- Chris Low, ESPN Senior Staff Writer
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There is no such thing as an unsightly victory in this rivalry, especially if you're of the Georgia persuasion.
The No. 22 Bulldogs didn't win any style points Saturday, but they did take a huge step toward winning the Eastern Division championship by slugging their way past Florida in a 24-20 victory that was a long time coming for the Bulldogs in this series.
Georgia (6-2, 5-1) won for only the fourth time in the last 22 meetings between these two schools and snapped a three-game losing streak to its arch-rival.
More importantly, the Bulldogs won their sixth straight game after opening the season 0-2 and will be rooting hard for South Carolina to lose later Saturday night at Tennessee or at Arkansas the following week or to Florida on Nov. 12.
The Gamecocks hold the head-to-head tiebreaker based on their 45-42 win against the Bulldogs the second week of the season.
Special teams play was a disaster for Georgia, but the Bulldogs' defense rose to the challenge time and time again.
The Gators (4-4, 2-4) managed just one first down in the second half. Jeff Demps had a 72-yard catch and run on the first play of the game, but Florida was held to just 154 total yards the rest of the way.
Senior quarterback John Brantley returned for the Gators after missing the last two games with a high ankle sprain and had success throwing the ball in the first half. But it was obvious he was hurting in the second half and was noticeably limping.
Sacked six times in the game, Brantley had 226 passing yards at the half, but managed just 19 more after the break.
Jarvis Jones had four of the Bulldogs' six sacks, including one on fourth down in the final minutes to seal the win.
18mSam Khan Jr.
23hGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough