It’s a top ten showdown with major stakes, as Georgia and Florida battle in Jacksonville Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.
Florida comes in at 3-1 and boasts one of the most dynamic offenses in the country. The Gators, favored by 13, beat Missouri 41-17 this past Saturday. The game had an ugly brawl at halftime. Florida has scored at least 38 points in each game thus far this season. The Gators opened the campaign with a 51-35 victory at Ole Miss, topped South Carolina 38-24 in Gainesville, and then fell in a 41-38 instant classic at Texas A&M. Health issues and the schedule reshuffle gave Florida two off weeks.
The two Kyle’s lead the way for Florida. Quarterback Kyle Trask is having an incredible season, passing for 18 touchdowns against just two interceptions. He can also run. Trask’s favorite target is Kyle Pitts, the 6-6 tight end who is the most difficult player in the country to defend. Pitts has reeled in seven touchdowns on his 22 receptions for 355 yards, averaging 16.1 per grab.
In the win over Missouri, the swift Kadarius Toney was Florida’s top threat, pulling in a pair of touchdown receptions.
What has the Florida faithful feeling even more optimistic is the play of the defense against Mizzou. The Tigers, Georgia’s opponent next week, picked up a defensive touchdown in the first quarter, but didn’t get into the end zone until Larry Rountree sored with just 3:18 to play to make it 41-17.
Georgia is 4-1, coming off a 14-3 win over Kentucky. The Bulldogs defense, despite a slew of injuries, which could certainly have an effect Saturday afternoon, was tremendous. As was the running attack and punter Jake Camarda.
Zamir White ran for 136 yards on 26 carries, posting a 22-yard scoring run on fourth and one on the Bulldogs opening drive of the second half. The victory marked the second time this season, along with a 27-6 victory over Auburn, that the Bulldogs kept the opposition out of the end zone.
Camarda has been a weapon for the Bulldogs all season, arguably the team’s most valuable player. He’s averaging 50.3 yards per punt, ranking amongst the nation’s leaders, and has also been very good at pinning teams deep in their own territory.
The issues for Georgia right now are the injuries sustained primarily on defense, and the passing game. The Bulldogs have thrown five interceptions over the past two games.
The winner of this one is in the driver’s seat to win the East Division and make it to the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. Both the Bulldogs and Gators are once-beaten, while the other five teams in the division all have at least three losses.
Georgia has won three straight in the series. The last time Georgia won four in a row in Jacksonville came from 1978-1983.