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No. 8 Florida seizes control of SEC East with convincing win over No. 5 Georgia

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No. 8 Florida got its first win over No. 5 Georgia since 2016 with an easy 44-28 win to take control of the SEC East.

Florida QB Kyle Trask threw for 474 yards — a career-high and the most any Florida QB has thrown against Georgia in the history of the storied rivalry. Georgia, meanwhile, couldn’t keep up despite jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

That lead disappeared by the end of the opening quarter and Florida entered halftime outscoring the Bulldogs 38-7 after Georgia WR Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint suffered a gruesome right leg injury while scoring Georgia’s second TD of the game.

The only points for Georgia in that stretch came via an Eric Stokes interception returned for a touchdown. That pass was Trask’s lowlight. Outside of that and another pass that ended with a dropped pick-six, he was fantastic. Trask threw for four TDs and has established himself as serious contender for the Heisman Trophy.

Through five games, Trask is 125-of-182 passing for 1,815 yards and 22 touchdowns and three interceptions. It’s not a big stretch at all to say that Trask is on pace to at least be a Heisman finalist and could end up emerging as a favorite if Florida finishes the regular season at 9-1.

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 3: Kyle Trask #11 of the Florida Gators makes a pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks on October 3, 2020 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Tim Casey/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)
Kyle Trask threw for 474 yards on Saturday. (Photo by Tim Casey/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

Georgia’s QB woes

While Florida has a potential Heisman winner playing quarterback, Georgia would simply take above average QB play at this point. QB Stetson Bennett was again underwhelming and eventually replaced by D’Wan Mathis — the man Bennett replaced in Week 1 — in the second half. Mathis came into the game in place of Bennett as USC transfer J.T. Daniels appears to still be recovering from the knee injury that sidelined him for most of the 2019 season.

Bennett and Mathis were a combined 9-of-29 passing for 112 yards and two scores and three interceptions. Bennett was just 5-of-16 for 78 yards before he was pulled for Mathis. He wasn’t much better, though he was overly aggressive throwing the ball down the field whenever he could.

If Georgia could find competent QB play, the Bulldogs would have — at the very least — been more competitive against Alabama and Florida. And it might have won one or both of those games. But the QB position is clearly holding back Georgia, and it’s a struggle that’s magnified with every game that Justin Fields plays at Ohio State.

It also didn’t help that Georgia’s injury-plagued defense lost another key contributor during Saturday’s game. The Bulldogs entered the game without star safety Richard LeCounte and starting safety Lewis Cine was ejected for targeting on an awful hit against star Florida tight end Kyle Pitts in the first half. Both players were down on the field after the collision.

Pitts never returned to the game and Cine was treated in Georgia’s injury tent after the hit.

Pitts, the best tight end in the country, scored a touchdown and had two catches for 59 yards before he left the game.

The East is Florida’s to lose

The Gators have the clear path to a likely matchup with Alabama in the SEC title game on Dec. 19. And Dan Mullen has his first win over Georgia as UF’s coach.

At 4-1, Florida doesn’t have any ranked teams remaining on its schedule. Since Florida now has the head-to-head tiebreaker with Georgia, the Gators need to lose twice if Georgia goes undefeated the rest of the way. With games remaining against Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee and LSU on Florida’s schedule, it’s hard to find two losses there.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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