Five things to know about Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville
Here are a few things we're keeping an eye on today as the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs meet once more.
No. 8 Florida (3-1) vs. No. 5 Georgia (4-1) at TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville
TV: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, CBS. Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850. Favorite:Gators by 3.5 (BetMGM.)
The 'Dawgs have some significant injury issues on defense, where at least two starters — All-American safety Richard LeCounte and standout defensive end Julian Rochester — are out for Saturday's game. LeCounte was in a dirt bike accident last weekend and is out for several weeks, while Rochester injured his knee last Saturday in a win at Kentucky. Additionally, it does not appear that star nose tackle Jordan Davis will be at 100 percent if he plays. He injured his elbow against Kentucky and has been day-to-day this week, seeing only limited practice time. The Bulldogs are hopeful he will be able to contribute in some capacity Saturday.
UF offense facing severe test
Even at less than full strength, this Georgia defense will be the best — and most complete — the Florida offense has gone up against this season, and it’s not even close. The Bulldogs are strong and deep everywhere you look across the board. UGA is first in the SEC in rushing defense, total defense and scoring defense. The Bulldogs are particularly tough against the run, giving up just 80.0 yards a game rushing. This is one of those challenges where Mullen and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson are going to be at their creative best to find enough points to push the Gators across the finish line for the win.
Kirby Smart vs. Dan Mullen — again
Georgia coach Kirby Smart certainly is familiar with Dan Mullen and his offense. Smart coached against Mullen when he was the defensive coordinator at Alabama and Mullen was at Mississippi State — and now that they’re both head coaches in the SEC East. This will be the 13th time they’ve faced each other, so Smart knows what to expect. “Every time you play against a Coach Mullen offense, there are different strengths, whether it’s Dak Prescott or an elite back or wide receiver. It’s always something different. You try to play to your strengths and not always to his,” Smart said. “That varies for us defensively every year. This year it will be different because we have different players on defense and (the Gators) are not exactly the same as they were last year.”
Saturday's game questions
•Can Florida’s receivers get separation from Georgia’s tight-covering secondary?
•Do the Gators have any chance of containing the Bulldogs’ powerful running game?
•Can the offensive line and backs protect quarterback Kyle Trask?
•Will the UF defense get off the field on third down, or does the UGA offense control the ball and the clock?
•Will the Bulldogs hit some explosive plays in the passing game?
Click back Sunday for Andreu’s answers
Georgia 28, Florida 17
Florida run defense vs. the Georgia running game:
With the return of starting defensive tackle Kyree Campbell last week, the Gators solidified their run defense, shutting down the Missouri ground game. But the defensive front is facing a much different, and much more powerful, challenge in the Georgia running game. As they showed last week in a win over Kentucky, the Bulldogs have the line and the backs (Zamir White, James Cook, Kenny McIntosh, Daijun Edwards and Kendall Milton) to dominate time of possession — and a game — with their rushing attack. That likely will be the plan today: control the ball on the ground and keep the potent UF offense on the sideline for long stretches at a time, limiting plays and possessions for the Gators. If UF struggles to stop the run — and can’t get off the field on third down — the Gators’ chances of winning this game would appear to be slim.