Georgia-Florida preview: Dogs 3-17 in past 20 meetings but favored in this one

(Note: Please join the conversation on Jeff Schultz’s live blog during the game.)

Georgia vs. Florida at a glance:

3 storylines

  • 1. Two unranked teams streaking in different directions. For the first time since 1979 –- the year before Herschel Walker showed up in Athens — Georgia and Florida will meet with neither team ranked in the national polls. And yet, in this crazy SEC East season, the winner of the game between the Bulldogs (4-4, 3-3 SEC) and Gators (4-3, 2-3) will remain in contention for a berth in the SEC title game. Georgia is 3-17 vs. the Gators in the past two decades and 2-7 under coach Mark Richt, so Bulldog Nation descends on Jacksonville with wariness, despite the Dogs bringing a three-game winning streak and the Gators a three-game losing streak into the game.
  • 2. Washaun Ealey’s status. Ealey had a career game last week, running 28 times for 157 yards and a UGA-record five touchdowns at Kentucky. But, typical of how things have gone with Georgia’s running backs this season, he injured his right knee (sprained MCL) in the fourth quarter. He has been limited in practice this week, and although Richt has said he expects the knee to improve by game time and Ealey to play, the situation bears watching. Caleb King’s return from a two-game suspension could be well-timed.
  • 3. Watch the turnovers. In the past two Georgia-Florida games, the Bulldogs committed eight turnovers (four in each game) and the Gators none. That helps explain why Florida won those games by a combined score of 90-27. This season, the Bulldogs are plus-7 in turnover margin, a drastic improvement from last year’s minus-16. And on its current three-game winning streak, Georgia has won the turnover battle by a combined 9-1, the one turnover being a ricochet of an onside kick by Kentucky. The Bulldogs cannot afford a turnover relapse in Jacksonville.

A Georgia win would …

  • Force the Bulldogs to pull for Arkansas to beat South Carolina on Nov. 6 and Florida to beat South Carolina on Nov. 13, because Gamecocks losses in those games could send Georgia to the SEC title game.
  • Be the Bulldogs’ fourth consecutive SEC victory, which would be their longest single-season SEC win streak since 2007.

A Florida win would …

  • Put the Gators in position to clinch the SEC East title by beating Vanderbilt on Nov. 6 and South Carolina on Nov. 13.
  • End the Gators’ longest regular-season losing streak since 1988 at three games.

Keep an eye on …

  • For Florida: Junior running back Jeff Demps, who won the 2010 NCAA championship in the 100-meter dash with a blazing time of 9.96 seconds, has been slowed by a sprained foot since the third game of the season. But he benefited from an open date last week and is expected to be at or near 100 percent. He has averaged 7.3 yards per touch as a running back in his career, tied for No. 1 in the nation among active RBs with at least 250 touches. In addition, Demps has averaged 32.5 yards on eight kickoff returns this season.
  • For Georgia: Wide receiver A.J. Green almost surely will have to make some big plays for the Bulldogs to win. In the game’s most compelling individual matchup, he figures to be primarily defended by Gators cornerback Janoris Jenkins, perhaps the SEC’s best corner other than LSU’s Patrick Peterson.

The numbers game

  • 14-4: Florida’s all-time record vs. Georgia when the Gators have a bye week before the game, as they did again this time.
  • 117.9: Florida quarterback John Brantley’s pass efficiency rating, which ranks 10th among SEC starting quarterbacks and well behind Murray’s 157.
  • 42.2: Third-down conversion percentage by Georgia opponents this season, the highest against any defense in the SEC.

History book

  • Last meeting: Florida won 41-17 last year as Georgia threw four interceptions and committed nine penalties for 87 yards.
  • Series record: Georgia leads 47-39-2, including 40-37-1 in Jacksonville.

The bottom line

Despite the Gators’ recent domination of the Dogs, Vegas has Georgia as a 2 1/2-point favorite. Proving, if nothing else, that a three-game winning streak is more attractive than a three-game losing streak.

