Georgia (5-2) vs. Florida (6-1) 3:30 pm
Georgia is 3-2 against Florida over the last 5 years with the average margin of victory in the three wins coming by 5 points per game. Last season, Florida won the game 38-20 against the Bulldogs. Both teams have an extra week to prepare as they are both coming out of bye weeks.
The Bulldogs are averaging 33.1 points per game and have to find ways to get the ball into their play makers hands this coming weekend against a tough Gators defense. Georgia is averaging for 215 yards per game on the ground and is passing for 213 yards per game through the air. Quarterback Greyson Lambert has been inconsistent in big games and must do a better job of reading coverage this Saturday against an experienced secondary. Lambert is completing 64.1% of his passes for 1,276 yards with 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Georgia has not had that killer instinct offensively and will need to mix up their play calling in order to keep the Florida pass rush off balance. In order for Georgia to win this game, they will need to utilize play action passing on first and second down to keep the offense from being one dimensional. Georgia struggled with this in last year’s contest, running on first and second down forcing long third down situations for former quarterback Hutson Mason. In the game against Alabama earlier in the year, the Bulldogs passed early on and had success, but wavered from that as the game progressed putting pressure on their offensive line. Running back Sony Michel is a dual threat back that has rushed for 508 yards averaging 5.7 yards per carry with 4 touchdowns. Michel is lethal in the passing attack and must be utilized in the short to intermediate passing game on Saturday for the Bulldogs to have success. On the season, Michel has caught 16 passes for 187 yards with 3 touchdowns and can be used in the slot against nickel backs and linebackers to create mismatches for the Bulldogs. Wide receivers Malcolm Mitchell and Reggie Davis are a formidable duo that can take the top off of the defense and have combined for 47 receptions for 692 yards with 5 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Bulldogs are allowing 19.4 points per game and are very solid in run support giving up 120 yards on the ground to their opponents. Last year, the team feasted off of turnovers and was +16 in turnover margin. However, this year, the team is +1 in turnover margin and must be able to force turnovers on Saturday to get the victory. Former UAB linebacker Jake Ganus leads the team with 50 total tackles and is a smart player that is always around the football. In order to force the tempo on Saturday, the defense must be able to get pressure on Florida quarterback Treon Harris. Through the first 7 games, the team has a total of 13 sacks on the year and must find ways to pressure Harris into quick throws. Georgia is yielding 187 passing yards per game and will be challenged by a speedy group of Gators’ wide receivers in this game.
The Gators nearly upset LSU two weeks ago in Baton Rouge losing 35-28 in Death Valley. Quarterback Treon Harris made big plays and stepped up when his team needed him to in order to put the Gators in a position to pull off the road victory. On the season, Florida is averaging 31.6 points per game and is passing for 249 yards per game. Florida’s running attack has slowly started to fall off recently and the team is averaging 126 yards per game. Quarterback Treon Harris has completed 61% of his passes for 540 yards with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. He is a mobile quarterback that made solid decisions in the loss to LSU and will need to stretch Georgia’s secondary on Saturday to take the pressure off of the inconsistent running game. Running back Kelvin Taylor is an explosive back that can pound the football between the tackles and he leads the team with 463 yards with 8 touchdowns. Florida will need to run the football to establish the play action passing attack against Georgia. Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson is having a solid season and runs precise routes. Robinson leads the team with 36 receptions for 371 yards with 2 touchdowns and teammates, Antonio Calloway along with Brandon Powell, have added a combined 36 receptions for 602 yards with 5 scores. All three players are very fast and can put pressure on the Bulldogs secondary on Saturday afternoon.
The strength of the team has been the defense and this unit has been playing with an attitude all season long. Florida is yielding 17.3 points per game and is very good at stopping the run allowing 116 yards per game. The Gators are +9 in turnover margin and have 21 sacks on the year. Defensive lineman Johnathan Bullard leads the team with 4.5 sacks and teammate defensive tackle ALex McAllister is second on the team with 4 sacks. Because Florida has been able to generate pressure with their interior lineman, the unit has been very aggressive in run blitz packages that has allowed linebacker Antonio Morrison to roam free into running lanes. Morrison leads the team with 54 total tackles. Vernon Hargreaves III leads an experienced group of defenders in the secondary that is allowing 197 passing yards per game.
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Joseph Lisi a former ABC Sports college football researcher, is the owner of www.GOFORTHE2.COM. He is a member if the FWAA (Football Writers Association Of America),Maxwell Football Club and is currently the content editor atwww.2FiveSports.com.He contributes regularly to www.Sid-Rosenberg.com and has been a featured guest every Tuesday night from 10:30-11:30pm EST on Yahoo Sports Radio With Ken Thomson(www.sportsxradio.com).
Joe has been featured on the FNTSY Sports Network and The Sid Rosenberg Sports Radio Show 640AM Sports (South Florida). You can follow him on Twitter: @Goforthe2.
Joe has a weekly radio show on www.blogtalkradio.com with former Georgia Bulldogs WR Corey Allen called: