Georgia didn’t need Brock Bowers on Saturday.
The No. 1 Bulldogs easily beat Florida for the third consecutive season in a 43-20 win in Jacksonville. The Gators gave their fans a brief moment of optimism with an opening-drive TD and a 7-0 lead, but Georgia subsequently made it clear that Florida had no chance.
Georgia scored 36 straight points, leading 26-7 at halftime and extending that to a 29-point edge after three quarters.
As the Bulldogs’ star tight end was on the sideline following surgery for a high-ankle sprain, WR Ladd McConkey scored his first touchdown of the season and finished with six catches for 135 yards. Saturday was just McConkey’s fourth game of the season after he missed the first four games due to injury and it was by far his best. He entered the game with nine catches for 107 yards in his first three games.
RB Daijun Edwards rushed 15 times for 96 yards and two TDs and QB Carson Beck was 19-of-28 passing for 315 yards and two TDs. Florida was simply overmatched again as Georgia beat the Gators for the sixth time in the past seven seasons.
Georgia has three ranked opponents coming up
The Bulldogs are set to face three ranked opponents over the next three weeks as they look to win the SEC East for the third straight season.
No. 16 Missouri visits Athens in Week 10 before No. 12 Ole Miss heads to Georgia in Week 11 and the Bulldogs visit No. 19 Tennessee in Week 12. A win over Missouri next week will ensure that all Georgia has to do to get to the SEC title game is beat Tennessee.
Of course, there are bigger goals for the two-time defending champions. Georgia looked every bit like a playoff team on Saturday and is a favorite to win its third consecutive national title until further notice even if Bowers is out for the rest of the regular season.
Florida still has work to do
The Gators have been outscored by a combined 72 points by the Bulldogs since beating Georgia 44-28 in 2020. Georgia beat Florida 34-7 in 2021 and 42-20 a season ago.
All three of those wins have come while Georgia has been No. 1 in the AP Top 25 and Florida has been unranked.
The Gators are now 5-3 and have an extremely tough schedule to end the season. After a home game vs. Arkansas in Week 10, Florida ends the season with trips to No. 15 LSU, No. 16 Missouri and a home game against No. 4 Florida State.
Can Florida score an upset in one of those three contests? If not, the Gators are staring down a 7-5 season and a third consecutive year with fewer than eight wins.