Why Georgia Will Beat Florida & Earn a Trip to Atlanta
One of the most important matchups for this oddly truncated SEC-only season comes this Saturday as the No. 8 Florida Gators visit the peach state to take on the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs.
The winner of this Saturday afternoon matchup, as long as they win the rest of their regular season, is in the catbird seat to take home the SEC East Championship. With the effort seen from all of the SEC's 14 member schools, it's fairly difficult (baring any COVID-19 setbacks or total program meltdowns) to find a way for any other teams than Alabama, Florida, or Georgia to earn a spot in the SEC title game in Atlanta.
So, how can the Georgia Bulldogs pull-off their win at home and punch a ticket to Atlanta?
Currently, UGA is No. 5 in the SEC in rushing yards (876) while the Gators have yet to crack the top 10 (535). UF has played one less game, but the extra outing wouldn't be able to account for the massive gap in rushing yards per game: UGA 175.2, UF 133.75. Stetson Bennett IV is going to need to make better decisions with the football as he's currently ranked third in the SEC for most interceptions and dead last for completion percentage among starters. The Gators only have ONE interception on the season and have only five forced turnovers from an additional four forced fumbles.
This side of the ball is how UGA can control momentum and find a path to win this tough bout. For starters, the Bulldogs currently lead the SEC in sacks and are in the top-five for interceptions. Offensive weapons like junior TE Kyle Pitts and senior QB Kyle Trask are what steer the Florida Gators towards the top echelon of SEC offensive efficiency this season. A valuable asset for a Bulldog victory this Saturday has to be getting to the UF quarterback quickly. UGA can't afford to give a big target, like Pitts, time to scheme and get open in the middle of a QB scramble. Look for Georgia to send extra rushers in hopes of forcing errors from the talented Gator Offense.
As of Friday afternoon, ESPN has listed the Bulldogs' chances of winning the rivalry matchup at 63.7%, with Caesars Sportsbook also having UGA as the favorite (-155). If the Bulldogs can punch their ticket to the title game, this will be the fourth consecutive appearance by a Kirby Smart-led Georgia squad.