I’m afraid Florida is going to claim their third victory in a row over the Bulldogs Saturday afternoon. And while it could be close, I’m even more afraid that their third consecutive victory will be their third consecutive blowout victory.
I love looking at the website CFB Stats. I don’t get too deep into the advanced numbers like Bill Connelly’s S&P. I like the plain ole numbers. But early in the season, it is hard to get an accurate reflection of the teams from the numbers. Now is the time you can glean something from the stats.
But you don’t have to look at the stats to know that the Bulldawgs have struggled to run the football this season. Just for the hell of it, let’s look at the game log for the rushing offense (courtesy of www.cfbstats.com):
Of course, if you don’t keep up with it closely and just look at the numbers, you’d think “Corbindawg, the Dawgs ran the ball well in many of their games.” But if you are reading this article on a website called Bulldawg Illustrated, you keep up with it closely and you know the truth.
And the truth is, the big numbers Georgia has put up this season in the running game has been a mirage. It’s been a mirage because the defenses Georgia has had success running the ball against have pretty crappy run defenses.
Oh, and just for comparison’s sake, North Carolina is last in the ACC in rushing defense (203 ypg).
Despite a few good performances, the truth is Georgia has been really bad running the ball.
The bad news is, Florida’s defense is really good. I would say great. So, suffice it to say, it is going to be really hard for Georgia to score points.
The good news is, Georgia’s defense has been pretty good so far this season, with the lone exception of the Ole Miss game. And Ole Miss scores points on everybody. I’ve been very pleased with the Dawgs’ defense.
But let’s look back at the stats again, for a moment.
Georgia’s scoring defense is at 26.4 points per game. That is 8th in the SEC. Florida’s is at 12 ppg, which is good for #1.
But in yards given up per game, Georgia is 5th, at 340. That is about on par with Auburn (328) and LSU (313). Again, Florida is #1 at 252 ypg.
Auburn and LSU’s defenses are giving up about 15 points per game.
Why is this out of whack?
Because Georgia has been consistently awful at giving the other teams points for cheap and for free.
Against North Carolina, Georgia gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half.
Nichols scored 17 of their 24 points on 38 yards. They scored 10 of their points on just 8 yards of offense.
Missouri scored a touchdown on just a six-yard drive after an interception return.
Ole Miss scored on a pick six.
Tennessee scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the end zone (in the 4th quarter).
South Carolina scored all 14 of their points the old fashioned way!
Vanderbilt took the opening kickoff to the Georgia 1 yard line (assisted with a penalty) easy touchdown. To open the second half, Reggie Davis stepped out of bounds on the three yard line. Georgia then had to punt from their own end zone, which was a bad punt, and Vanderbilt got the ball on the UGA 27. They moved 7 yards before kicking a field goal.
Vandy moved 8 yards to score 10 points.
All things equal, Georgia is good enough on defense to keep it close. It is going to be hard for Florida to score on our defense. Maybe not has hard as it will be for Georgia to score on theirs, but points will be hard to come by Saturday. I think Georgia has more playmakers on offense. This gives Georgia a puncher’s chance.
But I am afraid the difference will be what has consistently plagued Georgia all season: giving away cheap or free points. Special teams and turnovers leading directly to points will be what makes what should be a close game a comfortable Florida win.
Either way, Go Dawgs!