DAWG BONE OFFENSE – FLORIDA
The Georgia offense arrives in Jacksonville much maligned. Against South Carolina, the Dawgs were manhandled at the line of scrimmage and the lack of creativity and execution were apparent. One week later against Kentucky, the Bulldog faithful were anxious to see improvement and were instead treated to an offense bogged down by a monsoon. The one bright spot coming out of the game was D’Andre Swift showed that he is capable of putting the entire offense on his back and taking the game over. However, he will not be able to do it alone against the Gators. Jake Fromm and the receivers will need to perform as they did against Notre Dame. Meanwhile, the Florida offense has been rolling since Kyle Trask took over at quarterback. His accuracy, poise in the pocket and willingness to give his talented receivers a chance to make plays has elevated the Florida offense to a new level. Lamical Perine has proven to be a playmaker at running back while Kyle Pitts is a matchup nightmare at either tight end or wide receiver. Florida is awarded the Dawg Bone on offense because they have been the more explosive and consistent offense this season.
DAWG BONE DEFENSE – PUSH
Both Georgia and Florida arrive in Jacksonville with only one loss on the strength of their defense, therefore, they share the defensive Dawg Bone. The strength of the Florida defense has been their pass rush and the aggressive play of their secondary. Their philosophy under Todd Grantham is to attack for 60 minutes and create havoc. With 18 turnovers forced, 29 sacks and 58 tackles for loss the Gators have done exactly that. Meanwhile, the Georgia defense has been consistently strong in all phases over seven weeks. Despite turning in solid performances all season, there is a vibe in Athens that the defense is poised to break out with a dominant performance against the Gators. With Tyson Campbell, Jordan Davis, Nakobe Dean and Jermaine Johnson expected to be at 100%, there is a reason for optimism. Saturday has all the makings of an old fashioned SEC defensive slugfest.
DAWG BONE SPECIAL TEAMS – PUSH
Georgia and Florida are both very solid on special teams and share this Dawg Bone. Rodrigo Blankenship’s missed field goal against South Carolina was an aberration and Jake Camarda has been crushing the ball since his rocky performance against Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Evan McPherson has been solid at kicker for the Gators and Tommy Townsend is as good as they get at punter. The return units for both teams have the opportunity to make an explosive play that changes the game.
DAWG BONE COACHING – FLORIDA
This was a difficult call to make but the Florida Gators are awarded the coaching Dawg Bone. Dan Mullen has done a tremendous coaching job this season. The Gators faced a tremendous amount of attrition during the offseason but his team has fully bought in and is executing at a very high level. Mullen has done an excellent job of finding ways to get his playmakers the ball while Todd Grantham’s defense is has been forcing turnovers and putting the Gator offense in advantageous positions. For Georgia, the offensive play calling has been predictable and adjustments lacking. It is critical that James Coley used the bye week to self-scout and develop some wrinkles for a Gator defense that will be well prepared. As for the UGA defense, Coach Lanning always has them well prepared but this Saturday they need to play with a chip on their shoulder.
DAWG BONE OVERALL – FLORIDA
Florida takes home the overall Dawg Bone because they have been the better team through seven weeks this season. However, Georgia will arrive in Jacksonville with a ton to prove to themselves and their hungry fan base. If Georgia wins, they re-establish themselves as the dominant power in the SEC East. If the Gators win, they stake their claim as the new beast of the SEC East. This game has all of the hallmarks of an instant classic.