Florida runs wild, gets win over Georgia
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor combined for 389 yards rushing and four touchdowns and Florida upset No. 11 Georgia 38-20 Saturday, ending a three-game losing streak in the series.
Jones ran 25 times for 197 yards and two touchdowns against the Bulldogs (No. 11 CFP, No. 9 AP). Taylor, whose NFL father, Fred, has his name emblazoned on a wall inside EverBank Field, carried 25 times for 192 yards and two scores.
The dynamic duo became the first Florida teammates to top the century mark on the ground since Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey against Kentucky in 2011.
Jones and Taylor carried Florida (4-3, 3-3 SEC) to a much-needed victory in the series against the Bulldogs (6-2, 4-2) and in the Southeastern Conference.
Muschamp had been 0-7 in this series, going 0-4 as a Georgia defensive back in the 1990s and losing his first three games as Florida's coach.
"I don't think they're going to vote me into the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame or anything," Muschamp said after the game.
The Gators talked all week about winning for Muschamp and for themselves. They also predicted they were going to run the ball "until the wheels come off."
They delivered with their best overall performance since the season opener.
Florida finished with 418 yards rushing, the program's most since gaining 466 against New Mexico in 1989 when NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith was the team's star. The total Saturday included a 21-yard scoring run by former walk-on Michael McNeely on a fake field goal that kicked off a dominant second quarter.
McNeely, who went to his job as a grocery bagger after he got his scholarship this fall, took the fourth-and-9 snap and went untouched around the right side to tie the game at 7. The call was reminiscent of Georgia coach Mark Richt's fourth-down gambles in 2011, when he beat Florida 24-20 in Jacksonville.
The difference in this was Florida's decision to bench quarterback Jeff Driskel and commit to the ground game, even against the league's second-ranked run defense.
It was the right call with winds gusting to 40 mph.
Jones and Taylor hurt the Bulldogs inside and out, finding some holes and creating others.
Freshman quarterback Treon Harris didn't do anything special aside from playing with better ball security than Driskel. He completed 3 of 6 passes for 27 yards. He also ran 37 yards. He fumbled once and had a shotgun snap sail over his head.
But with Jones and Taylor, Harris pretty much just had to stay out the way.
The two backs really got going in the second quarter, with Taylor delivering a career-long 44-yard run that set up his 2-yard plunge and Jones scoring on a 44-yard scamper down the left sideline.
Jones added a 1-yard TD run on the third play of the fourth quarter, putting Florida ahead 31-7.
That sent Georgia fans scrambling for the exits.
The Bulldogs were looking for their first four-game winning streak in the series since 1983. Florida won 20 of the next 27 after that game, controlling the series for the better part of three decades.
Things changed under Muschamp.
Florida had chances to win each of the past three games, but ended up on the losing end.
Georgia could have moved a step closer to winning the SEC Eastern Division. Instead, they kept the division unpredictable.
Nick Chubb was the Bulldogs' main threat. He ran 21 times for 156 yards and a touchdown, and caught five passes for 59 yards and a score. But he also had a costly fumble.