Sports Network - Home Record: Florida 3-1, Georgia 3-1. Away Record: Florida 1-2, Georgia 1-3. Neutral Record: Florida 0-0, Georgia 0-0. Conference Record: Florida 2-3, Georgia 3-3. Series Record: Georgia leads, 47-39-2.
GAME NOTES: Two SEC teams headed in different directions will intersect in Jacksonville this weekend as the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators do battle.
It is hard to believe that Florida isn’t ranked, especially considering the fact that the team opened this season with four consecutive double-digit wins. Unfortunately, the Gators have suffered three straight defeats, including a 10-7 setback to Mississippi State on October 16th. Florida is now 2-3 in SEC action and has had two weeks to prepare for this week’s showdown.
Georgia has won its last three games, enabling the team to even its overall record at 4-4 and move to 3-3 in SEC action. Last weekend, the Bulldogs posted a 44-31 victory over Kentucky, the third straight game in which they topped the 40-point plateau. It should be pointed out that Georgia has yet to defeat one of the better teams in the conference, so there is still plenty of work to be done.
Although Georgia owns a 47-39-2 series advantage over Florida, the Gators have won the last two matchups.
Florida is generating 27.6 ppg and 329.0 total ypg this season, numbers that fall well shy of what has come to be expected from an Urban Meyer offense. The Gators have scored 22 offensive touchdowns to date, 16 of which have come via the ground attack. Jeff Demps paces Florida with 450 rushing yards, while Trey Burton has scored eight rushing touchdowns. As for the passing attack, John Brantley has completed 62 percent of his attempts for 1,266 yards and six touchdowns with only five interceptions, but he has done nothing to make fans of the program forget Tim Tebow. Deonte Thompson paces the receivers with 25 catches for 353 yards.
Against Mississippi State last time out, Florida finished with only seven points despite a respectable total of 361 total yards. The Gators turned the ball over twice and were 6-of-16 on third-down conversion attempts. Florida reached the red zone three times but came away with points only once. Brantley threw for 210 yards, but there was a glaring lack of big plays.
While the Florida offense has clearly struggled this season, especially in the last three games, the team’s defense has been strong, limiting foes to 18.7 ppg and 297.9 total ypg. The Gators are permitting just 3.8 yards per rushing attempt, and they have yielded a rather low total of 14 touchdowns to opposing offenses through seven games. Florida has intercepted 13 passes, overshadowing a low total of three fumble recoveries. Ahmad Black has been the squad’s top defender, as he has posted 60 total tackles while recording three interceptions.
The Gators managed to hold Mississippi State to 245 total yards, a stellar effort by the defense. After allowing 10 points to the Bulldogs in the first quarter, Florida blanked the Bulldogs the rest of the way, but Brantley and the offense failed to capitalize.
Georgia’s game against Kentucky last weekend turned into the Washaun Ealey show, as he rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries and set a school record with five touchdowns on the ground. Redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray wasn’t asked to do much with his arm, but he did complete nine of the 12 passes he attempted for 113 yards with no interceptions. Star wideout A.J. Green recorded six catches for 86 yards, and Georgia lit up the scoreboard despite finishing with a modest total of 290 yards.
The Bulldogs are averaging 382.1 total ypg and 31.5 ppg, solid numbers for a talented team. Murray has been outstanding, especially considering his youth, as he has completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 1,766 yards and 12 touchdowns with only three interceptions. Green, who has only played in four games, has made 22 catches for 365 yards and four touchdowns. As for Ealey, he has 526 rushing yards and seven touchdowns to his credit.
There are both positives and negatives to point out regarding Georgia’s defensive effort against Kentucky last time out. The Bulldogs yielded 353 passing yards in that contest and four touchdowns through the air. On the other hard, they held the Wildcats to 70 rushing yards on 31 attempts and forced four turnovers, including three fumbles.
Opponents are generating 19.1 ppg and 306.8 total ypg against Georgia, which has been much better against the run than the pass. The Bulldogs are holding foes to 99.2 rushing ypg at a clip of only 2.9 yards per rushing attempt. Unfortunately, Georgia is yielding 14.7 yards per pass completion, and 12 passing scores have been permitted.
In what figures to be a close game from start to finish, give the edge to Georgia, which is playing with far more confidence than Florida at the moment. The lack of big plays on offense is killing the Gators.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia 28, Florida 24