annual neutral-site showdown in Jacksonville. The Bulldogs scored 21 points off of three Gators turnovers in the final 2:35 of the first half, transforming a meager 3-0 advantage into a rousing 24-0 lead entering halftime. At that point, the Dawgs put their game into cruise control. 

Stetson Bennett IV got the start under center for Georgia ahead of JT Daniels, who missed his fourth straight game with a lat injury. Bennett went 10 of 19 for 161 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. It wasn't the most impressive offensive performance, but he didn't need to do much after that three-touchdown barrage. 

Georgia actually lost the total yardage battle to Florida 355-354, but that stat is wildly deceiving given the Dawgs had this thing on ice at halftime. The Gators just could not get anything going offensively, and even when they did, they would miss field goals (0 of 2) or fail to convert fourth downs late.

Redshirt freshman QB Anthony Richardson got his first career start ahead of Emory Jones but simply couldn't get comfortable. He was 12 of 20 for 82 yards with two interceptions (including a pick six), adding 26 yards rushing on 12 carries. Richardson has the skills to be a star on the ground, but UGA's speed was too much too soon for the electric dual-threat weapon. 

Georgia improves to 8-0 (6-0 SEC) on the season, while Florida falls to 4-4 (2-4 SEC) with losses in four of its last six games.

Here are the top takeaways from Saturday's beatdown in Jacksonville:

Attack like a snake

The story of this game came in a wild span of less than 3 minutes to end the first half; it perfectly encapsulated exactly what this Georgia defense is all about. Linebacker Nakobe Dean intercepted Richardson for a 50-yard pick six with 7 seconds to go in the first half, bumping UGA's lead to 24-0. It was the last big play in what was a wild close to the first half for the Bulldogs. In reverse order, LB Nolan Smith picked Richardson on the 40-yard line with 1:35 to play, and Bennett found Kearis Jackson for a 36-yard touchdown on the next play. That came 41 seconds after Smith stripped Richardson at the Florida 11-yard line with 2:11 to play while Richardson was pushing for extra yards. The Bulldogs took over, and running back James Cook punched it in on the first offensive play to make it a double-digit game. 

Georgia took 2:09 seconds to turn a 3-0 game upside down and essentially stick a fork in the Gators. This is what Georgia's defense can do: turn a game on its side in the drop of a hat and simply demoralize the opposition. It's what allows Georgia's offense to be conservative when it's appropriate ... and it's almost always appropriate.

Defense doesn't win championships anymore, "just enough" defense does. That's a moving target based on a lot of factors, including the ability to play complimentary football. The Dawgs offense is effective because the defense always has the ability to flip the script quickly. It did just that on Saturday.

Dan Mullen's quarterback issues continue

When Richardson trotted out to take the first snap of the game, it appeared that Florida's quarterback controversy had been cleared up. That's not the case anymore. Richardson's aforementioned three turnovers were enough to create some doubt that he was ready for the spotlight. Then he got injured early in the third quarter, and Emory Jones filled in well enough to at least make Mullen think about who takes the snaps next week at South Carolina. 

Jones was 10 of 14 for 112 yards through the air with 22 rushing yards and one touchdown on the ground. Granted, most of that was when the game was out of reach, but he did come in and provide at least a minor spark, which can't be said for pretty much anything else associated with the Gators. 

Mullen is widely regarded as a great quarterback developer. It might be time to choose one and just go with it now that this is a lost season.

Bennett may be good enough

Can we stop doubting Bennett now? All the dude has done is fought his tail off, earned the spotlight and developed into an effective downfield threat who also has plenty of ability on the ground to make opposing defensive coordinators' heads spin. He averaged 8.5 yards per pass on Saturday and came in averaging 12.1 yards per attempt. Those are just filthy numbers, especially for a guy who isn't regarded as a major downfield threat. 

The question now becomes whether coach Kirby Smart actually makes a change. Daniels didn't play Saturday, but he is getting closer to being game-ready. When that happens, Smart has to keep Bennett in the lineup, especially if they both can play next week against Missouri. The Tigers don't play a lick of defense and will provide a perfect opportunity for the two to settle it on the field.

