The ‘World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party’ will also host a college football game of some significance. Georgia and Florida will go at it in Jacksonville with the SEC East on the line. Both teams had last week off–before that, Florida did something that Georgia couldn’t do this year: beat the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia. Florida’s only loss came the same weekend that Georgia lost to South Carolina with the Gators dropping a 42-28 verdict at LSU.
Both teams have nasty defenses. Georgia has the #7 total defense in the country giving up just 266.7 yards per game. Florida is #25 allowing 319.5 yards per game but have been improving throughout the year. Scoring defense is a similar story–Georgia is #5 allowing just 10.3 PPG while Florida is #12 giving up 15.8 PPG. Dawgs also have the #5 rushing defense in college football allowing 85.7 yards per game on the ground. Georgia hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown this season. Florida’s defense on the ground is decent as well at #32 allowing 124.1 yards per game.
Georgia’s offense has stagnated as the Dawgs have stepped up in class this season and they’ve scored just 38 points in their last two games. Statistically, they’ve been especially weak moving the ball through the air where they rank #62 nationally with just 234.4 yards per game. Of course, statistics are only valuable when they’re put into context and there’s definitely some context here. As the season has progressed, Georgia has emphasized the running game more and more. Last week the passing numbers show Georgia went 9 for 12 for a total of 35 yards. Instead the Bulldogs relentlessly pounded Kentucky with their rushing game running the ball 43 times for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bulldogs are #15 nationally in rushing yards per game (236.9) and #5 nationally in yards per rush with 6.07 yards per carry.
Florida’s rushing defense has looked vulnerable of late–they gave up 218 yards to pass first LSU along with 3 rushing touchdowns. Against South Carolina, they allowed 217 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Florida definitely has the more potent offense with more ‘big play’ weapons. Their ability to employ these weapons against Georgia’s defense is questionable. Furthermore, it provides even more incentive for the Bulldogs to focus on the running game to keep the clock moving and keep Florida’s offense on the sidelines. Florida might have a good defense but there’s little to suggest that they’re equal to Georgia’s stop unit. They’re definitely not as physical and physicality on both sides of the ball will carry the day here.