The nation’s top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (7-0, 5-0 SEC) travel to Jacksonville to take on the Florida Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. This will be the 100th meeting between the two schools in what Georgia head coach Kirby Smart says is, “one of the best games in all of college football.”
Similar to the Bulldogs, the Gators have their own carousel at the quarterback position with both junior Emory Jones and freshman Anthony Richardson seeing time this season. They are an extremely athletic duo that lead the team in rushing with 495-yards for Jones and 348-yards for Richardson on the season. This duo paired with three talented running backs all with over 200 rushing-yards on the season has Florida currently leading the country in yards-per-rush with 6.3.
Emory Jones has thrown the ball 176 times on the season compared to just 37 passing attempts for Richardson. The reps have been increasing each week for freshman Anthony Richardson as he matched starter Emory Jones’ passing attempt total for the first time this season in Florida’s recent 49-42 loss to LSU. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said, “when you look at the quarterback reels, there’s plays within each game both quarterbacks run. They don’t not run quarterback draw, drop back pass, zone read, or speed option with one guy or the other.” While Kirby believes they are similar in how to be game planned for, coming off the bye-week could mean freshman Anthony Richardson may see a bulk of the workload for the first time this season.
Georgia enters this matchup sporting the nation’s second-best run-defense holding opponents this season to just 2.16 yards-per-rush and 63.4 yards-per-game. That starts in the middle with mid-season Heisman hopeful Jordan Davis who missed last season’s game against Florida due to injury. Slowing down the Gator rushing-attack and forcing the inexperienced Gator quarterbacks to throw the ball downfield will be key for the Bulldogs as both quarterbacks combine for nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns (12 interceptions to 15 touchdowns).
A starting quarterback has yet to be named for Georgia as both JT Daniels and Stetson Bennett are splitting reps in practice according to coach Smart. JT Daniels appears to finally be injury-free after a Lat injury kept him sidelined for the last three weeks. Stetson Bennett has led the Bulldogs to wins over three ranked opponents posting 5 touchdowns and no interceptions over that stretch. Regardless of who has played quarterback for the Bulldogs, they are currently ranked 4th in the country in passing-efficiency this season.
Look for the Georgia offense to continue to cycle through run and play-action pass to exploit a Florida team ranking just 52nd in rushing-defense. The Florida defense is coming off giving up 321 rushing-yards to an LSU team who entered the contest ranked 127th out of 130 FBS teams in rushing while the Bulldogs enter following their most efficient game on the ground this season after averaging 6.1 yards-per-carry against Kentucky. The Bulldogs have been operating largely as running back by committee this season, but with Kendall Milton out with an MCL injury and Kenny McIntosh just removed from a hamstring injury expect leading rushers Zamir White and James Cook to carry a larger rushing load.
The Gators three losses on the season were by a single score or less. The Gators have also outgained their opponents in total-yards in every game this season including out-gaining opponents by over 100-yards in two of their three losses. While Florida may not be ranked coming into this matchup, they have the talent and an explosive offense that could give any team in the country trouble.
The no. 1 Bulldogs currently sit as a two-score favorite following three-straight wins over ranked opponents as Georgia looks to defend their top-ranking Saturday in Jacksonville and in front of a CBS audience.