The Matchup: #2 Florida (7-0, 6-0) vs. #10 Georgia (6-1, 4-1)
When: Saturday, October 27th
Where: Jacksonville, Florida
Game Time: 3:30 PM ET
Recent History: Florida has won seven of the last 10 games against Georgia, but the Bulldogs left Jacksonville with a 24-20 win last season. Florida hasn’t lost back-to-back games to UGA since ‘88-‘89.
Florida Will Win If: The Gators stop Aaron Murray’s big plays in the passing game. Georgia leads the SEC in plays over 20, 30 and 40 yards, and it’s largely due to Murray’s ability to stretch the field with his arm. The Gators’ defense has only yielded four plays over 30 yards and three plays over 40 yards this season. The longest touchdown scored on Florida’s defense was a 12-yard run against Bowling Green. Georgia’s offense lives and dies on the big play from Murray to running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. We know Will Muschamp will try and take away one aspect of Georgia’s offense. Will it be the passing game, or will it be the running game? When Georgia’s offense is firing on all cylinders, they are running the football down people’s throats with their talented freshmen duo. Look for Muschamp to take away Gurley and Marshall, and he’ll let his corners play on an island against the Bulldogs’ receivers until they prove otherwise.
Georgia Will Win If: The Bulldogs stop the Gators’ running game. There are several aspects of the Florida running game. They can go with a straight power game with Mike Gillislee, mix in more of a zone-read option attack with Jeff Driskel and Gillislee, or go to the Wildcat with Trey Burton. It’s a physical running game, no matter the guy toting the rock or the formation. Florida averages over 212 yards on the ground per game, and they will try and ram it down the Bulldogs’ throats. The Bulldogs’ defense gets Jarvis Jones back, a defense that saw Kentucky run for over 200 yards without him.
Interesting Stat: Will Muschamp has never been on winning side of a Florida-Georgia game. He lost four straight games during his career as a Bulldog, and he lost as Florida’s head coach in his debut last season.
Storyline(s): No doubt the biggest storyline exiting Jacksonville is that the winner represents the East in Atlanta. Florida owns the Eastern crown with a win, and Georgia jumps to the front with a win but will have to beat Ole Miss and Auburn in the next two weeks. Throw the stats out the window, because this is a rivalry game.
Player(s) To Watch: All eyes will be on both quarterbacks.
For Florida, Jeff Driskel has been very efficient at times and has made all the plays he’s had to throughout the course of seven weeks. He threw for four touchdowns last week with only 93 yards through the air. He’ll also make some plays in the ground game and on option plays. He’s thrown for 929 yards and eight touchdowns with only one INT and carried 66 times for 321 yards and four touchdowns. He’s calm under pressure and knows where to go with the football. Driskel is improving throughout the season, and he’s 6-0 as a starter.
For Georgia, Aaron Murray is going to have to be on his game again. This Florida defense will force Murray to make tight throws in order to move the chains. The Gators’ defense won’t give Georgia room to breathe in the running game, and Murray is going to have to make explosive plays like he’s been making all season. He made two crucial fourth-down touchdown passes in last year’s game that proved to be the difference. Murray has thrown for 1,914 yards and 16 touchdowns with only 4 INTs through seven games.
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE