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NCAA Game Summary - Georgia vs. Florida
(Saturday, October 29th)
Final Score: (22) Georgia 24, Florida 20
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Richard Samuel's four-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter gave No. 22 Georgia its first lead of the game in a 24-20 win over Florida on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (6-2, 5-1 SEC) rallied from a 17-3 deficit in the first half to beat Florida for just the third time in the last 11 meetings, overcoming poor special teams play and a long stretch of incompletions by Aaron Murray to win their sixth straight game overall.
Murray threw nine straight incompletions and was just 15-of-34 for 169 yards, but also passed for two touchdowns to get Georgia out of its 14-point hole.
"A great feeling. 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," said Murray.
"And now we're 1-0. We have been working on a lot of the plays that worked for two straight weeks now and I think us hitting some of those huge touchdown catches changed the momentum of this game."
John Brantley returned from an ankle sprain and started for Florida (4-4, 2-4) for the first time in nearly a month, throwing for 245 yards and a touchdown in the team's fourth straight loss.
Brantley was just 12-of-34 passing and the Gators rushed for negative 19 yards.
"We have to find some ways to run the football," said first-year Florida coach Will Muschamp, who played at Georgia from 1991-94. "We cannot be so one- dimensional and that's something we have to work on."
Jeff Demps, also coming off an ankle injury, had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter for the Gators, who have faced four ranked teams in a row for the first time in 40 years.
They have lost all four of those games to Alabama, LSU, Auburn and now Georgia, which held the Gators to just 11 first downs in the win.
"Our defense was fantastic," said Georgia coach Mark Richt. "To start the game they didn't have a back in the backfield, so they weren't really trying to run the ball. Quite frankly, we didn't have many answers early on. We were able to force a couple of turnovers and took care of business."
The Bulldogs had to get out of their own way, particularly on special teams.
Besides Demps' 99-yard touchdown in the second quarter, the Bulldogs also gave up a 63-yard return to Andre Debose in the third that led to a go-ahead field goal by Florida.
Kicker Blair Walsh, who entered the game just 12-of-20 on field goals, missed two of his three tries and Georgia also survived two short punts in the fourth quarter that gave Florida good field position.
Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones forced a fumble in the third quarter and the Bulldogs turned it into Tavarres King's 14-yard touchdown catch to tie the game at 17-17 after they had trailed 17-3 during the first half.
King basically won a jump-ball pass from Murray in the right side of the end zone while safety Jaylen Watkins was draped all over him.
Debose's 63-yard return set up Brad Phillips' 40-yard field goal, which gave Florida a 20-17 lead that lasted the rest of the third quarter after Walsh missed a 37-yarder.
But Georgia got good field position to start a nine-play, 45-yard drive that ended with Samuel's four-yard touchdown run over right guard for a 24-20 lead with 13:18 remaining in the game.
Both teams called a timeout as Florida lined up for a 4th-and-2 play with 8:12 left, but the Gators never hiked the ball and punted after failing to draw Georgia offsides.
Florida failed to get a first down on its last possession, and Georgia ran out the remainder of the clock to seal the win.
"It's tough to deal with," said Gators defensive tackle Jaye Howard, "but all we can do is continue to go out and show up every week and just give it our best."
On the first play of the game, Demps caught Brantley's screen pass on the left side and turned it into a 72-yard gain, breaking three early tackles as he slashed across to the right sideline. But Phillips missed a 38-yard field goal wide right.
Later in the first quarter, Jordan Reed got behind Alec Ogletree and Brantley found him for a 31-yard touchdown and 7-0 Florida lead.
Murray threw a pass off Isaiah Crowell's helmet two plays into the ensuing drive and Marcus Roberson dove to intercept it at the Georgia 13, but the Gators lost 25 yards and had to punt.
Walsh kicked a 32-yard field goal early in the second, capping a 12-play Georgia drive, but Demps was untouched on his 99-yard return on the kickoff, drifting out towards the left sideline to give Florida a 14-3 lead.
Phillips kicked a 43-yard field goal to make it 17-3, and Walsh missed from 33 yards after that.
Ogletree forced a fumble on the ensuing Florida possession, and Georgia converted the turnover into Michael Bennett's 20-yard touchdown catch in the left side of the end zone to pull within 17-10 at halftime.
For the first time in the history of this series, both teams were coming off a bye week...It was the first time since 2004 that Georgia entered the game ranked and Florida did not. That year, Georgia won 31-24...How old the series is changes depending on which school you ask. Georgia counts a win in 1904, but Florida didn't compete at the varsity level until 1906 and says its first game against Georgia came in 1915...Georgia was without leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell again because of a hamstring injury. The freshman hasn't played since leaving an October 8 win over Tennessee.
10/29 21:41:46 ET