Please join the conversation on Jeff Schultz’s live blog during the game.

113 comments Add your comment

TrueDawgFan

October 29th, 2010
10:17 am

Let’s go DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steen

October 29th, 2010
10:17 am

42 – 10 Bulldogs

Sanford Drive

October 29th, 2010
10:20 am

I have an extreme cautiously optimistic feeling about this one.

I think Dawgs go down 10-0 early, then come back to win 27-17

Hankie Aron

October 29th, 2010
10:21 am

Dawggie

October 29th, 2010
10:23 am

I hope Bobo understands the importance of attacking and playing fast in this game. It’s way too obvious that trying to control the game conservatively has not worked.

UGAVII

October 29th, 2010
10:23 am

Florida wins by a 100.

UGA VIII wears red panties and a black helmet.

UGAVII

October 29th, 2010
10:24 am

After losing by a 100, Richt brings Willie Martinez back as assistant coach to fix things.

Mike the Tiger

October 29th, 2010
10:27 am

Richt and Meyer should absolve their criminals in a pregame ceremony.

Dawglasville

October 29th, 2010
10:30 am

47-39-2. Man that number has shrunk. We need to score early. If Ealey can’t go we need to throw the ball more, especially since King does a much better job of picking up the blitz. We need to turn Aaron loose running the ball too.

We need to worry about what Georgia does and who cares what Florida does. If they can figure out a way to bring Tebow back and play him then who cares. Man up and punch them in the mouth. Time to cry, Rainey.

robodawg

October 29th, 2010
10:31 am

Expect to see a lot of Demps until we can prove we can stop him better than we stopped Lattimore.

With Brantley, you’d think third and long would finally be our friend. That third down percentage has got to be corrected.

Gotta be physical in the trenches and win the turnover margin. If we force some turnovers and don’t commit any, I think we’ll win. But Florida’s D is probably the best we’ll face all year.

Phil

October 29th, 2010
10:34 am

Love the hypocrisy of everyone bashing Meyer for bringing back Rainey, but yet Caleb King’s return is described as “well-timed.” meyer’s number one concern is winning, but guess what- it’s the same with richt.

No Excuse

October 29th, 2010
10:34 am

Florida wins 30-29 with Rainey scoring the winning TD with less than a minute on the clock and Georgia fans screaming it’s time to Cry!

78 DAWG

October 29th, 2010
10:34 am

If we’re gonna recruit these marginal character players and have to listen to all the remarks about thugs and academics & we pay the coaches millions, in a state with this many recruits, we should be expecting better than 3-18 against any team.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

October 29th, 2010
10:36 am

Your blog is exactly why UGA fans can never be comfortable with the series. UGA has to turn the table and put together a string of victory’s. Hopefully this begins tomorrow.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

October 29th, 2010
10:37 am

Phil,

Are you serious? Rainey threaten to kill a woman! King didn’t show up for court to pay a ticket. Apples and Oranges.

78 DAWG

October 29th, 2010
10:37 am

What’s the over/under on how many long plays the gayturds get when our dbs come flying up to make a big, ESPN Sportscenter hit and either miss the tackle, cause they don’t lock up or discover, hey it’s a long pass play not a run!

Dawglasville

October 29th, 2010
10:39 am

No Excuse That very well could happen. I do know this – If Georgia wins I won’t be on the blogs in the Gainesville paper boasting about something I have no control over.

DAWG STUCK IN AUBURN

October 29th, 2010
10:40 am

DEFENSE NEEDS…TURNOVERS…TURNOVERS…TURNOVERS
KEEP FLORIDA OFF THE FIELD!!!!!

