Georgia holds on to edge rival Florida 23-20 - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Georgia holds on to edge rival Florida 23-20

Posted: Updated:
Todd Gurley scored twice in his first game in more than a month, helping Georgia beat rival Florida 23-20 for the third consecutive year Saturday. (AP Photo/John Raoux) Todd Gurley scored twice in his first game in more than a month, helping Georgia beat rival Florida 23-20 for the third consecutive year Saturday. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — There was pushing and shoving, momentum shifts, strange calls and costly penalties.

Typical Florida-Georgia, really. Even the winner was somewhat predictable.

Todd Gurley scored twice in his first game in more than a month, helping Georgia beat rival Florida 23-20 for the third consecutive year Saturday. It's the Bulldogs' first three-game winning streak in the series since 1989.

Gurley played a huge role in the latest one.

The sophomore, who missed the last three games because of a sprained left ankle, totaled 187 yards in his return. He found the end zone on a 5-yard run and a 73-yard reception — both in the first quarter.

"He helped a little bit, didn't he?" Georgia coach Mark Richt joked. "He played so well those first couple of series."

Gurley did so much that he felt queasy. He sat on the bench and stared at the ground before slowly walking to the locker room for treatment.

"We settled him down and he was fine after that," Richt said.

The Bulldogs scored on their first four possessions, taking a 20-0 lead that looked like it would be enough against one of the Southeastern Conference's most anemic offenses. Georgia gained 259 yards in the first quarter and looked like it would roll.

But the Gators rallied, taking advantage of a fumble, a safety and some questionable play calls to seize momentum in a weird, wacky and an unbelievably chippy game.

Florida cut it to 23-20 early in the fourth, putting Georgia on its heels after a failed fourth-down run followed by a huge defensive penalty. But the Gators faltered down the stretch.

"We dug ourselves too big of a hole," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "We'll rebound and we'll be fine."

The victory kept Georgia (5-3, 4-2 SEC) in contention in the SEC's Eastern Division.

The Gators (4-4, 3-3) have their second three-game losing streak in Muschamp's three years, raising speculation about his future in Gainesville.

Muschamp fell to 0-7 in the series. He was 0-4 as a Georgia player between 1991 and 1994 and now he's 0-3 at Florida. Possibly making things worse for Muschamp, he screamed back at a fan as he left the field.

"I don't spend two seconds thinking about that," said Muschamp, who is now 4-5 against rivals Georgia, Tennessee, Florida State and Miami. "I just move on. We have to coach our football team and control the things you can control, and that's what we're going to do."

Georgia looked nothing like the same team that lost consecutive games to Missouri and Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs scored on the game's opening possession and then shocked Florida when Aaron Murray found Gurley over the middle for a 73-yard catch and run. The Bulldogs piled on from there, making it 23-3 with a 32-yard field goal just before halftime.

Florida appeared down and out.

But Georgia helped the Gators get back in it.

Arthur Lynch dropped what he thought was a screen pass near the sideline. Officials ruled it a lateral and a fumble. Lynch didn't realize the call and left the ball on the ground. Florida's Leon Orr scooped it up and returned it to the 14-yard line. Mack Brown scored two plays later, cutting Georgia's lead to 23-10.

Loucheiz Purifoy sacked Murray in the end zone two series later, making it 23-12. Tyler Murphy, playing with a sprained right throwing shoulder, second on a 14-yard TD scamper on the ensuing possession. Murphy hooked up with Clay Burton for the 2-point conversion — and it was a different game.

Georgia tried to reclaim the momentum, but Gurley failed to move the chains on a fourth-and-1 play. Florida's Neiron Ball was flagged for removing his helmet on the stop, drawing a 15-yard penalty, and then the offense stumbled as usual.

Still, Georgia gave Florida more life by having 12 men on the field on a fourth-and-2 play. Nonetheless, Florida floundered again.

The Bulldogs ran out the clock with a final drive that lasted more than 8 minutes, a series that included a third-down penalty on Florida's Darious Cummings.

Gurley, who carried 17 times for 100 yards, had several key runs on the drive.

"Gurley means everything to us," said Murray, who completed 16 of 25 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown. "His energy, when he makes those runs and catches, and runs people over is so important to us. He's a very vocal guy getting people pumped up, getting guys going, it was huge tonight. It was great to get him back. His personality in the huddle, his play-making ability, he just made some huge, huge plays for us in this game."

  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • 2014 USA Today preseason coaches poll: FSU No. 1, Alabama No. 2, Auburn No. 5

    2014 USA Today preseason coaches poll: FSU No. 1, Alabama No. 2, Auburn No. 5

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:40 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:40:23 GMT
    The 2014 USA Today preseason college football coaches poll was released Thursday and reigning national champion Florida State sits atop the rankings.More >>
    The 2014 USA Today preseason college football coaches poll was released Thursday and reigning national champion Florida State sits atop the rankings.More >>
  • Auburn football announces two-game series with Clemson

