Oct 29, 2016; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defense and Florida Gators offense at the line of scrimmage during the second half at EverBank Field. Florida Gators defeated the Georgia Bulldogs 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Florida Looks to Get Back On Track in Jacksonville Against Georgia

Florida and Georgia. Two rivals who make a yearly trek to Jacksonville to play in one of the most popular rivalry games in the country. Georgia comes in with all the momentum and look like a College Football Playoff contender, while Florida is looking to move back above .500.



After a 3-1 start to the season, the Gators have hit a rough patch, dropping each of their last two games, in close losses to LSU and Texas A&M by three points combined.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Gators had a bye week in between A&M and this week’s game, and it could not have come at a better time.

Apart from allowing the team to work out some kinks, the Gators are getting healthier. Tyrie Cleveland and Kadarius Toney are both probable to play according to head coach Jim McElwain.

Their return would be a huge boost to quarterback and Feleipe Franks and a struggling offense that ranks 100th in the country in passing offense and 102nd in total offense.

Ground Game

Fortunately for Florida, they’ve been able to get the run game going the last five weeks, and that’s the same formula they’ve used to knock of Georgia each of the past three seasons. In their last three meetings, the Gators have averaged 29.7 points and 258.7 yards on the ground, as the Gators have found success running over the Bulldogs.

If they look to use the same formula, they’ve shown they can pound the rock this season. Florida’s averaging 168.8 on the ground thanks to improved offensive line play and the strong play of Malik Davis and Lamical Perine. Davis is putting together a strong freshman campaign. He already has 506 yards, while Perine has had the nose for the endzone with six rush touchdowns on the season.


The Georgia Bulldogs come into the meeting ranked 3rd in the country and with a 7-0 record, making them one of the last eight unbeaten teams in the country.

Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
In this hot start, the Bulldogs have been absolutely dominant, outscoring teams by an average of 25 points per game.  Big wins so far include a 20-19 thriller at Notre Dame and a 31-3 drubbing of Mississippi State in Athens.
A big reason for Georgia’s success has been the play of freshman quarterback Jake Fromm. Fromm made his first start against Notre Dame after previous starter Jacob Eason went down with an injury.
In his place, Fromm has played like anything but a freshman. He ranks second in the SEC in passing efficiency, having thrown for over a thousand yards already with 12 scores and 3 picks, and leads an offense averaging almost 38 points per game.
Fromm has plenty of playmakers too. First but not least, the Bulldogs boast one of the top running back duos in the country with Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. Together, they’ve combined to lead the 10th ranked rush attack in the country, racking up over 282 yards on the ground per game.

Bulldog Defense

On the opposite side of the ball, Georgia poses a real problem for Florida. The Bulldogs come in with one of the best defenses in the nation. They’re limiting teams to just 12.6 points per game, the fourth best mark in the nation. They’re also first in the SEC in total defense, giving up just 252.6 yards per game.
A lot of the speed on their defense is in their front seven, which is one of the best in the country. Mid-season All-American Roquan Smith leads the team with 53 tackles.
Outside linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy wreak havoc on the outside, while John Atkins and Trenton Thompson are forces to reckon with on the defensive line. The unit’s dominance can be seen in their run defense, which ranks fourth in the country as they’re giving up just over 82 yards per game on the ground.

Series History

While Georgia enters this game as heavy favorites, Florida has won each of the past three seasons. Georgia leads the all-time series, but Florida is 21-6 against Georgia since 1990.

Broadcast Info

Kickoff is at 3:30 tomorrow, with coverage on CBS and ESPN 98.1 FM/ 850 AM WRUF.

About Jonathan Acosta

Native New Englander. Follow me on Twitter: @jonacosta_10

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