Bulldogs To Watch: Georgia vs. Florida

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Bulldogs To Watch: Georgia vs. Florida

Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) looks downfield in the first half as Kentucky played Georgia on October 31, 2020.  Photo by Mark Cornelison
Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) looks downfield in the first half as Kentucky played Georgia on October 31, 2020. Photo by Mark Cornelison

Stetson Bennett (QB, #13)

For Georgia to beat Florida, Stetson Bennett has to limit the mistakes against the Gators. He’s thrown five interceptions in the last seven quarters, which can’t happen moving forward. The south Georgia native completed nine of 13 passes for 131 yards and two interceptions in the Bulldogs 14-3 over Kentucky. Fans are questioning Kirby Smart’s loyalty. So, Bennett will have to relieve that pressure and have a flawless performance against a depleting Florida defense. Redshirt freshman D’wan Mathis is Georgia’s next best option behind Bennett.

Warren McClendon (OL, #70)

Warren McClendon has been a key part of Georgia’s offensive line this season as a reserve and now he’s moved up to the starting lineup. He came in and filled in against Arkansas and started at right tackle against Auburn. Standing at 6-foot-4, McClendon isn’t the tallest offensive lineup but is a part of a great wall that is protecting the quarterback. From Brunswick, Georgia., this matchup in Jacksonville will sort of be a homecoming party for McClendon. Last week against Kentucky, McClendon helped Georgia’s run-game rush for 215 yards and averaged five yards per attempt. They will be hoping to do that again versus the Gators.

Warren McClendon (70)

Demetris Robertson  (WR, #16)

Georgia may not be able to run the ball all game long against the Gators, so Georgia will need senior wide receiver Demetris Robertson to step up big time. Georgia’s pass offense was basically absent against Kentucky, and the team was missing sophomore George Pickens. Pickens’ availability is up in the air versus Florida, too. The Savannah, Georgia native Robertson has only hauled in seven receptions for 53 yards this season and is still looking to break through for his team.

Nate McBride (ILB #22)

Georgia’s inside linebacker position is facing some depth issues right now as senior Monty Rice is questionable with a foot injury and junior Quay Walker was hurt against Kentucky. So, senior Nate McBride will probably see more action on defense against Florida. The 6-2, 225-pound Vidalia, Georgia native has played in all four games this season on defense, but mostly in mop-up duty. Throughout his career, McBride has been a key part of Georgia’s special teams, but will now get a real chance in Georgia’s biggest game of the year.

Nolan Smith  (OLB, #4)

Georgia’s defense is battling an injury bug and will limp into its matchup against Florida. So, sophomore outside linebacker Nolan Smith will be a huge key in getting pressure on Florida’s Kyle Trask. Smith was one of Georgia’s biggest recruits in the 2019 class and has proved his worth many times in his short career in Athens. He’s played extensively in all four of the Bulldogs’ games to date with his first start coming in Georgia’s win over Tennessee. Smith has 14 total stops this season with 2.5 sacks resulting in losses of 19 yards. Look for him to be a key part of Georgia’s potential success on defense this Saturday.

Georgia placekicker Jack Podlesny (96) during the Bulldogs’ game with Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. (Photo by Skylar Lien)

Jack Podlesny (K, #96)

Georgia placekicker Jack Podlesny has been a surprisingly great addition to its special teams this year. The St. Simons Island, Georgia. native won the starting job in preseason camp and has been solid for most of the season. He’s made 8 of 10 field goals this season. He saw his first collegiate start against Arkansas and connected on both field goals that game. Georgia’s game against Florida will come down to who has the better special teams and “Hot Pod” will need to be flawless if the Bulldogs want to secure a win in Jacksonville.

In his 25 seasons at the Georgia helm, Hall of Fame coach Vince Dooley guided the Bulldogs to a 17-7-1 record against Florida, and never lost back-to-back games against the Gators.

The greatest and most beloved college football player ever, Herschel Walker was 3-0 against the Gators, running for 238, 192 and 219 yards with eight TDs in Jacksonville.

In 2017, Kirby Smart became the fourth different Bulldogs coach to lead Georgia to a Southeastern Conference championship, joining Wally Butts, Vince Dooley and Mark Richt.

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Currently an intern for BI, and a junior journalism major at the University of Georgia.