Georgia (4-3) vs. Florida (4-3)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 2, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: EverBank Field (76,867) -- Jacksonville, Florida.
Television: CBS. Home Record: UGA 3-1, UF 3-0. Away Record: UGA 1-2, UF 1-3.
Neutral Record: UGA 0-0, UF 0-0. Conference Record: UGA 3-2, UF 3-2. Series
Record: Georgia leads, 48-40-2.
GAME NOTES: A pair of disappointing SEC Eastern Division rivals meet at
EverBank Field in Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon, as the Georgia Bulldogs
take on the Florida Gators.
This marks just the second time since 1980 that both squads come into this
matchup unranked. The last time it occurred was in 2010, when Florida won in
overtime, 34-31. Even though Georgia has the advantage in the all-time series
(48-40-2), the Gators have had the upper hand of late, going 18-5 since 1990.
Georgia, which came into this season with a No. 5 ranking and national
championship aspirations, has fallen on hard times and is just 4-3 overall and
3-2 in conference. The Bulldogs have been ravaged by injury, which is part of
the reason they have dropped two straight to Missouri (41-26) and Vanderbilt
Florida has also been trending in the wrong direction of late, as it too was
effectively bounced from the national polls following back-to-back road losses
to LSU (17-6) and Missouri (36-17). The Gators have an identical record as the
Bulldogs (4-3, 3-2 SEC), and both squads sit a game behind first-place
Missouri in the SEC East.
The Bulldogs have taken a tumble due in large part to devastating injuries on
the offensive side of the ball, having lost more than half a dozen skill
players to long-term ailments. Even with luck not on its side, UGA still has
one of the SEC's most potent offenses (36.0 ppg, 475.0 ypg).
The lack of a strong supporting cast has cost Aaron Murray a shot at the
Heisman Trophy in this, his senior season, but he has played well nevertheless
in completing better than 62 percent of his passes for 1,938 yards with 22
touchdowns (five rushing) paired with only six interceptions. Murray is on the
brink of a few treasured SEC records, as he sits just 29 yards behind Tim
Tebow for career total offense (12,232 yards) and needs only three touchdown
passes to surpass Danny Wuerffel's record of 114.
The offense appears to be in for a huge boost with the probable return of Todd
Gurley (450 yards, four TDs), who averaged better than 112 rushing yards per
game before going down with an ankle injury against LSU on Sept. 28. J.J.
Green (313 yards, TD), who filled in nicely in Gurley's absence, will still
earn some touches now that Keith Marshall is out for the season.
With Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley out and Chris Conley listed as
doubtful, the most trusted target left for Murray is tight end Arthur Lynch
(14 receptions, 212 yards, two TDs). Rantavious Wooten (14 receptions, 174
yards, three TDs) has also seen increased looks in recent weeks.
Georgia's problems run much deeper than its injury woes on offense. The
defense has been uncharacteristically bad, as the unit ranks last in the SEC
in allowing 33.3 ppg while only forcing seven turnovers in seven games.
Ramik Wilson has racked up a team-high 69 tackles to go with 5.5 TFL and 2.0
sacks. Jordan Jenkins (8.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 15 QB hurries) and Ray Drew (6.0
TFL, 5.0 sacks, eight QB hurries) are top prospects along the defensive line.
Much like Georgia, Florida has been bitten hard by the injury bug on offense
with the loss of QB Jeff Driskel, RB Matt Jones, WR Andre Debose and OT Chaz
Green for the season, but unlike the Bulldogs, the Gators have not been able
to overcome it as they rank 12th in the league in scoring offense (21.1 ppg)
and last in total offense (336.9 ypg).
Tyler Murphy has replaced Driskel under center, and while his numbers appear
respectable (.627 completions, 814 total yards, seven TDs, two INTs), he
accounted for just 207 passing yards, -58 rushing yards and zero scores in the
last two losses.
In the absence of Jones, Mack Brown (359 yards, three TDs) will shoulder the
rushing load, although he is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry.
Receivers Trey Burton (29 receptions, 336 yards, TD), Solomon Patton (28
receptions, 426 yards, four TDs) and Quinton Dunbar (22 receptions, 301 yards)
are all having solid seasons.
Florida's saving grace has been the outstanding play of its defense, which
ranks eighth in the nation in scoring defense (16.3 ppg) and fourth in total
defense (273.1 ypg), although the unit has also dealt with injury issues, with
DT Dominique Easley, CB Nick Washington and LB Jeremi Powell done for the
Dante Fowler is the top defensive playmaker with 8.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, six QB
hurries, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Michael Taylor (41
tackles, two FR), Cody Riggs (29 tackles, 6.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks), Vernon
Hargreaves III (three INTs) and Brian Poole (two INTs) have also been
Florida's offense should be able to put some points up against a porous
Georgia defense. The X-factor in this one is clearly Gurley for the Bulldogs.
If he is able to return and bring the necessary balance back to the offense,
figure UGA to get back in the win column.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Georgia 28, Florida 27
10/30 10:37:49 ET