JACKSONVILLE (SportsDirect, Inc.) — Georgia and Florida clash every year in Jacksonville, Fla., in one of college football’s signature rivalry matchups, and Saturday’s meeting along the banks of the St. Johns River provides both teams the opportunity to grab control of the SEC East Division. The 12th-ranked Gators have been one of the nation’s biggest surprises and a victory would open a two-game division lead, while No. 23 Georgia can move into first place with a win.READ MORE: Two Doral Police Officers Injured In Shooting Near Miami-Dade Police Headquarters
Both teams enter Saturday off a bye week and with their starting quarterbacks squarely in focus.
Florida’s Treon Harris took over the starting position in place of the suspended Will Grier in the Gators’ 35-28 loss Oct. 17 at LSU, passing for 271 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 20 yards.
Georgia’s Greyson Lambert rebounded from poor showings in losses to Alabama and Tennessee in a 9-6 victory Oct. 17 against Missouri, the first time since 1995 the Bulldogs have won a game in which they did not score a touchdown.
Georgia coach Mark Richt did not say one way or another whether Lambert would start when pressed Wednesday, but third-stringer Faton Bauta – considered the most mobile of Georgia’s quarterbacks – could be an option should the Bulldogs struggle again offensively.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Florida –3READ MORE: Halloween Spending Could Hit A Record This Year
ABOUT GEORGIA (5-2, 3-2 SEC): Lambert completed 23-of-32 passes for 178 yards against Missouri after going 25-of-56 in his first two October contests. Running back Sony Michel has made the most of his chances with Nick Chubb lost for the season with a knee injury, carrying a career-high 26 times for 87 yards against Missouri after recording 188 all-purpose yards the previous week against Tennessee. Malcolm Mitchell is 10 receiving yards away from reaching 2,000 for his career and has led the Bulldogs in receiving six times in seven games.
ABOUT FLORIDA (6-1, 4-1): The Gators snapped a three-game losing streak to the Bulldogs last season, winning 38-20 as Harris made his first career start, and need another big performance Saturday to grab hold of the division. “This is why you get into it, to play in games like this,” Florida coach Jim McElwain told reporters earlier this week, as he prepares to coach in the rivalry for the first time. Kelvin Taylor is tied for fourth in the SEC in rushing touchdowns (eight) while a trio of tight ends — C’yontai Lewis, Jake McGee and DeAndre Goolsby – have combined for six touchdown receptions and 39 catches overall for 464 yards.
1. The Gators spent the bye week holding an open tryout for a walk-on kicker after Jorge Powell suffered a season-ending knee injury against LSU, and K Austin Hardin is nursing a leg injury.
2. Florida’s rushing defense ranks 21st in the nation (116.6 yards allowed per contest) and Georgia’s rushing offense averages 215.6 yards per contest, 22nd in the country.MORE NEWS: Opa-locka City Hall Evacuated After Bomb Threat
3. Georgia LB Jordan Jenkins (groin) is expected to play after missing the Missouri game.