JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — This was not a game where personal milestones mattered much for Georgia players.
Even so, Jasper Sanks had to feel some satisfaction. Two years after his fourth-quarter fumble inside the Florida 20 was a major blow to Georgia's hopes of beating the Gators, he was given the opportunity to take the rushing lead for the Bulldogs.
On a day where there were six turnovers, including three fumbles, Sanks — a senior from Columbus — was one of the few to successfully protect the ball.
Playing in his final Georgia-Florida game, Sanks delivered his longest run since 1999 — a 22-yarder. He also scored his first touchdown of the season, high-stepping into the end zone from the 3 in the second quarter.
Sanks led Georgia with 16 carries for 56 yards. Fullback Verron Haynes had six carries for 14 yards. Musa Smith, still bothered by a groin injury, netted only 12 yards on four carries.
Sanks' scoring run was the only bright spot on a day filled with red-zone problems for the Georgia offense.
"It was frustrating because we were moving the ball up and down the field,'' Sanks said. "It was more just us beating ourselves.''
Georgia was stopped on the Florida 6-yard line on a failed fourth-down play, on the 14 by a missed field goal, on the 24 by a fourth-down stop, on the 38 due to a fumble by quarterback David Greene and finally on the Florida 17 near the end of the game when a fourth-and-10 pass to Haynes fell four yards shy of the first-down marker.
Edwards shut out:
For the first time in his career, junior Terrence Edwards was held without a catch. As expected, Edwards did not start. He made his first appearance on Georgia's first play of the second quarter.
Edwards had two passes thrown his way Saturday. One was catchable and one was high and out of bounds.
Plagued by drops this season, Edwards was benched. He had caught passes in all 30 games (including two bowl games).
Georgia opened with three receivers: LaBrone Mitchell, who started for Edwards, Damien Gary and Michael Johnson. Fred Gibson came in the game on Georgia's second play.
Witherspoon aggravates knee injury:
Georgia outside linebacker Will Witherspoon took a hit to his sprained knee late in Wednesday's practice and didn't last the first quarter Saturday.
Late in the quarter, Witherspoon limped off the field after he collided with cornerback Bruce Thornton when the two were closing in on Florida receiver Reche Caldwell. Witherspoon was not in uniform for the second half.
It was not known how severely Witherspoon aggravated the injury.
Meanwhile, starting middle linebacker Tony Gilbert said he may have suffered a slight concussion while making a stop late in the fourth quarter.
At the end of the game, Boss Bailey was Georgia's only surviving starting linebacker. Chris Clemons and Adrian Hollingshed finished the game at the other two linebacker positions.
A switch to a 3-4:
Georgia opened with a different defensive look, starting three defensive linemen and four linebackers. Clemons was the fourth linebacker. Tackle Johnathan Sullivan did not start.
No kicks for Gibson:
Gibson's emergence as a big-play receiver had overshadowed his role as Georgia's most effective return specialist on kickoffs. Entering the game, Gibson led Georgia with his average of 28.6 yards on 10 kickoff returns.
Florida coach Steve Spurrier neutralized Gibson's returns by having kicker Matt Piotrowicz pooch most of his kickoffs. Twice in the first half the short kickoffs were fielded by fullback J.T. Wall, who was intended to be a blocker for Gibson. Wall gained only nine yards on the two returns in the first half and fumbled another kickoff, recovered by teammate David Pollack, in the fourth quarter.
Though he did not have a kickoff return, Gibson led Georgia with seven catches for 131 yards, becoming the first receiver in school records to post three straight games with at least 100 yards receiving. Georgia records date back to 1970.
Champ Bailey (1998), Hines Ward (1996) and Hason Graham (1994) are the only other receivers to have three 100-yard games in a season, but none accomplished the feat in three straight games.
Hall of Famers:
Running back Robert Edwards and quarterback Charley Britt were Georgia's 2001 inductees into the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame. Media and sports officials from Athens, Gainesville, Fla., and Jacksonville select two inductees from each school each year.
Edwards, the older brother of current Georgia receiver Terrence Edwards, was selected for his 135 yards rushing and four touchdowns in Georgia's 37-17 win in 1997. Britt threw a touchdown pass and returned an interception for a touchdown in a 21-10 win over Florida in 1959.
This year's Florida inductees were Chris Doering, who caught three touchdown passes in Florida's 1995 win in Athens, and John Reaves, who threw two fourth-quarter in the Gators' 1970 win.
The inductees served as honorary captains and were on the field for the pregame coin toss.
Charles Odum can be reached at CEOdum@aol.com.