JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The no. 1 Georgia Bulldogs (7-0, 5-0 SEC) lead the Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) 24-0 on a neutral turf and in front of a CBS nationally televised audience.
The defense has been nothing short of dominate for the Bulldog’s as they have helped extend the lead from 3-0 to 24-0 in just a 3-minute span thanks to a fumble recovery and 2 interceptions including a pick-6. Nakobe Dean leads the way for the Bulldog defense with 6 tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown to help hold the Gator offense scoreless at the half for the first time this season. Nolan Smith also added an interception and fumble recovery.
Stetson Bennett finished the half 8-for-14 for 121 passing yards with a touchdown and an interception. Zamir White added 46 rushing yards on just 7 attempts. Kearis Jackson led all receivers with 59-yards as most of his yards came on his 36-yard touchdown reception.
The Bulldogs received the ball first and quickly marched down to the Gator 19-yard line following a successful mix of rushes and short passes. The Bulldog’s drive was cut short following an intentional grounding on third and 1 and kicker Jack Podlesny was then called on for a 46-yard field goal which missed wide-right. This would be Jack’s fourth missed kick on the season.
After both teams’ trade punts, Florida gets their first scoring chance of the day following an 8-play, 35-yard drive that stalls at the Georgia 33-yard line. Florida kicker Jace Christmann misses the 51-yard attempt giving the Georgia the ball back to start the second quarter.
Georgia gets the first points of the game on their first drive of the second quarter after kicker Jack Podlesny nails a 21-yard field goal. The Bulldogs drove it inside the Gator 5-yard line on the 11-play, 63-yard drive following rushes of over 10-yards by junior running back Zamir White and quarterback Stetson Bennett.
Florida answers the Bulldog scoring drive with multiple big rushes of their own getting as deep as the UGA-31. The Georgia defense responds with a big sack and forcing a fourth down incompletion to give the Bulldog offense the ball back with just over 3 minutes remaining in the half.
After a 32-yard completion to tight end Darnell Washington on the drive’s first play, Stetson Bennett throws his first interception as a starter this season giving Florida the ball back at their own 2-yard line. Georgia’s defense immediately responds by forcing a turnover of their own after Nolan Smith strips the football from quarterback Anthony Richardson fighting for yardage.
James Cook punches the ball into the endzone on the first play following the turnover. The 11-yard touchdown run extends Georgia’s lead to 10-0 with just over 2 minutes left in the half.
The Georgia defense forces the Florida offense into their third-straight turnover after Nolan Smith this time intercepts Anthony Richardson. Georgia’s offense follows this turnover with another touchdown on the drive’s first play when Stetson Bennett connects with Kearis Jackson on a 36-yard strike down the sideline giving Georgia a 17-0 advantage.
Nakobe Dean continues the turnover streak for the Bulldog defense by picking off Anthony Richardson’s pass and returning it for his first touchdown on the season extending the Bulldog’s lead to 24-0 as the first half comes to an end.