Florida Football: Winners and Losers from the Week 9 Game vs. Georgia
Will Muschamp said his team is one without a large margin of error, and Saturday's turnover-filled performance proved that Florida can't win just with its defense.
With the SEC East title on the line, the Gators offense failed to show up for most of the game, often putting the defense in tough situations against Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense.
Although the defense surrendered 17 points, Dan Quinn's unit recorded three interceptions against Murray and played very well considering the ineptitude of UF's offense.
However, ball security, penalties and a lack of execution on the other side of the ball sealed the Gators' fate Saturday, as the Bulldogs left Jacksonville with a 17-9 win, which puts them in the driver's seat for the division title.
Let's take a look at the winners and losers from the Week 9 game against Georgia.
Winner: Sharrif Floyd (DT)
On a day where Florida generated little pass rush, defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was the most disruptive player for the Gators.
The 6'3", 303-pounder led all Gators defensive linemen with four tackles, including a team-high two tackles for loss.
Although he didn't record an official sack or quarterback hurry, Floyd played a solid game against Georgia's burly offensive line.
Loser: Brent Pease (OC)
For most of the season, Brent Pease has done a pretty remarkable job generating points from a rather pedestrian group of playmakers.
Whether it was a combination of Georgia's talent on defense, a lack of talent on offense or poor play calling, Florida's offense was an embarrassment Saturday.
From the get-go, it was clear Florida wasn't going to be able to run the ball against Georgia the way it had for the first seven games, yet Pease kept dialing up inside runs against the Bulldogs' massive defensive line.
UF ran for just 81 yards and simply didn't move the ball with any consistency.
Winner: Caleb Sturgis (K)
While the offense epitomized inconsistency, Caleb Sturgis was a sure thing on Saturday.
The redshirt senior has been money all season and continued to be a huge asset on special teams in the eight-point loss.
Sturgis nailed all three of his field-goal attempts, including a 50-yarder that narrowed Georgia's lead to just one point.
His big leg has been invaluable for a team that often relies on defense, special teams and field position to win ball games.
Loser: Offensive Line
New year, same result.
Despite limiting the damage against Jadeveon Clowney a week ago, Florida's offensive line once again had no answer for Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones.
The 6'3", 241-pounder absolutely dominated against offensive tackles Xavier Nixon and Chaz Green, utilizing his elite first step and hand usage in making Jeff Driskel's day a living nightmare.
Jones' final stat line was simply remarkable: 13 tackles (4.5 for loss), three sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Besides allowing Jones to feast on Driskel, the offensive line did a poor job opening holes in the run game thanks to massive nose tackle John Jenkins.
For a unit that's shown great improvement throughout the season, Saturday was a significant step back.
Winner: Pass Defense
Until Malcolm Mitchell's 45-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, Florida completed shut down Aaron Murray and the Georgia passing offense.
On a windy day in Jacksonville, the Gators' pass coverage was mostly excellent, forcing three interceptions and multiple incomplete passes against the talented junior.
Murray completed just 50 percent of his attempts and averaged just 6.3 yards per completion.
While Florida didn't do a good enough job putting pressure on Murray, UF's secondary was physical with UGA's wideouts and showed sticky hands and good awareness in picking off three passes.
Loser: Jeff Driskel (QB)
Maybe it's time to temper expectations about Jeff Driskel.
After limiting his mistakes throughout the first half of the season, the first-year starter showed his inexperience Saturday, tossing two critical interceptions in the 17-9 defeat.
With Florida driving all the way to Georgia's 5-yard line and in position to possibly take the lead going into halftime, Driskel rolled to the right and threw back across his body.
Unfortunately, All-American safety Bacarri Rambo broke on the ball and secured the interception to end Florida's hopes of scoring before the half.
On the day, Driskel completed just 14 of 26 passes for no touchdowns and failed to pull the trigger on a few throws.
His offensive line certainly didn't give him the best chance to succeed, but Saturday proved there's plenty of room for growth for the sophomore signal-caller.
Loser: Team Discipline
For the second straight week, penalties cost the Gators dearly.
While some of the calls were more than questionable, Florida shot itself in the foot with 10 penalties for 95 yards.
Although Georgia was actually penalized 14 times for 132 yards, it felt as though the Gators' penalties came in critical situations, and for an offense that lacked any semblance of continuity, penalties couldn't be afforded.
Beyond the penalties, Florida also showed an uncharacteristic flaw: ball security.
The Gators turned the ball over six times, with none of them more backbreaking than Jordan Reed's fumble on the Gators' final possession as he attempted to hurdle his way into the end zone.
Giving away possessions at that rate is simply unacceptable and will surely be a point of emphasis for Will Muschamp this week as the Gators try and get back on track against Missouri on Saturday.