Oct 17, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III (1) before a game against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium. LSU defeated Florida 35-28. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Florida and Georgia Set to Battle for SEC East Lead

Jacksonville, Florida.

Halloween day.

A trip to Atlanta (likely) on the line.

You couldn’t create a more ideal set of circumstances for which the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party annual meeting between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs should be played.

After a few years of exciting, but altogether not too important games, the battle along the St. John’s River is back to being the most important game of the season in the SEC East.

The Gators (6-1) come in to the contest needing just a win and a conference loss by the Vanderbilt Commodores to win the division.

“Definitely gotta win this one,” said Florida offensive tackle David Sharpe. “This is a big one…we definitely want to go to Atlanta.”

Of course winning the East is far from the only motivation for the Gators in this rivalry game. Running back Kelvin Taylor knows Florida will play hard, as they always do against the Dawgs.

“We’re gonna play with an extra chip on our shoulder, of course everyone knows what’s at stake,” said Taylor. “We’re gonna play hard, and we’re looking forward to having a great time on Saturday.”

Taylor was a large part of the Gators blowout victory over Georgia last year, when he ran for 197 yards and two touchdowns as Florida amassed 418 rushing yards as a team. This year, the Gators will most likely be taking a different approach in Everbank Stadium. Through seven games, Florida has 1,747 passing yards compared to just 912 yards on the ground.

“We’ve gotten to be more of a passing team,” said Gators wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood. “It’s taken over most of our game now.”

While the atmosphere in Gainesville is that of excitement and hope, the feeling around the Georgia football team isn’t the same. Even though the Dawgs (5-2) are in the same boat as Florida in terms of controlling their own destiny within the division, October losses to Alabama and Tennessee, combined with Nick Chubb’s season-ending leg injury, have made it a tough month for the Red and Black. Nevertheless, Georgia will be ready to give it their all against the Gators.

“We’ve been working hard,” said Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt.

The Gators and Dawgs will meet, as always, at 3:30 on Saturday. Coverage begins at 11:30 on ESPN Gainesville 95.3.

Click below to listen to audio from this story:

Sharpe on Winning East

Taylor on Motivation

Fulwood on Passing Game

Richt on Preparation

 

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