Florida passing game falls flat in loss

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida has been able to win games and become a national championship contender despite not having an explosive offense.

The Gators have been able to overcome that by playing suffocating defense, being outstanding on special teams and dominating field position. It's not pretty or exciting but it had them on the verge of an SEC Eastern Division title.

Until Saturday.

That's when the offense blew the Gators' season apart.

Florida turned the ball over six times, including on a fumble on a potential game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter, and lost to rival Georgia 17-9 in front of 86,644 at EverBank Field. That's two more turnovers than the second-ranked Gators (7-1, 6-1 SEC) had in their previous seven games.

"I've said all season long we're not a team that has a lot of margin of error," UF coach Will Muschamp said. "Six turnovers. Wow. That's tough to overcome.

"... We're just not quite there explosive enough offensively to overcome six turnovers at the end of the day."

QB Jeff Driskel accounted for four of those turnovers (two turnovers, two fumbles) and RB/FB Trey Burton had a fumble through three quarters. But despite those mistakes, the Gators still had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, until Georgia LB Jarvis Jones knocked the ball out of TE Jordan Reed's hands as Reed was attempting to leap into the end zone.

That sealed the first back-to-back wins by Georgia (7-1, 5-1) in the series since the Bulldogs won three in a row from 1987-89. It also exposed a glaring weakness in Florida's offense: The passing game is limited.

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