Take Five Breakdown: Florida-No. 1 Georgia Preview

Georgia Preview

by Chris Will
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Please Read: Welcome to the new-look Inside the Gators

The Bye week is over and Florida football is back in action. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party will soon commence as the Gators take on the Georgia Bulldogs. It’s a renewed Bulldogs squad going up against a surging Florida program. Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald gives Inside the Gators a glimpse at the two-time reigning National Champions.

Five Georgia Bulldogs to Know

Carson Beck, Quarterback, Junior

  • The Jacksonville-born Bulldogs makes his Florida-Georgia debut at Everbank Stadium but he’s played on the field before. “He played there as an 11-year-old in a Pop Warner game, and he lost,” Weiszer said, “So we’ll see if that bodes well for Florida or not.” He’s thrown 12 touchdowns and four interceptions so far as the replacement to two-time National Championship starter Stetson Bennett.

Daijun Edwards, Running Back, Senior

  • Edwards has rushed for 460 yards and six touchdowns. It’s a banged-up backfield in a pass-heavy offense but Weiszer said the plethora of options in the running game can make a difference.

Dominic Lovett, Junior, Wide Receiver

  • This is a Georgia offense looking to find a spark on offense without All-American tight end Brock Bowers. The Missouri transfer has gotten the most love with 31 catches. “He seemed to get a lot of targets once Bowers went down,” Weiszer said, “He had nine catches his most for Georgia last game.

Tykee Smith, Defensive Back, Senior

  • With four interceptions and a sack, Smith is a force in a loaded defensive backfield for the Bulldogs. “Was a third-team AP all-American at West Virginia,” Weiszer said, “Didn’t play that much last two years after transferring in. He’s been a big play guy for interceptions at the nickel position.”

Malaki Starks, Defensive Back, Sophomore

  • After a standout freshman season, Starks returned in All-American form. Starks has 17 solo tackles and two interceptions on the year to go along with four pass deflections for a Georgia defense that hasn’t given up more than 21 points all season.

Five Fast Facts

  • Georgia leads the series, 54-44-2, and owns a 48-41-1 advantage in Jacksonville.
  • The Gators are 22-11 vs. the Bulldogs dating back to 1990, with the last win coming in the form of a 44-28 victory in 2020.
  • Week 9 marks Florida’s 19th game against the AP No. 1 team including the fourth across the last three seasons.
  • The Gators have never beaten the AP No. 1 team while unranked. Wins vs. AP No. 1: No. 2 Florida 31, No. 1 Alabama 20 (2008 SECCG) | No. 2 Florida 41, No. 1 Ohio State 14 (2006 BCSCG) | No. 3 Florida 52, No. 1 FSU 20 (1996 NCG)
  • Florida ended its five-game losing streak in games outside of The Swamp in Week 7, coming from behind to defeat South Carolina to post the team’s first true road win since Nov. 5, 2022 at Texas A&M.

Five Game Day Storylines

For All The Marbles

  • Many wouldn’t have expected this matchup to be among the top two records in the SEC East. Georgia is undefeated while Florida and Missouri each have one conference loss. The winner of this game will have high expectations of an SEC title game appearance. “This seems to be a more formidable Florida team,” Weiszer said, “And an unranked Florida team with Georgia have to be locked in and have the buy-in for this rivalry game. It seems like they’re at least talking the part.”

Life Without Bowers

  • All-American tight end Brock Bowers is out for this matchup and possibly the remainder of the season with an ankle injury. He leads the team with 41 catches for 567 yards and four touchdowns. “There’s nobody in college football that does what Bowers does,” Weiszer said.

Make it a Three-Peat

  • The two-time reigning National Champions haven’t had the strongest start to the season. They’re undefeated, but a 10-point game with South Carolina, a seven-point game with Auburn and giving up 20 to Vanderbilt have brought up some questions. “The team’s fine with it,” Weiszer said, “Even the fan base, I think is fine because you know you lost Stetson Bennett.”

Coming off the Bye

  • Both teams are coming off a bye. Florida fans may have wanted this matchup to be pushed up a week. Florida came off a motivating win against South Carolina on the road while Georgia lost Bowers. A week of extra preparation might be exactly what Georgia needs to get back to their dominant form.

The Road Ahead

  • After the Florida game, Georgia will face off with three straight-ranked opponents. Florida will do the same to close out their season after they square off with Arkansas. This matchup could be a large push in the right direction going into a tough stretch.


  • Mark Weiszer: Georgia 34-20
  • Chris Will: Georgia 34-28

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