JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CBSMiami.com) – When University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt leads his Bulldogs team on the field Saturday, he’s coaching against his biggest rival and coaching for his career at Georgia.
Richt, a one-time FSU coordinator, has struggled in recent years at Georgia after years of success. He’s on the proverbial hot seat as the Florida Gators look to continue a long winning streak against the Dawgs.
Richt will likely have the quarterback edge in the form of starter Aaron Murray. The sophomore quarterback has been efficient this season, completing 61 percent of his passes, according to cfbstats.com.
Murray averages 236 yards per game through the air and has thrown 16 touchdowns to just seven interceptions through seven games.
When Murray isn’t doing his damage through the air, he’s handing the ball off to talented freshman running back Isaiah Crowell. The Columbus, Ga. Native has rushed for 608 yards this season and is averaging 87 yards per game on the ground.
Georgia’s offense is averaging 32 points per game on the season and is averaging 411 yards per game in total offense.
But, the Gators have quite the defense to combat Georgia’s rapidly developing offense.
The Gators are ranked 17th in the country in scoring defense, allowing just fewer than 19 points per game. The Gators allow just 120 yards per game rushing and just 289.1 yards per game in total offense, good for 10th in the country.
But one area that the Gators defense is not getting any help with is the turnover margin. The Gators simply aren’t taking the ball away enough to keep up with the offense’s tendency to turn the ball over. For the season, the Gators are -7 in the turnover war.
Again, part of that is due to the offense’s problems against LSU and Alabama as freshman quarterbacks couldn’t get anything going against the two best defenses in the country.
Florida’s offense is averaging just fewer than 27 points per game, which ranks them 71st in the country.
Florida’s struggles are especially evident in the passing game, where the Gators are averaging just 178 yards per game. That ranks Florida 100th in the Football Bowl Subdivision, out of 120 teams.
For Florida to have any chance, they will have to get the ball moving down the field better than the team’s average of 353.7 yards per game, according to cfbstats.com.
Historically, Georgia owns the series lead. But recently, Georgia has barely been a blip on the radar as Florida steamrolled the SEC East.
In fact, dating back to 1990, the Bulldogs have beaten the Gators just three times in 21 meetings. Those wins were in 2004, 2007, and 1997.
The Florida/Georgia game, also known as the World’s Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party, can be seen on CBS4 at 3:30 p.m.