Things are rolling with Bennett, though. It'll take a Herculean effort for Daniels to unseat him. That's the culture of competition that Smart likes to have within his program, and it will make the entire team better in the long run.

Rashad Torrence is a star

There was a bright spot for the Gators … and he shined very bright. Safety Rashad Torrence II had quite the afternoon on the banks of the St. John's River. The sophomore defensive back had eight tackles, two interceptions and one fumble recovery for Florida. He was straight up flying all over the field.

Torrence almost single-handedly gave Florida the few chances it had to make this a competitive football game. Obviously, that didn't happen with his team only converting one of those turnovers -- the last one late in the fourth quarter -- into points. Hey, at least the Gators preserved their NCAA-record streak of 418 consecutive games without suffering a shut out. 

This performance from Torrence comes on the back of a career-high 15-tackle effort a few weeks ago against Vanderbilt. If you're looking for the next star for what used to be DBU in Gainesville, Florida, well, Torrence is it.

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SAT 3:30 P
FLA +14, o50.5
FLA 14, O/U 50.5

Season Leaders

passing
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S. Bennett2859 YD, 29 TDS, 7 INTS
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S. Bennett2859 YD, 29 TDS, 7 INTS
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E. Jones2734 YD, 19 TDS, 13 INTS
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E. Jones2734 YD, 19 TDS, 13 INTS
rushing
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Z. White160 ATT, 856 YD, 11 TDS
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Z. White160 ATT, 856 YD, 11 TDS
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E. Jones143 ATT, 758 YD, 4 TDS
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E. Jones143 ATT, 758 YD, 4 TDS
receiving
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B. Bowers56 REC, 882 YD, 13 TDS
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B. Bowers56 REC, 882 YD, 13 TDS
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J. Copeland41 REC, 642 YD, 4 TDS
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J. Copeland41 REC, 642 YD, 4 TDS
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@SEConCBS via Twitter
October 30, 2021, 10:52 PM
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Anthony Richardson in the locker room

CBS Sports reporter Jamie Erdahl said on the television broadcast that the starting quarterback of the Gators is in the locker room with trainers after suffering an injury early in the third quarter. There is no word on what the injury actually is, but he got hit hard and appeared to suffer either a head or shoulder injury. So, from here on out, it appears to be Emory Jones' show. 

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The shutout remains intact

Florida drove all of the way down to the 5-yard line on the heels of quarterback Emory Jones, who came in for starter Anthony Richardson who headed into the injury tent. But Jace Christmann pulled a 23-yard field goal wide left -- his second missed field goal of the day -- to keep the Gators off of the scoreboard. Coach Dan Mullen's decision to attempt to settle for three instead of going for it in a game that is on the brink of getting sideways will be a hot topic in Gainesville this week.

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Florida gets a break

The Gators haven't caught many breaks on Saturday, but got a big one early in the third quarter. Officials ruled that Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh fumbled and recovered by Rashad Torrence on the Georgia 44-yard line to set Florida up in good shape for its second possession of the second half. Needless to say, Florida has to cash this in. It's the best opportunity it's had all day, and coach Dan Mullen can't count on his offense consistently moving the ball against the Bulldogs defense.

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@GeorgiaFootball via Twitter
October 30, 2021, 9:32 PM
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Georgia's defense comes up big again

Well, it's safe to say that things are falling apart a bit at the end of the half for Florida. Anthony Richardson's pass was tipped and intercepted at the 40-yard line by Nolan Smith with 1:43 to play for the second turnover in under one minute. Stetson Bennett IV hit Kearis Jackson for a 36-yard touchdown on the very next play to turn this one sideways. The middle 10 minutes -- final five minutes of the first half and first five of the second half -- are arguably the most important of any football game. Georgia has flat out dominated that portion so far.

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@GeorgiaFootball via Twitter
October 30, 2021, 8:56 PM
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