“The Worlds Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party,” or the Florida vs Georgia game to outsiders, provides one of the best games of the season each year. The scores may not always be high and the games may not always be the prettiest, but you can always count on seeing some of the top NFL Draft prospects in the country going head-to-head. This years matchup, taking place this Saturday in Jacksonville, FL, is no different.
The seasons may not be going the way either team has planned, largely because of the insane amount of injuries each team has incurred this season. But rest assured, there will still be a plethora of elite players making big plays in this exciting matchup, particularly the chess match that’s likely to occur between the top two prospects in the game.
The two biggest prospects of the game, Georgia QB Aaron Murray and Florida CB Louchiez Purifoy, will provide the most interesting matchup. Murray, at this point thought by most to be a third round prospect, has had a good, but not great, season. Through seven games, Murray has passed for 1,938 yards for 17 TDs to go along with 6 INTs.
Purifoy, graded by most as a first rounder, also had a solid, but unspectacular season for the Gators with 14 tackles, a sack and an interception. The lack of big stats is largely a byproduct of QBs keying away from him, and true freshman CB Vernon Hargreaves has taken advantage of the increased work load with three INTs so far.
Murray has the most to gain in this matchup. He’s seen his draft stock stumble since the LSU game, and has been looking for a big bounce back, especially after hitting rock bottom against Vanderbilt. The last two games against divisional foes Missouri and Vandy (both losses), Murray has just as many INTs as he does TDs (three) and has completed less than 57 percent of his passes. Vandy also held Murray to just 114 yards passing, the second lowest mark he’s had in his 48 career starts.
A big game against a huge rival, and against one of, if not the best pure cover men in the country, could do absolute wonders for Murray. A performance similar to the one he had against LSU, with nearly 300 yards passing four TDs, just might be enough to put him back into the second round mix.
Purifoy is looking for his first big time performance of the year, after a slightly disappointing performance against LSU earlier in the month, which was the only time he went against a top flight SEC QB this year.
The game would be incredibly interesting even if there wasn’t so much draft stock at stake, but since there is, especially for these top two prospects, it makes it even more intriguing.