The whining has already started

October 29th, 2010
10:41 am

Humpers are hilarious. bet they hope he plays against Carolina though.

destin dawg

October 29th, 2010
10:42 am

Richt needs a Killer instinct… score early and often.. mix’em up’ keep ‘em off balance… ues the TE’s, AJ. and Durham… play hard nosed defense (has been improving under Garntamh & Co.)…. one or 2 trickeration plays… reverse.. fake punt.. etc.. Go Dawgs !!!

Christian LeMay

October 29th, 2010
10:43 am

I am thinking of switching my committ-MENT to UF since they seem to love thugs.

SadDawg

October 29th, 2010
10:47 am

Let me get this straight, Steen. UGA is gonna beat UF in Jax worse than Bama did in Tuscaloosa.

Your glass is definitely half-full.

Jesus

October 29th, 2010
10:50 am

Florida is going down and will burn in the pits of H%&*

kb

October 29th, 2010
10:52 am

This series is historically cyclical , with one team dominating the other in long stretches
For what its worth 1931-51 UGA 17-3 , 1952-1970 UF 13-5-1 , 1971-1989, UGA 15-3 , 1990 -?? UF 17-3.

Jesus

October 29th, 2010
10:53 am

GATA 2:1: Go Dawgs and gators wear jean shorts.

outkasted

October 29th, 2010
10:59 am

KB i agree……

DawgNation

October 29th, 2010
11:05 am

God I hope the coaches put a ban on blogs during this week.

[...] News Sources wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt [...]

Christian LeMay

October 29th, 2010
11:10 am

Jesus gators wear jeanshorts and dogs wear bib overhauls with their bellies protruding

how2fish

October 29th, 2010
11:10 am

Don’t care if we win by 1 or 50 just BEAT THE GATORS!! GATA!

azdawg

October 29th, 2010
11:12 am

The dawgs D has to come up big in this game w/FL. FL has more weapons than GA on offense and what scares most of us GA fans is poor tackling will rear its ugly head again. Hopefully the dawgs can get an early lead and the D can corral the FL speedsters to win this contest. GO DAWGS.

Bruce Mac

October 29th, 2010
11:15 am

2 and 8 on the way Dawg fans. Sad but true.

JB

October 29th, 2010
11:15 am

Dawgs either win by 21 or lose by 3…….. It’s that much of a guess. Florida has looked bad, but capable with it’s athletes to beat anyone and Georgia has the ability but still has Richt and Bobo coaching them. I like Dawgs 31-17

Dave

October 29th, 2010
11:20 am

I have no confidence simply because it’s against Florida. Hoping for win, but expecting a loss until I see otherwise. This isn’t the first time UGA has gone to Jacksonville with the better team and lost. It just seems tht any time a team is having a drought or a slump, they get better against UGA (See TN from last year). Rainey and Demps scare the hell out of me. Do we have anyone on the D that can keep up with them? Bottom line, it just seems that YGA just can’t get over the hump against Florida. I hope I am spectacularly wrong this year.

Dawgs Run This State!

October 29th, 2010
11:26 am

Dave,
Florida is going to try to get rid of the ball quickly because they know they can’t stop Houston. Rainey and Demps are going to get their yards but they shouldn’t scare anyone… The short passing game could be the biggest problem. I think Grantham will go with the 4-3 a lot at first.

Jesus

October 29th, 2010
11:27 am

Mr Lemay you should keep it in your pants and remember mullets and Jean shorts are a sin. Now give me 3 hail Marys and 5 GO Dawgs

Chad

October 29th, 2010
11:28 am

I hope the Georgia coaches read these post, they are great!!! We need more speed on offensive play calling! You can walk around when your losing and expect to come back and win with no time on the clock. It hasn’t worked this season and never in Jacksonville. We need to hurry to the ball and run more plays when possible and keep the ball in our hands. Oregon is a great example, they run a play every 18 seconds!!! GO DAWGS!

Dawgs Run This State!

