No. 3 UGA thumps ri­val Florida 42-7

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - By Mark Long As­so­ci­ated Press Sports Writer

JACK­SONVILLE, Fla. — Sony Michel slipped through the line un­touched, sprinted past sev­eral defenders and then spun into the end zone. The rout was on, and the los­ing streak was es­sen­tially over.

Michel put Geor­gia up big early and put Florida away late, scor­ing on two long runs in a 42-7 drub­bing that might have been the fi­nal game for Ga­tors coach Jim McEl­wain. It was Florida’s most lop­sided loss in the series since a 44-0 shutout in 1982. Michel fin­ished with 137 yards rush­ing on just six car­ries and helped the Bull­dogs re­main un­beaten and in con­trol in the SEC’s Eastern Di­vi­sion.

Nick Chubb also scored for Geor­gia (8-0, 5-0 SEC), which started 8-0 for the first time since 2002 and ended a three-game los­ing streak in “The World’s Largest Out­door Cock­tail Party.”

“This meant a lot to get a win,” line­backer Lorenzo Carter said. “It’s one of the rea­sons I came back for my se­nior year. We hadn’t beaten them and I wanted to go out with a win. We had to fin­ish out the right way, and we did.”

So lift a glass to Geor­gia. And pour one out for McEl­wain.

“I haven’t been told any­thing,” said McEl­wain, who is now 22- 12 in three sea­sons. “There have been no con­ver­sa­tions about that. . . . Noth­ing in this world sur­prises me. I know what I was brought here to do. Look, we haven’t been good on of­fense. I get it. We’ve won a few games, but we haven’t won enough; haven’t won a cham­pi­onship. That’s real. That’s life. And I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity for all of it, no doubt.”

Florida (3-4, 3-3) started the day by re­spond­ing to a tweet from a sports lawyer who said Florida and McEl­wain’s agent, Jimmy Sex­ton, have en­gaged in buy­out ne­go­ti­a­tions and are “miles apart.” Ath­letic di­rec­tor Scott Strick­lin re­leased a state­ment sev­eral hours be­fore the game say­ing the re­port was in­ac­cu­rate.

“No one rep­re­sent­ing the Univer­sity of Florida or our ath­letic depart­ment has had any con­ver­sa­tions with Coach McEl­wain or his rep­re­sen­ta­tives re­gard­ing a buy­out of his con­tract,” Strick­lin said.

McEl­wain was t old about it dur­ing a team break­fast. “Those eggs didn’t taste real good,” he said.

But Strick­lin stopped short of giv­ing McEl­wain a vote of con­fi­dence af­ter one of the strangest weeks in pro­gram his­tory.

McEl­wain cre­ated a firestorm Mon­day when he said Florida play­ers and fam­i­lies re­ceived death threats amid the team’s strug­gles. Strick­lin met with McEl­wain in hopes of gath­er­ing more in­for­ma­tion and help­ing al­le­vi­ate any safety con­cerns.

McEl­wain re­buffed his ef­forts, prompt­ing a state­ment from the ath­letic de- part­ment that es­sen­tially crit­i­cized McEl­wain for be­ing un­co­op­er­a­tive. His re­ac­tion raised ques­tions about his re­la­tion­ship with Strick­lin and prompted spec­u­la­tion about whether he even wants to be at Florida any longer.

Here are the big ques­tions: Can Florida fire McEl­wain with cause and avoid a $12.9 mil­lion buy­out or are they will­ing to part ways re­gard­less?

Florida’s per­for­mance against Geor­gia surely doesn’t bode well for McEl­wain’s job se­cu­rity.

The Bull­dogs scored on their first three pos­ses­sions and led 21-0 be­fore the Ga­tors picked up a first down. Geor­gia used three huge plays to build a three-touch­down lead.

Fromm found D’An­dre Swift in the flat for a 39yard gain that set up Chubbs’ 6-yard touch­down run. Do­minick San­ders in­ter­cepted Feleipe Franks’ pass on the en­su­ing pos­ses­sion, and Fromm threw a per­fect, 17-yard pass to Javon Wims in the cor­ner of the end zone. Michel added his first of two scores, a 74-yarder mid­way through the se­cond quar­ter. He added a 45yard TD scam­per in the third.

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