The Bulldogs head into the Georgia-Florida game coming off a homecoming loss to Vandy and need a win something fierce, but the question is can they do so against a Gator team that is fielding one of the best defenses in the SEC and all of college football? Here are Jeff Dantzler’s five keys for a Dawgs’ victory to do just that.
1. RUN WITH SUCCESS
When Georgia has beaten Florida, the Bulldogs have had tremendous rushing performances. Charley Trippi ran for a school record 239 in 1945, there was Kevin McLee sitting around 200 in ’76, the otherworldly performances of Herschel Walker, great games from Rodney Hampton, Tim Worley, Robert Edwards, Knowshon Moreno, Richard Samuel and Todd Gurley. Georgia’s offensive line and those elite backs have to answer the bell against that growling Gators front.
2. SPECIAL TEAMS
It was an unquestioned disaster last time out against Vanderbilt. In Georgia’s heart-breaking 21st century losses to Florida, there have been fumbled punts, faked punts, missed field goals, kick returns for touchdowns and a litany of those dreaded Special Teams Disasters. This Georgia team is not good enough to overcome such. It would be great for the Dogs to exorcise some demons Saturday.
3. AVOID THE CATASTROPHIC TURNOVER
There have been way too many for Georgia this season. The Bulldogs aren’t good enough to overcome this either. Combine them with kicking game meltdowns, and too many times in 2016, Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs have been fighting an uphill battle. So many times in Jacksonville, where it’s always rocking one side or the other – and often both – a critical turnover and/or special teams play has spelled doom or victory.
4. NEGATE THE GATOR RUN
This series and rivalry isn’t alone in this fact, but in general the team that has better success running the football wins. That was the biggest key in the Gators upset win over Georgia in 2014 and Florida kept the chains moving a year ago. The Orange and Blue have played once in the last 27 days and they will certainly come out grinding, testing that young and talented Georgia defensive line.
5. PRESSURE LUKE
The talented Luke Del Rio has shown the ability to be one of the most effective and accurate passers in the Southeastern Conference. While the Gators will test that Georgia D-Line – with John Atkins the lone upper-classman – these young standouts need a quarterback pressuring and sacking performance in Jacksonville. And if they don’t get there, HANDS UP!!!!