JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm found his passing touch about the same Florida was self-destructing in Saturday’s SEC East Division showdown at TIAA Bank Field.
The Bulldogs beat the Gators 36-17 before a crowd of 84,463. Georgia can clinch the East and a trip to the SEC Championship Game with a win at Kentucky next Saturday.
Fromm was 17-of-24 passing for 240 yards and three touchdowns, Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney dialing up play calls that led to an 8-of-14 third down conversion rate.
“Jake understands what we’re trying to do offensively,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said, “and he did a good job of dealing out the ball when he had an opportunity and he made some big throws tonight to some guys that were open and to some guys that were in tight coverage.”
Momentum was up for grabs with 11:12 left in the game when Fromm took over at the Bulldogs’ 25, his team up 23-17.
Fromm, coming off arguably the worst performance of his career at LSU two weeks ago, redeemed himself, directing a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped by his 24-yard TD pass to Terry Godwin that made it 29-17.
D’Andre Swift’s 33-yard touchdown run with 4:29 left sealed the game, but Fromm’s decision making and accuracy was the story, along with Florida’s inability to get out of its own way with three turnovers.
Florida QB Feleipe Franks (13-of-21, 105 yards) fumbled the ball away at the Gators’ 1-yard line in the third quarter, but Georgia failed to take advantage, stopped on six running plays before settling for an 18-yard field goal that made it 23-14.
The Gators cut the lead on their ensuing drive on Evan McPherson’s 42-yard field goal, making it a one score game at 23-17 with 11:12 remaining.
Florida led only briefly, going up 14-13 on Freddie Swain’s 36-yard TD reception from Franks on the opening drive of the second half. Swain sprinted past safety J.R. Reed on a post route with 13:35 left in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs answered, going 72 yards on seven plays on the ensuing drive for a TD to go back up 20-14. Fromm capped the march with a throw to tightly-covered Jeremiah Holloman at the edge of the end zone.
Georgia led 13-7 at the half when Blankenship booted a 22-yard field goal with two seconds left before intermission. The Bulldogs shifted into their two-minute offense to set up the kick, Fromm connecting with Isaac Nauta on four straight passes for 66 yards.
It was the second time the Bulldogs stalled out deep in Florida territory. Georgia opened the scoring at the 8:11 mark of the opening quarter with a 21-yard field goal after Fromm was sacked for a 5-yard loss at the Florida 7-yard line.
The Bulldogs made it 10-0 moments later when Holloman reeled in a 16-yard Fromm pass, three play after safety Richard LeCounte scooped up a fumble and returned it 32 yards to the Florida 13.
Florida misfired on its first play of the game, a sign of things to come, when Franks overthrew Van Jefferson, who was streaking wide open deep downfield, on what would have been a touchdown.
“You look at what we did in the game, we turned the ball over, we were minus-three [in the] turnover ratio with two of them coming inside our own 10 yard line,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said. “You can’t do that offensively and you aren’t going to win many games doing that.”
Georgia football QB Jake Fromm
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