In the days that have passed since the Cocktail Party, it's become increasingly obvious that there are a number of folks in the Gator contingent who are of the idea that Georgia did not win the game, rather, Florida lost it. These individuals say things like 'we turned the ball over six times and Georgia still only won by eight', or 'Florida played their worst game of the year and Georgia still barely won'. These lovable losers seem to be of the opinion that the turnovers that the Gators committed on Saturday all occurred in a vacuum, and were by no means influenced by the Georgia defense playing aggressive, physical football. To give a comparison, if this were tennis, the Gators would be arguing that their team had six unforced errors. So, without further ado, let's break down the six turnovers and see just how they happened, shall we?
Turnover Number One: Jeff Driskel Fumbles
Early in the first quarter, on Florida's first drive of the game, the Gators found themselves facing a third and eight. The Bulldog defense blitzed, bringing six defenders against the Gator offense. Coming off of the right side of the line were Cornelius Washington and Damian Swann. The Gators attempted to provide protection for their quarterback using only their five offensive linemen, and this immediately caused an issue. Damian Swann came in off of the edge unblocked, hitting Jeff Driskel just before he threw the football and forcing a fumble which was recovered by the Dawgs. You can see the play here at the 9:49 mark.
Turnover Number Two: Jeff Driskel Fumbles
With a minute left in the first quarter, facing a third and long, the Gators once again called a passing play to try to pick up the first down. This time around, the Dawgs only rushed four, and the Gators actually kept a tight end at home to help with the pass protection. Unfortunately for the Gators, the tight end completely whiffed on his block, and Jordan Jenkins was able to get a hold of the quarterback, causing him to have to scramble to avoid being sacked. Jarvis Jones, who had initially been pushed behind the quarterback by the left tackle, never gave up on the play, and after Driskel wiggled free from Jenkins, Jarvis came up from the blindside and forced the fumble, knocking the ball out of Driskel's hands with the Dawgs falling on the ball in the pile. Dial the video up to the 45:12 mark and you can see the play for yourself:
Turnover Number Three: Jeff Driskel Throws an Interception
With sixteen seconds left in the half, Florida found themselves facing second and goal on the Dawgs' five yard line. Brent Pease once again chose to go with the pass, with trips to the right and a lone receiver on the left. The Gators were in the shotgun, with a single back offset to the right of Driskel. The Bulldogs rushed five defenders, with a delayed blitz coming from Shawn Williams in the safety spot. Garrison Smith stunted ever so slightly inside from his position on the line, collapsing the pocket from within and causing Driskel to have to roll out to the right to escape the pressure. Driskel scrambled over to the sideline, and, when faced with the option of trying to make a play or throw the ball out of bounds, Driskel chose to attempt to throw the ball back across his body to connect with a seemingly wide open Trey Burton. Unfortunately for Driskel, Bacarri Rambo was reading his eyes, cut across the endzone and snatched the ball out of midair, successfully ending any chance the Gators had of scoring before the half and preserving a Georgia lead. Check out the play at the 1:29:20 mark here:
Turnover Number Four: Jeff Driskel Throws an Interception
Facing 2nd and 9 with around ten minutes left in the third quarter, the Gators once again attempted to pass against the Dawgs, this time with an empty backfield and four wide receivers on the field, plus a tight end. Driskel was in the shotgun, with offensive coordinator Brent Pease trying to buy his quarterback some more time in the pocket. Again Todd Grantham chose to rush only four defenders, and, again, the Gator offensive line was not able to protect their quarterback. Cornelius Washington bullrushed right tackle Chaz Green, pushing him directly backwards towards Driskel as quickly and as powerfully as he could. Just as Driskel was in the process of delivering the throw, impact was made, with Big Corn and Chaz Green impacting Driskel simultaneously. The contact successfully led to a duck of a throw, and Damian Swann sat in the secondary, waiting on the pass to fall into his hands with open arms. Take a look at Washington's powerful bullrush here at the 1:42:51 mark:
Turnover Number Five: Trey Burton Fumbles
With just under eight minutes to go in the third quarter and facing a 2nd down and seven, Brent Pease decided to get a little tricky with his playcalling, opting for Trey Burton to run the wildcat formation. Omarius Hines went in motion from the right side, and the design of the play was for Burton to hand the ball off to Hines on a speed sweep around the end. Jarvis Jones was allowed to come off of the end untouched, hoping to suck him in so that Hines would be beyond him with the ball. Unfortunately for the Gators, though, Burton wasn't able to get the ball off to Hines cleanly, and the ball dropped to the ground right in front of Jarvis Jones. At this point, Jones opportunistically fell on the ball, and once again the Dawgs recovered a Gator fumble. Take a looksy here at the 1:53:10 mark:
Turnover Number Six: Jordan Reed Fumbles
With 2:25 left in the game and Florida trailing by eight, the Gators were in the midst of driving down the field to try and get the game-tying score to send the game to overtime. On 2nd and six, the Gators chose to pass the ball, targeting likely their best offensive player, Jordan Reed. Reed had been a mismatch for the Dawgs all day, making several nice plays. In this instance, The Dawgs rushed four, but were unable to get any significant pressure on Driskel, and he completed a pass to Reed. Reed broke the tackle of middle linebacker Alec Ogletree and began to head upfield, and when he reached the four yard line, decided to take his show airborne to attempt to beat the two defenders trying to tackle him. In a bit of dejavu, Jarvis Jones didn't give up on the play, coming from the backfield to sneak up on Reed's blindside. When Reed went airborne, Jones punched the ball out of his arms, knocking the ball into the endzone, where it would eventually be recovered by Sanders Commings. This proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Gators, with the Bulldogs being able to grind the game out from this point forward. Take a look at Jarvis's biggest play of the game at the 2:43:20 mark here:
Ultimately, of the Gators six turnovers on the day, four of them were directly caused by Georgia defenders (Damian Swann's sack/fumble of Driskel, Jarvis Jones's sack/fumble of Driskel, Damian Swann's interception caused by Cornelius Washington's contact with Driskel, and Jarvis Jones's forced fumble of Jordan Reed), one turnover was indirectly caused by Georgia's defense (Driskel's interception just before the half likely would not have happened had he not been flushed out of the pocket by Garrison Smith), and one was just a good old-fashioned 'Oops!' moment, courtesy of Mr. Trey Burton. If nothing else, this should lay to rest the Florida argument that the game was gift-wrapped for us by the Gators. UF has protected the ball very well so far this year, and that didn't necessarily change with this game, the difference in the game was that Georgia's defense played the way we've all known it could, and went out and made its presence known on the field, resulting in several pieces of good fortune for our team.
Remember, not all turnovers are created equal, and, as always, Go Dawgs!