Gators shut down 'Dawgs in 'River City Showdown'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It wasn't much of a "showdown."

The SEC East rivalry game between Georgia and Florida, recently dubbed the "River City Showdown," only featured 410 total yards from both teams combined.

The Florida Gators (6-1, 4-1 SEC) held the Georgia Bulldogs (4-4, 2-3 SEC) to just 47 yards in the second half to pull off a 24-10 win at EverBank Field on Saturday and hold on to their top ranking in the SEC East.

"We didn't do what we needed to do offensively," head coach Kirby Smart said after the game, adding that he wasn't surprised by his offense's lack of production. He was just disappointed.

The loss is Georgia's second consecutive after getting upset by Vanderbilt two weeks ago. Georgia has won just one of its last four games after starting the season 3-1.

Smart said he believes in his team's ability to prepare and fight in next week's game against the Kentucky Wildcats, who are 5-3, 4-2 in the SEC.

"What can we do about it? Get our butts ready to play Kentucky," Smart said. "I know they can improve and I know they won't quit."

Quarterback Jacob Eason looked good early. On the Bulldogs' first drive, he converted on a third down pass to Charlie Woerner that later set up a field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship to put Georgia up 3-0.

The freshman quarterback, who started in his seventh game this season, found Ryan Ridley in the end zone from 14 yards out after scrambling out of the pocket. Eason completed all of his passes on that drive. 

But Florida's defense, which ranks No. 2 in the nation, stymied Eason and the Bulldogs in the second half, giving them little time to find open receivers. Instead, it resulted in overthrown, underthrown and out-of-bounds pass attempts.

Eason completed 15-of-33 passes for 143 yards. He was sacked twice. 

"I think he's growing up, I think the hard way. I think that's the best pass rush he's seen yet," Smart said. "He fared okay, but not where we need him to be, and he knows that."

Georgia's ground game was even more woeful, accumulating just 21 yards. The offense's 164 total yards was a season-worst.

The Bulldogs were 4-for-14 on third downs, 0-for-2 on fourth downs and had eight first downs in the game. 

Georgia's defense continued to keep the Bulldogs in the game. Dominick Sanders picked-off quarterback Luke Del-Rio on the Gators' first drive and ran 31 yards to eventually set up Georgia's early field goal. It was the only turnover in the game.

Deandre Baker led the team with a career-high 10 tackles and had one sack in the game.

However, Georgia's special teams struggled on punts, allowing the Gators to start many of their drives in great field position.

Del-Rio, who returned from a knee injury last week that kept him sidelined for two weeks, had a touchdown pass to C'yontai Lewis in the first quarter to put the Gators up 7-3.

Del-Rio finished the game 15-of-23 with 131 yards.

Florida picked up 115 yards on the ground. Jordan Scarlett and Antonio Callaway both picked up touchdowns on the ground for the Gators. 

Georgia's Ridley left the game with a left ankle injury. Sanders left the game with a knee injury. Lineman DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle was helped off the field late in the game with a left leg injury. 

Florida has defeated Georgia in three consecutive seasons.

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