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 4:38 PM EDT2014-07-30 20:38:41 GMT
    Auburn and Clemson have agreed to a two-game series beginning in 2016. Auburn will host Clemson on Sept. 3, 2016 and play at Clemson's Memorial Stadium on Sept. 9, 2017.The programs have played 49 times in the past, including three times in the last five years. Auburn leads the all-time series 34-13-2 despite losing the last two times it's played Clemson, in 2011 and 2012.The agreement with Clemson will fulfill Auburn's obligation to play at least one non-conference opponent from a Power 5 co...More >>
    Auburn and Clemson have agreed to a two-game series beginning in 2016. Auburn will host Clemson on Sept. 3, 2016 and play at Clemson's Memorial Stadium on Sept. 9, 2017.The programs have played 49 times in the past, including three times in the last five years. Auburn leads the all-time series 34-13-2 despite losing the last two times it's played Clemson, in 2011 and 2012.The agreement with Clemson will fulfill Auburn's obligation to play at least one non-conference opponent from a Power 5 co...More >>
  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.More >>
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    More >>
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Repairing burst Los Angeles main could take days

    Repairing burst Los Angeles main could take days

    Friday, August 1 2014 3:39 AM EDT2014-08-01 07:39:31 GMT
    Hundreds of cars submerged below murky water. A landmark basketball court, newly refurbished, showing signs of buckling. Soaked and stained carpets. An athletic track coated in mud.More >>
    Repair crews on Thursday were shoring up a giant hole in the middle of Sunset Boulevard caused by a ruptured pipe, as officials at the water-logged University of California, Los Angeles, continued to assess damage from the...More >>
  • Neighbors who rescued plane crash victims: "It's a miracle they survived"

    Neighbors who rescued plane crash victims: "It's a miracle they survived"

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:50 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:50:59 GMT
    A family of four traveling to Tennessee from Florida crash landed their plane in central Alabama. More >>
    A family of four traveling to Tennessee from Florida crash landed their plane in central Alabama. More >>
  • Embattled Homewood hotel forced to close, guests left looking for new accommodations

    Embattled Homewood hotel forced to close, guests left looking for new accommodations

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:50 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:50:02 GMT
    Guests at America's Best Inn Suites packed up and left Thursday. The Homewood hotel lost its business license and an extension to keep it running was denied.More >>
    Guests at America's Best Inn Suites packed up and left Thursday. The Homewood hotel lost its business license and an extension to keep it running was denied.
    More >>
  • Small plane crash in Helena sends 4 to hospital with serious injuries

    Small plane crash in Helena sends 4 to hospital with serious injuries

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:29 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:29:14 GMT
    Authorities are investigating a small plane crash in Helena Thursday afternoon, a fire spokesman said.More >>
    Authorities are investigating a small plane crash in Helena Thursday afternoon, a fire spokesman said.More >>
  • Lackey goes from Red Sox to Cards for Kelly, Craig

    Lackey goes from Red Sox to Cards for Kelly, Craig

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:26 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:26:42 GMT
    The Boston Red Sox have traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday's deadline, a person with knowledge of the deal said.More >>
    The Boston Red Sox traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday's deadline.More >>
  • Lethal injections on hold in Alabama

    Lethal injections on hold in Alabama

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-08-01 01:19:47 GMT
    16 Alabama death row inmates have exhausted their appeals and are waiting to be executed. But, lethal injections will not be performed in the state at least until next spring. Republican state Senator Cam Ward says that will be the earliest lawmakers will be able to pass new legislation that will allow Alabama to get the drugs used for executions.Ward says that pharmaceutical companies are refusing to sell Alabama more drugs until they can get some type of protection or immunity. It's because...More >>
    16 Alabama death row inmates have exhausted their appeals and are waiting to be executed. But, lethal injections will not be performed in the state at least until next spring. Republican state Senator Cam Ward says that will be the earliest lawmakers will be able to pass new legislation that will allow Alabama to get the drugs used for executions.Ward says that pharmaceutical companies are refusing to sell Alabama more drugs until they can get some type of protection or immunity. It's because...More >>
  • Another decent start for Woods at Firestone

    Another decent start for Woods at Firestone

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:50 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:50:46 GMT
    Tiger Woods took another step on one of his favorite courses toward showing his game might be turning around.More >>
    Tiger Woods showed signs of a positive recovery Thursday at the Bridgestone Invitational.More >>
  • Alabama gets commitment from 4-star cornerback Rico McGraw

    Alabama gets commitment from 4-star cornerback Rico McGraw

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:47 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:47:50 GMT
    Alabama picked off another school's cornerback recruit. Four-star cornerback Rico McGraw flipped, verbally committing to Alabama after he had been committed to Georgia since January.The 6-foot, 190-pound McGraw is the No. 142 rated recruit according to 247Sports composite. He attends Ensworth High School in Nashville.McGraw is Alabama's 21st commitment for the 2015 class, and the Tide's second verbal of the week. Safety Ronnie Harrison committed to sign with Alabama on Monday.More >>
    Alabama picked off another school's cornerback recruit. Four-star cornerback Rico McGraw flipped, verbally committing to Alabama after he had been committed to Georgia since January.The 6-foot, 190-pound McGraw is the No. 142 rated recruit according to 247Sports composite. He attends Ensworth High School in Nashville.McGraw is Alabama's 21st commitment for the 2015 class, and the Tide's second verbal of the week. Safety Ronnie Harrison committed to sign with Alabama on Monday.More >>