October 29th, 2010
11:30 am

Myer will try to be creative, it will backfire, he willl take a lot of heat because he let a potentially violent criminal play but it didn’t work, and he will announce retirement on Sunday.

reebok

October 29th, 2010
11:31 am

i’d bet on the dogs if not for that extra week off florida had…i’d call it a toss-up…good luck, dogs, hope you play well and avoid the injuries.

Big Albany Dawg

October 29th, 2010
11:32 am

Tim, do you really have to include “Walker” behind Herschel’s name? As if we might be confused as to which Herschel you are referring to!

Anyway, I’m taking the Georgia “Bulldogs” in this one!

jsmithc

October 29th, 2010
11:37 am

gotta go with the dawgs this weekend , but everyone needs to remember … win or lose , its better to be a bulldog then a gator anyday!!

DawgEnough

October 29th, 2010
12:03 pm

UGA 31 – UF 20

uga's girl

October 29th, 2010
12:13 pm

Dave,

Don’t be a naysayer. Either believe in the team or don’t. Get off the fence. I’m not being ugly, I’m just tired of the “oh bother” attitudes of UGA fans! Let’s get behind our guys AND coaches 100%! Let them know we believe! Btw, my hubby is a conservative fellow when it comes to pre-game also, so I live with it every day. Dave, are you my husband in disguise? haha

As I’ve said before, this team has fire. I don’t care who our last 3 wins were against, they were wins and on any given Saturday, the tables can turn, so the wins are wins! I’m not even cautiously optimistic about this game, I’m completely optimistic. All we have to do is play like we have been. Yes, the secondary is weak, but we have so many other strengths, they will outweigh that weakness. Agreed, Cuff needs to sit, if not the whole game, then give him 1 quarter to prove himself. I’m not as down on Rambo as others are. I say give him the first half, if he doesn’t produce, then ride the pine (aluminum). Houston will sit Brantley down at least 3 times in this game. AJ, Durham, Charles, Chapas & well honestly, the whole offense will blow up & destroy the gaytors defense. I feel it. No matter what the outcome, as long as we play 4 quarters with meaning & intensity, I will count that a victory. Nothing dirty, our penalties stay low (btw, great job on that factor guys) & we force at least 3 turnovers.

BIG win for the Dawgs tomorrow!!! (totally agree with you jsmithc)

GO DAWGS!!!!

SimpleDawg

October 29th, 2010
12:17 pm

Dawgs learn new tricks, and treat Gators to a haunting afternoon.

JW

October 29th, 2010
12:18 pm

17-3 is painful, but UF has owned the SEC for the past 20 years. Other UF records against common opponents. Alabama 8-5; Tennessee 14-6; LSU 15-5; Auburn 10-5; Kentucky 20-0; South Carolina 17-1; Florida State 11-10-1.

AltamahaDawg

October 29th, 2010
12:28 pm

Phil, in a nutshell: In both player’s case the timing put them to return for this game. King as a result of getting his fair punishment doubled, Rainey for getting his fair punishment reversed. So yea, it’s totally the same thing.

Gator Country Bulldawg

October 29th, 2010
1:12 pm

Please, Dawgs, whip up on those Gators. I have to live down here with them! I must say, though, they’re being very quiet this year – think they’re worried! GO, YOU HAIRY DAWGS!!!

gdawginkalamazoo

October 29th, 2010
1:12 pm

I don’t care who our last three games were against, the boys took care of business in a big way. They played hard all 60 minutes, took advantage of the turnovers. They stuck together and did everything they needed to in order to win. That will all go a long way for the game this Saturday. Sure it might be a tough one but they at least have a feel for doing everything the right way.

uga’s girl, I like your attitude and enthusiasm for UGA football! You can me Dave.

MIKE MOWZER

October 29th, 2010
1:34 pm

DAWGY STYLE BA-BEY!

uga's girl

October 29th, 2010
1:41 pm

I like yours too kalamazoo! Hunker down you hairy dawgs!!!