The #2 Florida Gators (7-0, 6-0 in SEC) and #10 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 in SEC) will clash in what should be a very interesting SEC showdown on Saturday afternoon at EverBank Field home of the NFL‘s Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams enter the game coming off of victories last week but the Gators have much more to lose with a loss in this contest then the Bulldogs do. If the Gators lose then they can pretty much kiss their BCS Championship Game hopes goodbye as well as their undefeated season where as if the Bulldogs lose it will be their second of the season and just another stepping stone for this young team.
The Gators are currently ranked 118th in passing yards gained per game (137.7 yards), 25th in rushing yards gained per game (212.7 yards), 55th in points scored per game (30.1 points), fourth in points allowed per game (12.1 points) and seventh in offensive yards allowed per game (282 yards). The Gators no-name defense is one of the best units in the land that goes two deep at almost every defensive position however their offense often looks bad out on the field especially in passing situations.
Quarterback Jeff Driskel is having a decent season so far passing for 929 yards and eight touchdowns while completing 66.9% of his pass attempts and throwing just one interception. Driskel has also rushed for 321 yards and four touchdowns on 66 carries. If the Gators want to impress this game then they’ll need Driskel to be a quarterback and not just a game manager, but as we all know they will rely on the running attack much more than they will their passing game. The major cog in that running game is senior running back Mike Gillislee who has rushed for 652 yards and seven touchdowns on 139 carries this season and will be looking to have a big game this week following a disappointing one last week vs South Carolina (19 carries for 37 yards).
The Bulldogs have a very good offense however they tend to allow good defenses to get the best of them as they did in their sole loss of the season to South Carolina. Georgia ranks 30th in both passing yards gained per game (281.7 yards) as well as rushing yards gained per game (205.1 yards) and 17th in points score per game (39.6 points) however their defense ranks 49th in yards allowed per game (367.4 yards) and 50th in points allowed per game (24.1 yards). If the Bulldogs want to upset the Gators in this SEC grudge match then they will need both units to step and play better than they have displayed they’re capable of in big game situations so far this season.
Junior signal caller Aaron Murray must have a big game against Florida’s defense if the Bulldogs are to stand a chance. This season Murray has passed for 1,914 yards and 16 touchdowns while completing 65.3% of his attempts and tossing just four interceptions but in their loss to South Carolina he completed just 11 of his 31 attempts for 109 yards and an interception without throwing a single touchdown pass. Not only will Murray have to rise to the occasion but so will the freshman running back duo of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. This season the fab freshmen have rushed for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns on 163 carries combined but vs South Carolina they only produced 76 yards on 25 carries without making a trip to the endzone. The Bulldogs three best offensive players have to show up in this game in order for them to have a chance. Another player who is crucial in this game is Bulldogs outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, if he cvan control what Florida tries to do on the ground and forces Driskel to beat them with his arm they have a very good chance at winning this game.
This one is a tough one for me to predict because I don’t believe in Florida’s offense one bit but the last time that I took Georgia in a big game they disappointed mightily. In the end I think the Bulldogs have learned from their past mistakes and will pull out the victory in this one; Georgia 24 – Florida 12.