Jeff Dantzler’s five keys for a Dawg’s victory in Saturday’s Georgia-Florida game.
1. WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE
This is essential every Saturday, but especially in this annual clash where the emotions are always super-charged and every possession vital. Georgia fans don’t have to have too long a memory to recall a slew of missteps that have led to Gator successes in Jacksonville – in particular pick-sixes. Have to stay away from that, especially with a Florida offense that has had some struggles this season.
2. SPECIAL TEAMS
Speaking of not having to have a long memory … during the quarter-century-plus of Florida domination in Jacksonville, the Bulldogs have been undone by numerous special teams miscues covering a wide array of calamities. But this is a new day, and the 2017 special teams play has been excellent for Georgia. Several great kickers have struggled through the years against Florida, as that wind swirls in across the majestic St. John’s. It takes touchdowns to win, but when the Dogs have to kick, “Rod and Cam” must be on point.
3. RUN THE BALL BETTER THAN FLORIDA
Really going out on some limbs here, huh? But that’s been another common factor in this rivalry. The team that runs the ball best almost always wins. Think of Georgia’s six wins since 1997, and you think of Robert Edwards, Knowshon Moreno, Todd Gurley and even Richard Samuel running hard and strong. Much of the legend of Tailback U, back to Sinkwich and Trippi, through #34 and so many in between and after, has roots from superb performances in the old Gator Bowl.
4. FRUSTRATE FRANKS
When winning by 31 and 25 in SEC games, pointing to things to do better, is nitpicking personified. But, in the wins over Vanderbilt and Missouri, the Bulldogs didn’t get the kind of consistent pass rush that was present in the first five games. A lot of that has had to do with the absence of Trenton Thompson and a beaten up depleted front seven. The open date came at a good time. A healthier Georgia front must make Florida’s quarterback Feleipe Franks uncomfortable.
5. STRIKE DOWNFIELD
When a running game is going strong, big-play pass potential should be available. Jake Fromm and his targets are playing excellent ball, but that will be pushed to another level. Yeah, yeah, the Gators have lost two straight, but they were tight. And to LSU and Texas A&M. While the offense is struggling some, make no mistake this Gators defense has a lot of talent, pad-poppers, and speed. Georgia’s run game must draw those defenders up, and give Fromm and company the opening to hurt Florida downfield.
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