The major match-ups to watch
by Jeff Dantzler
Florida ranks first nationally in net punting. Georgia ranks 109th. The Gators special teams have been the nation’s best – especially over the last three weeks. Where it really stands out is in the punting game. In Georgia’s 35-7 loss to South Carolina, Ace Sanders returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown. In the Gamecocks 44-11 drubbing at the hands of the Gators, Sanders fumbled a punt to set up a Gators touchdown. South Carolina also fumbled a kickoff to set up a Florida touchdown. The Gators have dominated on special teams and defense to substantially win the field position battle. If Florida dominates the punt game, the Gators will have short fields and the Bulldogs long ones. That is not a recipe for success.
Florida OTs vs. Bulldog DEs
In Georgia’s last two games, the containment just hasn’t been there on “the edge.” In the loss to South Carolina, Connor Shaw sprung loose on third downs way too often. Kentucky was able to get outside and pick up first downs on third and long far too often. Jeff Driskel is an excellent runner and thrower with a terrific tailback. He burned Vanderbilt on the ground for 177 yards and three touchdowns, the final score coming on a keeper around right end. The Gators have highly touted, highly-recruited offensive tackles. Georgia’s highly touted defenders on the edge must be at their best for the Bulldogs to spring the upset.
Georgia WRs vs. Florida CBs
Florida’s cornerbacks are fast and physical. One Southeastern Conference coach talked about how they really were grabbing and holding their receivers. Georgia’s pass-catchers are really going to have to fight to get open. To win Saturday, the Bulldogs receivers are going to have to make big plays. Malcolm Mitchell scares opposing teams. He went for over 100 yards against Kentucky and is clearly back in the flow, focusing primarily on offense. Marlon Brown is big and strong and physical, and he can run after the catch. In the run game, Georgia’s receivers can help set the tone and send a message to Florida’s corners by getting physical