Georgia football winners and losers after massive victory over Florida
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Georgia football winners and losers following massive victory over Florida
Winner: The offensive line
The offensive line heard all week about how great the Florida pass rush was. About how the group — led by Jabari Zuniga and Jonathan Greenard — had an SEC best 29.0 sacks and was going to be a problem.
And yet on Saturday, the Florida pass rush was a non-factor. The Gators finished with zero sacks and quarterback Jake Fromm had plenty of time to operate. Georgia found itself in 18 third-down opportunities against Florida and Georgia converted 12 of them. That wouldn’t have been possible without the offensive line playing as well as it did.
After the game, Georgia coach Kirby Smart revealed that the normally stoic offensive line coach Sam Pittman gave a speech to the offense on Friday night about how the group wasn’t going to use extra blockers to try and slow down Florida.
And it worked.
“We’re going to let these guys go play, we’re going to let them play in space and we’re going to block them and I’ll be glad if we didn’t do that,” Smart said. “Our guys pass pro pretty well. I’ve known that. There’s criticism out there, but our guys pass pro pretty well and they showed that tonight. We made plays down the field with the pass pro.”
And it wasn’t just in pass protection where the group shined. Georgia ran for 119 yards compared to just 21 for Florida. The offensive line rarely gets the appreciation it deserves, but this group — led by tackles Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson — was just as good as Fromm and the defense on Saturday.
Loser: Dan Mullen
Dan Mullen took quite a few jabs after Georgia and Kirby Smart this offseason. Whether it be with his spring game attendance number or the clear jab over the Justin Fields situation, Mullen didn’t mind poking fun at the Georgia football program.
In hindsight, that might not have been the best idea. The Gators dropped a second-straight game against the Bulldogs with Mullen at the helm. Since Smart became a head coach prior to the 2016 season, Smart is 3-0 against Mullen.
And Florida’s two worst-yardage games under Mullen — who is regarded as an offensive mastermind — have come in the last two years against Georgia. In both games against the Bulldogs, Florida has been held under 300 yards of total offense.
“I’m frustrated,” Mullen said afterward, “because like I said, there are all little things you can point out.”
Saturday has to bother Florida fans for a number of reasons, but losing to the Bulldogs once again really has sting for Mullen. Ya hate to see it.
Winner: Jake Fromm
The last two games weren’t fun for Fromm. He turned the ball over four times in the South Carolina defeat. Then against Kentucky, he had a career-low 35-yards passing.
That’s what has to make Saturday’s performance so gratifying for Fromm. And while Fromm kept his usual demeanor about himself after the win, you could tell the game meant a lot to Smart based on their post-game embrace.
“He’s had a lot of people that have questioned him, and he has a chip on his shoulder guy,” Smart said. “Y’all have seen it over and over again where people doubt and continue to doubt and he continues to rise above. I’m really proud of the way he played and led his team, and proud of a lot of others, I’m not saying it was just Jake, but Jake has a lot of pressure on him.”
Fromm is now 3-0 all-time against the Gators. He’s carved up the Florida defense the last two times he’s seen it. For a guy that needed to have a big game, Fromm absolutely delivered, just like he did a season ago. It says a lot about Fromm that he’s able to deliver a performance like that to quell any doubters.
Loser: The haters, specifically of Jake Fromm and James Coley
And speaking of those doubters, Smart let them have it in his post-game press conference. Smart has been known to celebrate big victories from time-to-time, and he did so once again against Florida.
But it’s rare to hear Smart call out those who were critical of Fromm and Coley in the manner that the Georgia head coach did.
On critics of Fromm: “I’m just proud of the support that our fans provided for us, even if they did think Jake couldn’t throw the ball.”
He doubled down when asked about Georgia’s final touchdown drive, making sure to praise Coley.
“It was a great response, and y’all need to give Coach Coley some credit because he called all those plays, too.”
Georgia finished with 398 total yards against a team that came into the day with the No. 6 ranking. While the unit can turn a few more field goals into touchdowns in the redzone, the Georgia offense thrived after taking heavy amounts of criticism coming into the game. And for those critics, Saturday had to be a tough game to watch.
Winner: Azeez Ojulari
While we’ve spent much of the time on the Georgia offense, the defense was just as good if not better. Florida was held to a season-low 21 rushing yards. Georgia was also able to pressure Florida quarterback Kyle Trask, as he was sacked twice.
One of those came via Azeez Ojulari, who just straight-up beat his man to pick up the sack.
“It was a big sack to knock them back,” Smart said. “He’s played well, he’s one of the hardest workers, he’s kind of the leader of that outside linebackers group, he never says a dang word, he’s just a great kid.”
— Hiro Katsuki (@KatsukiFB) November 2, 2019
Ojulari now has a season-high 4.5 sacks and is clearly Georgia’s best pass rusher. He’s also a key cog in Georgia’s run defense, which is still the only team in college football to not allow a rushing touchdown. Ojulari’s emergence is a big reason why many now see Georgia as a team with an elite defense.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- PHOTOS: Take one more trip through that Georgia football end zone party in Jacksonville
- Georgia football favored over Missouri, but not by as many points as expected
- ESPN’s Paul Finebaum: ‘Georgia doesn’t want Alabama’
- Georgia football moves up in AP, Coaches Poll, now the highest-ranked one-loss team
- 3 things from Georgia win over Florida: Kirby Smart approaching Steve Spurrier territory
- Lawrence Cager rises from the ‘dead,’ lifts Georgia over Florida
Dawgs on Twitter
What y’all say bout them Dawgs?
— Kendall Milton (@therealkmilt) November 2, 2019
Thank you dawg nation!😭 Go dawgs! 🖤
— Malik Herring (@HerringMalik) November 3, 2019
It was a great win for the dawgs today! But one of the best parts of the day was getting to see and spend time with @Obey_Classics ! I only wish I had been able to see @HomesByHolloman too! pic.twitter.com/HhF3YlxlDk
— Shannon Buff (@shannonjbuff) November 2, 2019
Gessh, jumping into crowds like I’m a rockstar 🎸🤘🏽 pic.twitter.com/klALGGP740
— Eric Stokes Jr (@_jamane_) November 3, 2019
Good Dawg of the Day
This is Penny. She has degenerative myelopathy, but that didn’t stop her from dressing pup. 14/10 would jump in front of bananas for pic.twitter.com/V11Q8VVkUe
— WeRateDogs® (@dog_rates) October 31, 2019