Offense – DAWGS
Georgia’s offense has been every bit as potent as expected before the season began. The Dawgs are averaging 41.7 PPG (#10 nationally), 527 YPG (#4 nationally), 330 passing YPG (#10 nationally), and 197 rushing YPG (#30 nationally). Georgia got back to running the ball effectively the last couple of weeks and if the Dawgs can keep teams honest by hitting some deep shots, they should continue to roll up points. Florida’s running game has been the offenses only bright spot, producing an average of 214 YPG (#17 nationally). Florida ranks 91st nationally in passing YPG and ranks 101st nationally in PPG. Anthony Richardson is only completing a less-than-pedestrian 57 percent of his passes and has more interceptions (7) than TD passes (6).
Defense – DAWGS
The Dawgs’ defense may be the best in the Country. After 7 games, the Dawgs are only giving up 9.1 PPG (#2 nationally), 247 YPG (#3 nationally), 164 passing YPG (#8 nationally), and 83 rushing YPG (#5 nationally). The Dawgs have accomplished this with their All-American DL, Jalen Carter, who has played little more than one game. Carter should be back for the Florida game. The Gators rank 106th in total defense giving up nearly 430 YPG. Florida is statistically weak against the run and pass. Florida ranks 87th in the Country against the pass and 111th against the run. Unlike Georgia, Florida does not have great depth defensively and they tend to wear down as the game progresses.
Special Teams – DAWGS
Jack Podlesny has been superb for Georgia this year, making 14/16 of his field goal attempts. Jack Pod has a career 83 percent average converting field goals, which bests Rodrigo Blankenship’s career field goal percentage of 82.5. Punter Brett Thorson has also been steady for the Dawgs. Thorson has not been called on much this year but is averaging a respectable 43 yards a punt and has been adept at pinning teams inside the 20. Adam Mihalek, Florida’s kicker, is only converting on 56 percent of his field goals, but does have a long of 50 yards. Georgia is excellent in kick coverage – primarily using starters on most coverage units – while Florida relies more on back-ups.
Coaching – DAWGS
This year is not off to the start many Florida fans hoped for after the Gators beat Utah to open the season. Napier should be credited for transitioning the offense to a more run-focused approach after Richardson’s early season troubles airing it out. Florida’s defense has underperformed despite having some NFL talent. In contrast, Kirby Smart is at the pinnacle of the college coaching fraternity. Coming off a national championship and a new 10-year contract making him one of the highest paid coaches in the Country, Smart shows no signs of complacency. Many predicted a drop off defensively this year after the Dawgs lost 15 players to the NFL draft, but statistically, this year’s defense is on par with last year’s. Recruiting is also rolling, as usual.
Overall – DAWGS
Georgia should be favored by double digits against the Gators. Both teams will be coming off bye weeks, so expect a few new wrinkles from each team. As with any heated rivalry game, the favorite does not always win. Unless the Dawgs turn the ball over and fail to play inspired football, the Dawgs should be 8-0 heading into a Game Day weekend in the Classic City against Tennessee.