Coming off the bye week, the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs are gearing up for their annual trip to Jacksonville to face off against the Florida Gators.
Despite the extended rest period, Georgia still has some injury questions heading into this game.
Junior defensive tackle Jalen Carter (questionable) is still managing the MCL sprain that he suffered against Missouri. Sophomore wide receiver Adonai Mitchell (questionable) is also recovering from the ankle injury that has sidelined him since the Kent State game. According to head coach Kirby Smart, he’s not sure if either of them will be ready by the time the game starts.
News broke earlier this week that junior safety Dan Jackson will require season-ending surgery to fix a stress fracture in his foot. Even though Georgia has some depth at that position, they lose an unquestioned veteran and leader in that unit.
It looks like sophomore inside linebacker Smael Mondon will be back in the lineup for this game. He suffered an ankle injury against Missouri, and he’s been out the last two games. However, he’s been able to practice fully this week according to Smart
First-year head coach Billy Napier has led the Gators to a 4-3 record so far this season. with their most recent game resulting in a loss at home against LSU 45-35 before their bye week.
If Florida has any chance of pulling off the upset win, they will need a big game from sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson.
This season, Richardson has flashed potential with his athleticism as a runner. He also has a big arm, but he has yet to show that he can put it all together and maintain efficiency as a passer. So far this season, Richardson has posted a 67.4 QBR with 1,367 passing yards, six touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He has added 395 yards on the ground, averaging 7.1 yards per rushing attempt and has six rushing touchdowns.
This Georgia defense has faced many mobile quarterbacks this season. Overall, they’ve done a good job of managing the threat of a running quarterback and neutralizing their running ability.
So far this season, the Bulldogs defense has held opposing quarterbacks to just 99 total rushing yards. 52 of those yards came from Auburn quarterback Robby Ashford. If Georgia can keep Richardson out of his comfort zone by forcing him to get rid of the ball instead of tucking and running with it, they should be able to pull out the victory.
With No. 3 Tennessee coming into town next week, this is a classic “trap game” for the Bulldogs. They will need to focus on what’s in front of them, and take care of business against a less-talented Gators squad.
If somehow Carter and/or Mitchell can suit up for this game, the Bulldogs will be in much better shape to win this game. However, that doesn’t seem like that will happen, so once again, they will need guys to step up and make plays in their place.
Smart and the defensive coordinators for the Bulldogs will have a gameplan in place that slows down Richardson and his running ability. The Gators will still find some ways to score, but they will not score 35 like they did against LSU.
Georgia is a 22.5-point favorite in this game, but this is a rivalry game that will test them more than people expect. This could be a close game in the beginning, but the Bulldogs close it out in the second half.