Halftime highlights from Georgia football’s game against rival Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Georgia Bulldogs definitely started the first half of Saturday’s game as a team expected to dominate.

Georgia jumped on Florida early, scoring the first 21 points and taking a 28-3 halftime lead. Early success for the Bulldogs came on offense and defense as the Bulldogs had little trouble moving the ball and the defense didn’t give up a first down until the 11:34 mark of the second quarter.

Let’s take a quick look at what stood out in the first half of the game:

Defense is dominant

Any concerns that Florida would be able to keep up with Georgia’s offense were put to rest early in Saturday’s action.

The Bulldogs forced four straight three-and-outs on Saturday and held the Gators to just 16 yards in the opening quarter. Georgia was especially effective in getting Florida behind the line, as the Bulldogs recorded three tackles for loss on Florida’s first four drives.

Florida had a little more success in the second quarter – which included a 41-yard bomb from the Anthony Richardson on Justin Shorter — but Georgia kept Florida in check overall.

Offensive clicking despite an early snafus

Georgia’s offense was by no means perfect in the first half, but the Bulldogs did more than enough to pull away from the Gators.

Georgia scored touchdowns on three of its first five drives of the game and then added seven more points just before halftime in a two-quarter period in which the Bulldogs outscored the Gators 346-88. The Bulldogs’ two early drives were characterized by self-inflicted errors, as Georgia’s opening possession featured linebacker penalties on two of its first three plays — though the Bulldogs overcame them to put together at least a 7-play drive — and a fourth drive saw a Florida defender wrestled the ball Dominick Blaylock for wiretapping.

Georgia found success by being fairly balanced with 29 passing attempts and 18 runs. The Bulldogs threw for 262 yards and rushed for 84 — the team averaged 4.7 yards per carry.

Playing without Smith

While Georgia had plenty of success in the first half, the Bulldogs are dealing with a significant loss on defense.

Outside linebacker Nolan Smith left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury and will not return, according to the CBS telecast. Smith had a good start to the action as he had 2 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 quarterback hurry in the time he played.

Smith’s loss is significant in one Saturday, even if his play won’t decide whether Georgia wins this loss. We’ll see in the postgame what kind of update Kirby Smart will give us and if Smith will be back for next week’s game against Tennessee.

Jalen Carter count nicely

Defensive tackle by Georgia Jalen Carter was working his way back from an MCL sprain and didn’t start on Saturday, but did make some significant outings. Even in a limited role, the junior showed how dominant he can be.

Carter mostly came on third downs in the first half, but even with that few reps he passed. At halftime, Carter didn’t have any issues, but he did put a lot of pressure on Florida’s quarterback Anthony Richardson.

We’ll see how much Carter plays in the second half, but he served well in the first two periods.

No worries about transit

Speaking of the pass rush, the Bulldogs mostly got the job done in the first half.

Georgia troubled Richardson in the first two quarters, and the sophomore had thrown for just 75 yards at halftime. Georgia safety Chris Smith had the only sack of the first half — which came when Smith had Richardson wrapped up and Richardson dropped the ball, drawing a penalty — but the Bulldogs kept getting into the backfield and influencing Richardson.


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