Game of The Week: Florida vs. Georgia
The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, possibly one of the greatest rivalry games in all of college football, will be heading back to TIAA field for the 2018 showdown between the seventh-ranked Georgia Bulldogs and the ninth-ranked Florida Gators. The Bulldogs come into this matchup with a week's worth of preparation after being blasted by the fourth-ranked LSU Tigers 36-16 the week before. Meanwhile, Florida is riding a four-game hot streak heading into this matchup, including a win over the LSU, after only beating Vanderbilt by a score of 37-27. This year’s matchup will have serious implications on who comes out of the SEC on top.
Georgia still sports one of the nation’s top defensive units, with linebacker D’Andre Walker returning for his senior year as well lockdown cornerback Deandre Baker who is also back for his senior season. Both were instrumental in Georgia’s run to the national title game last year and lead one of the top-ranked defensive units in the nation. Walker will be a thorn in the side of Florida’s offensive line throughout the game as he will bring his top tier pass rushing skills to the table. Getting pressure on Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks should be no issue for
Meanwhile, Florida will be bringing in a new defensive scheme under new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who came to Florida alongside new head coach Dan Mullen from Mississippi State. Florida defensive lineman Jachai Polite has exploded onto the scene this year for the Gators, totaling seven sacks and three forced fumbles on the season. He has been nothing short of a monster for Florida and should be a major problem for Georgia’s banged up offensive line.
Offensively, Georgia wasted no time replacing last year’s two-headed rushing monstrosity of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb, with Elijah Holyfield and D’Andre Swift being the featured backs this season. Holyfield has been the better back so far throughout the season with 65 carries for 488 yards and four scores to Swifts 362 yards and four scores on 71 carries. Swift has been dealing with ankle issues for the majority of the year and was held out of practice for the most of last week, but according to Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, he should be good to go against the Gators. Quarterback Jake Fromm brings his talented passing abilities up against a fearsome Gator secondary that sits at sixth in the nation in pass yards per game. Fromm struggled mightily against LSU’s top-ranked defense last game, completing only 16 of his passes for 209 yards while throwing two interceptions to only one touchdown.
For the Gators, it’s all about getting quarterback Feleipe Franks going and keeping the pressure out of his face. Franks has had a very good year so far for Florida completing 56 percent of his passes for 15 touchdowns and five interceptions. The dual rushing attack of Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine will also be key if Florida wants to come out victorious. Scarlett and Perine have near identical stats with both having over 370 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the season.
Stats aside, The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party proves to be one of the SEC’s best and most storied rivalries. With the game drawing huge amounts of fans to Jacksonville and the surrounding areas, good times are always had in the lead up to the game. This year’s game will prove to be yet another pivotal matchup game in the ever-competitive SEC East.
David Saggio is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.