JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For the third consecutive year, the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party belongs to the Gators.
No. 14 Florida (6-1, 4-1) defeated Georgia (4-4, 2-4) 24-10 on Saturday, pulling away in the second half with a defensive shutout and 10 points from the offense.
Florida’s 10-play, 56-yard scoring drive in the third quarter. Gators quarterback Luke Del Rio completed all four of his pass attempts, including a 21-yard strike to Antonio Callaway on third-and-10. Callaway capped the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run on a jet sweep, a great play call by offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
— Chris Doering (@ChrisDoering) October 29, 2016
In his Jacksonville homecoming, Del Rio was looking to bounce back from a poor performance against Missouri. Other than throwing fewer interceptions, there wasn’t much improvement from him. He was picked off on his first pass attempt and did not anticipate pressure well enough throughout the game. Georgia sacked Del Rio three times, one of them resulting in an intentional grounding. On a positive note, Del Rio made a few clutch throws on third down that led to touchdown drives. But he needs to give the Gators more than 131 passing yards. All four defensive starters who were questionable with injuries played against UGA.
UF got the win Saturday, but the offense gained only 208 yards. That’s not going to cut it next week at Arkansas. The Gators were successful in the red zone and scored three touchdowns, but they need to sustain more drives and not put themselves in so many third-and-longs. Fortunately for Florida, the defense continues to play at a high level and will keep this team in every game. The Gators will need to defend the run against Arkansas and LSU, but they’re showing the ability to do it. The Bulldogs only managed 21 yards on the ground.
Callaway became the first Florida player to account for a touchdown five different ways in a career: passing, receiving, rushing, returned kick and returned punt.
What it means:
UF was expected to win this game, but the offense did not play better coming off a bye week. The Gators have shown the ability to gain yards and first downs this season, and they need to couple that with the scoring success.