HOOVER, Ala., — The last two times Florida has played Georgia, the final scores haven’t been particularly close. The combined score of the last two meetings in Jacksonville has been 78-24.
But to hear Florida players, tell it the final score doesn’t indicate how close the game actually was. At SEC Media Days on Monday, multiple Florida players said they felt that the final outcome didn’t indicate the real difference between the two teams.
“I feel like we have the same amount of talent as Georgia,” Florida running back Lamical Perine said. “It’s just the little thing like turnovers like that that helped us lose the game. If we just come out and play our game, I feel like we can compete with anyone in the country.”
A year ago, Cece Jefferson, Martez Ivery and David Reese all echoed the comments made by Perine on Monday. Jefferson went on to say that the score from the 2017 Georgia-Florida game, a 42-7 demolition, didn’t show who the better team was.
Another Florida player went a step further, as defensive end Jabari Zuniga added that the Gators should’ve won the 36-17 matchup a season ago.
“Extremely close, I really feel like we should have won the game last year,” Zuniga said. “We just made too many mistakes, and at the end of the day when you’re playing football at the level we’re playing, you can’t make mistakes like that. Because teams as talented as that will capitalize off that, so you’ve got to be on your ‘A’ Game.”
As Florida fans will point out, the Gators were trailing just 23-17 early in the fourth quarter of the 2018 matchup. However, the Bulldogs were able to salt away the game by scoring the final 13 points. On that day, Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm threw for 240 yards and 3 touchdowns against Florida last season.
This offseason, the Georgia-Florida rivalry has gotten much more contentious, given some of the comments Florida coach Dan Mullen has made in regards to the Georgia program. However, it hasn’t been the best off-season for the Gators, as a number of players have entered the transfer portal and the Gators have lost a number of commitments. Florida’s top 2019 signee, cornerback Chris Steele, left the program following the spring game.
There has also been a lot of talk regarding the future of the Georgia-Florida game as it relates to Jacksonville, Fla. The current contract is up at the end of the 2021 season, and Georgia coach Kirby Smart has made it clear he is open to the possibility of making it a home-and-home in order to benefit recruiting purposes.
But for all the talk between the two sides, Georgia and Florida will once again play it out on the field this season. The two sides will meet on Nov. 2. The last time Florida beat Georgia was back in 2016, Smart’s first season in Athens.
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