Bulldogs game snapshot: Georgia controls SEC East title race thanks to victory over Florida in Jacksonville

AP photo by Joshua L. Jones / Georgia wide receivers Dominick Blaylock and George Pickens celebrate after Blaylock caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Jake Fromm in the second quarter of Saturday's game in Jacksonville, Fla.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - No. 8 Georgia beat No. 6 Florida 24-17 on Saturday at TIAA Bank Field to improve to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

The Gators are 7-2, 4-2.


There was a lot of talk about Florida's talented receiving corps entering the game, but it was Georgia graduate transfer Lawrence Cager who stole the show. In his one and only appearance against the Gators in Jacksonville, Cager had seven receptions for 132 yards, including a 52-yard score with 10:01 remaining and the 2-point conversion that made it 24-10.


Georgia was 4-of-5 on third-down conversions on its opening drive of the game to set the tone in dominating that statistic. The Bulldogs were 8-of-11 in the first half while building a 13-3 lead, and Florida was 0-of-4 through the first 30 minutes. Georgia finished the contest 12-of-18, taking "Third-and-(Florida defensive coordinator Todd) Grantham" to a new level.


With the Bulldogs leading 16-10 barely a minute into the fourth quarter and with the Gators owning the momentum after their first touchdown of the day, Georgia running back D'Andre Swift converted two third-and-1 opportunities for first downs. Jake Fromm also avoided a sack during this stretch and then broke things open with his scoring strike to Cager.


Early in the third quarter, Fromm was under pressure and threw a first-and-15 pass up the right sideline for running back Brian Herrien. Though he was covered tightly, Herrien broke up the field, looked back at the ball and made a diving, one-handed grab at Florida's 43-yard line for an 18-yard gain. The play was reviewed but the call was upheld.


Georgia, despite arguably having the most inexplicable setback of the college football season with last month's double-overtime loss to South Carolina, regained the inside track to a third straight SEC East title with authority. The Bulldogs won three East titles in a four-year run from 2002 to '05 but have never taken three division championships in a row.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.