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Georgia running back D'Andre Swift (7) runs for yardage over Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (23) and defensive back Shawn Davis, lower left, during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Bulldogs Look to Re-enter Playoff Discussion Against Florida

Down, but not out.

The University of Georgia Bulldogs hobble into a match-up against Florida in Jacksonville after two consecutive close SEC games.

In what was one of the biggest upsets of the college season, on Oct. 12 Georgia lost to South Carolina in double overtime 20-17. The next week, Georgia played Kentucky in a monsoon and squeaked out a win.

With a win over the Gators, the Bulldogs would be in prime position to win the SEC East. If Georgia wins this game, they would be back in the College Football Playoff conversation.

The Bulldogs are currently a 6.5-point favorite over the rival Florida Gators, and ESPN’s Football Power Index gives them a 60.9% chance to win.

Offense

Georgia ranks 15th in the country in rushing yards per game, with 236.9 yards per game. Despite having Jake Fromm, a veteran SEC quarterback, Georgia still relies heavily on the run.

Their lead running back is D’Andre Swift. Swift has 752 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground off of 110 rushing attempts. He is the Georgia bell cow, and the match-up of Swift vs. Florida’s 32nd ranked rushing defense will be one to watch on Saturday.

According to former UGA quarterback Buck Belue, Georgia’s identity is found in their running game.

Also, Chuck Dowdle, a Georgia sports anchor, thinks that Florida will stack the box against Georgia. According to him, the Bulldogs lack the ability to throw the ball downfield for big plays.

With Georgia struggling to pass the ball, expect the Bulldogs to give the Gators a heavy dose of D’Andre Swift on Saturday. When Georgia does elect to pass, they’ll be throwing into the nation’s third-best passing defense in terms of interceptions. The Gators’ secondary has 12 interceptions through 8 games this season.

Georgia’s top receiving threat this season has been George Pickens, who only has 318 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’ll be matched up against the Gators’ CJ Henderson, a preseason All-American who projects as a top-ten draft pick according to Bleacher Report.

Defense

Georgia faces off against a red-hot Gators quarterback Kyle Trask. Against South Carolina, Trask threw 4 touchdowns as the Gators rebounded from their loss to top-ranked LSU.

Additionally, a match-up to watch on Saturday will be how the Bulldogs’ 7th ranked defense matches up against Florida’s pass attack. Georgia gives up only 181 yards through the air per game, but one could argue that Georgia has not played a passing attack as strong as Florida’s. Florida is 3rd in the SEC in passing yards per game and passing touchdowns, behind only LSU and Alabama.

Somewhere the Bulldogs can stuff the Gators is in the running game. The Gators have struggled to get consistent production from their running backs this season, and have relied on big plays on the ground. Georgia gives up only 85.7 yards rushing per game, and the Gators only average 142.4 rushing yards per game.

Coverage

Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. on CBS

Radio coverage of the game starts at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN 98.1 FM 850 AM WRUF

About Steven Walker

Steven Walker is a beat writer for ESPN Gainesville and is currently studying Journalism & Sports Media at the University of Florida.

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