The college football world has their eyes focused towards the Southeastern Conference this weekend with No. 9 Florida (6-1, 4-1) and No. 7 Georgia (6-1, 4-1) squaring off in Jacksonville, Fla.
With ESPN’s College Gameday and SEC Nation making an appearance this weekend, the stage is bright for both teams to make a huge statement in their 2018 season.
Florida enters this game as winners of five straight, while the ‘Dawgs limp into the Sunshine State coming off a 20-point defeat against No. 5 LSU two weekends ago.
This game will feature another classic SEC dogfight between the trenches. Both defenses are entering this game aiming to make a statement and force the opposing offense to become uncomfortable.
Turnovers will be essential this game, as Florida leads the country in fumbles recovered (11) and is tied for eighth in the country in the turnover margin (+9). Their presence rushing the passer and forcing Fromm, or Fields, to become uncomfortable and force themselves out of their game plan will be huge if Florida wants to pull off this “upset”.
On Friday, former LSU defensive lineman Marcus Spears discussed Florida’s defense and their efforts so far this season.
"Create come turnovers, make Jake Fromm uncomfortable. That was, you know, LSU kind of gave that blueprint. That this offense stalls when you can stop the run against Georgia and force him into passing situations. In which, with the guys on the backend from Florida, you want quarterbacks in that situation, uncomfortable and with dudes that can rush the passer.”
“Florida’s strength is defense. I mean I don’t think breaking any news there and if they can get the game turned to where those guys can pin their ears back and get after your quarterback, it’ll be hard for any team in the country to beat them.”
In every SEC game, running the football is a critical factor in determining the winner of the game. Florida’s offensive line continues to develop and perform better each week, averaging 197.3 yards per game on the ground. On the flip side, Georgia is 41st in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game (136.3). Tim Tebow discussed the Gators’ running backs and the type of physical play they must possess on the gridiron.
“I think you will see a different Georgia team. I do think that this is a huge game especially depending on the weather for the Florida running backs too. I don't think you are going to take over in a game like this. It's just too physical and balanced but to be able to control the clock, keep the defense and fresh and not put pressure on Feleipe. That’s really important, especially because Georgia has some good defensive backs, so you just don't want to keep throwing it up there to them.”
“I think be able to get it to second and six, third and manageable it's huge, so I think [Jordan] Scarlett, [Lamical] Perine and [Dameon] Pierce are huge in this game. Also, just break tackles. This game is, you're not always going to have the perfect play call. Ballers are going to ball. You have to break some tackles. Someone will have to step up and kind of be that dude in the backfield. That will be big too.”
This is a statement game for Florida and if they want to win this football game, they must dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football.