The question all week was who would step up in Brock Bowers absence. Even though Bowers made the trip to Jacksonville as one of the 74 players who traveled with the team, he would not be able to be the safety net for Carson Beck if things got hairy against Georgia’s most-hated rival. Well, Ladd McConkey’s 135 receiving yards was a welcomed substitute for Bower’s usual production. McConkey has been dynamic in his limited appearances this year as he battles back from a chronic back issue that has seriously limited his playing time. What is most remarkable is that McConkey, who has been limited in practice for months, looked to be the best receiver on the field for either team. Practice, reps, and conditioning aside, the guy is just that good. Gary Danielson even commented during the telecast that McConkey is essentially uncoverable one on one. A healthy McConkey, means a dynamic offense. Let’s hope the receiver’s back holds up for the rest of this difficult stretch of games to end the season.
Daijun Edwards averaged a cool 6.4 yards a carry on just 15 rushes while totaling 96 yards on the ground. Edwards is without a doubt the most underrated back in the SEC. Edwards is shifty, powerful and never misses a hole. He has a dog mentality that welcomes contact, pushes the pile and wants the ball. The South Georgia native is one of the true MVPs of the team and goes about his business with a quiet, work-first, team-first attitude. Edwards is the embodiment of what Kirby Smart wants in a football player. Someone who speaks with his pads, not his mouth. Edwards has become Georgia’s feature back and rightfully so. Expect Edwards to be leaned on heavily in the coming weeks.
Georgia scored 36 unanswered points after Florida opened the scoring with an impressive touchdown drive. Georgia has not started fast in its games this season, often falling behind to inferior teams. That happened again on Saturday as Florida came out throwing with some success to some very talented wideouts. The difference between this game and games against South Carolina and Auburn was that Georgia decided to step on the gas early and knock the Gators out before the start of the fourth quarter. The loss, and the manner of the losing, did not escape Florida coach Billy Napier. “Ultimately, you have to go through tough times, you have to make mistakes along the way. And we did that today,” Napier reflected after the loss. Georgia fans hope those tough times continue for the Gators, whose schedule doesn’t get much easier with LSU and FSU on the slate.
Georgia racked up seven tackles for loss in the first half alone against the Gators. None was bigger than Smael Mondon’s stop of Trevor Etienne’s ill-fated fourth down trick play-attempt. With the Gators trailing 10-7 and facing a fourth-and-one on its own 34-yard line, Florida decided to get cute with a direct snap to Etienne. After a bad snap, the talented running back attempted to pass the ball, but his receivers were covered as Mondon blew the play up for a three-yard loss. Billy Napier is known as a deep thinker, and that play was certainly a victim of overthinking what should have been a simple decision to punt the ball.
Carson Beck eclipsed the 300-yard mark yet again. The signal caller is playing some of the best football in the country at the quarterback position and continues to amass 300-yard passing games with ease. There is no doubt that Beck has a talented group of receivers, but rolling into Jacksonville without Brock Bowers (his leading receiver) was thought by many to be an issue. It wasn’t, and Beck is even starting to sneak into some Heisman talk.