Scores

Final

(22) Georgia 24

(6-2, 5-1 SEC)

Florida 20

(4-4, 2-4 SEC)

Coverage: CBS

3:30 PM ET, October 29, 2011

Everbank Field, JACKSONVILLE, FL

1 2 3 4 T
#22UGA 0 10 7 724
FLA 7 10 3 020

Top Performers

Passing: J. Brantley (FLA) - 245 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: R. Samuel (UGA) - 17 CAR, 58 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Reed (FLA) - 4 REC, 69 YDS, 1 TD

Georgia overcomes mistakes to edge rival Florida

Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Georgia coach Mark Richt took several steps toward midfield with his son draped around his neck. His players and assistant coaches were in the background, celebrating in the same end zone that caused such a stir during the Bulldogs' last win against Florida.

This one was special.

And everyone knew it.

Richt may have saved his job with two gutsy, fourth-down calls that resulted in touchdowns, and No. 22 Georgia overcame several mistakes to beat Southeastern Conference rival Florida 24-20 Saturday.

"I know it was just a ballgame, but it seemed like a lot more than that," Richt said. "Just to see our players and fans celebrate, in this place especially, was awesome."

At the very least, Georgia kept pace with South Carolina in the Eastern Division. Maybe more important, Georgia picked up its fourth win in 22 tries against Florida. This one was huge for Richt, who had been under pressure since losing to Boise State and the Gamecocks to open the season.

The Bulldogs (6-2, 5-1 SEC) have now won six straight.

"I can say this now that it's over, but this was more than just another game to win and to keep pace in the Eastern Division," Richt said. "You could see it with our guys, but we didn't want to try to make it any bigger than it needed to be."

Richt shook hands with Florida coach Will Muschamp, then headed straight for the end zone to start dancing with his players. They screamed, shouted, hooted and hollered.

They eventually made their way to the locker room, where Richt had everyone sing "Rocky Top." The Bulldogs needed Tennessee to beat South Carolina later Saturday to take the lead in the East.

The Gators, meanwhile, trudged off the field with a fourth consecutive loss. It's the program's first four-game slide since 1988, a streak that certainly will taint Muschamp's first season in Gainesville.

The latest loss came against Muschamp's alma mater and eliminated Florida (4-4, 2-4) in the division race.

"Obviously, I didn't do a very good job of getting our team ready," Muschamp said.

Like so many times before in this series, Georgia found ways to try to give the game away. The Bulldogs allowed a touchdown on a fourth-and-19 play in the first quarter, gave up a 99-yard kickoff return, missed two field goals and had a ball bounce off a running back's helmet for an interception.

But they overcame those mistakes with Aaron Murray's two touchdown passes on fourth down and a defensive performance in the second half that will go down in Florida-Georgia lore. The Bulldogs allowed 32 yards and one first down in the second half.

"Everyone has been saying how lopsided the series with Florida has been over the years, but this team was 0-0 going into this game," Murray said. "And now we're 1-0."

Murray completed 15 of 34 passes for 169 yards, with an interception. He was sacked three times but also had 42 yards rushing.

The Bulldogs ran 49 times for 185 yards, the latest team to gouge the Gators on the ground. Most of them came after Georgia battled back from a 14-point deficit.

Florida led 17-3 before committing two turnovers that gave the Bulldogs short fields. And Richt, quite possibly with his job on the line with Georgia fans impatient after two straight lackluster seasons, didn't want to squander the opportunities.

Richt went for it on a fourth-and-5 play at the Florida 20, and Murray found Michael Bennett for a touchdown just before halftime. He also went for it on fourth-and-6 at the Florida 14 in the third. Murray threw a jump ball to the corner, and Tavarres King came down with the game-tying score.

Florida followed with a 63-yard kickoff return, which led to a field goal and a 20-17 lead.

It was short-lived, though. Georgia, which had scored first in every game this season, took its first lead on Richard Samuel's 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

The defense did the rest, pressuring John Brantley and minimizing speedsters Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps.

Jarvis Jones had four of Georgia's six sacks.

"Our seniors and coaches deserved this win," Jones said. "This was a big game for coach; it was a huge game for the SEC race."

Brantley, playing for the first time since badly spraining his right ankle four weeks ago, had some success early. He threw for 226 yards in the first half but was mediocre at best after the break.

He was 12 of 34 passing for 245 yards, but just 2 of 14 in the second half.

"That second half, we've just got to be able to finish the game," Brantley said. "We had our opportunities. Like I said, we've just got to be able to finish."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
UGA
FLA
1st Downs2311
Total Yards354226
Passing169245
Rushing185-19
Penalties4-2214-106
3rd Down Conversions7-192-13
4th Down Conversions3-31-2
Turnovers12
Possession37:4022:20

Passing Leaders

GeorgiaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Murray15/341695.021
FloridaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Brantley12/342457.210

Rushing Leaders

GeorgiaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Crowell18814.5022
Samuel17583.419
FloridaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Rainey5265.2017
Demps8121.506

Receiving Leaders

GeorgiaRECYDSAVGTDLG
King34414.7116
Conley33812.7018
FloridaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Demps17272.0072
Reed46917.3131

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERUGAFLA
TD07:34Jordan Reed 31 Yd Pass From John Brantley (Brad Phillips Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERUGAFLA
FG13:28Blair Walsh 32 Yd 37
TD13:16Jeff Demps 99 Yd Kickoff Return (Brad Phillips Kick) 314
FG10:06Brad Phillips 43 Yd 317
TD01:28Michael Bennett 20 Yd Pass From Aaron Murray (Blair Walsh Kick) 1017
THIRD QUARTERUGAFLA
TD06:00Tavarres King 14 Yd Pass From Aaron Murray (Blair Walsh Kick) 1717
FG04:54Brad Phillips 40 Yd 1720
FOURTH QUARTERUGAFLA
TD13:18Richard Samuel 4 Yd Run (Blair Walsh Kick) 2420