ATHENS — Georgia and Florida football fans might want to fasten their seatbelts for some rock’em sock’em football next Saturday.
For all the talk of Dan Mullen’s offensive genius and Jake Fromm’s potential NFL stock, this season’s edition of the teams’ rivalry game in Jacksonville could tilt toward being a defensive struggle.
The No. 8-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 SEC) play the No. 6-ranked Gators (7-1, 4-1) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at TIAA Bank Stadium in Florida.
The numbers suggest turnovers will be more important than ever, as both Georgia and Florida feature top defenses that will only get stronger with key players returning this week.
UGA cornerback Tyson Campbell has been back practicing for a week and could help anchor one of the nation’s most underrated secondaries.
Florida’s pass rush, meanwhile, looks to become even more fierce with preseason All-SEC defensive end Jabari Zuniga expected to play after being sidelined with an ankle injury in a 29-21 win over Kentucky on Sept. 14.
Both defenses are already among the best in the nation.
The Bulldogs have the No. 5 scoring defense in the nation, and the Gators rank No. 12 in the country in that department.
A deeper look into advanced metrics reveals neither Florida nor Georgia have the most explosive offenses — the Gators with just nine plays of 40 yards or longer in 8 games (55h in the nation), the Bulldogs with only seven in 7 games (81st).
Georgia opened as a 6 1/2-point favorite, even though Florida is the higher-ranked team. By Monday morning, the spread had fallen to 4 points, and indication that more money has been bet on the Gators.
T-24. Georgia 36.0 points per game
45. Florida 32.5
16. Georgia 236.9 yards per game
90. Florida 142.4
19. Florida 157.79 passer rating
27. Georgia 154.07
Third Down Conversion Rate
30. Florida .443 conversion percentage
38. Georgia .430
21. Georgia 471.3 yards per game
52. Florida 419.6
5. Georgia 10.60 points per game
12. Florida 15.80
5. Georgia 85.7 yards per game allowed
31. Florida 124.1
Third Down Conversion Defense
15. Georgia .304 conversion allowed
41. Florida .349
Pass Efficiency Defense
9. Georgia 105.68 rating
24. Florida 116.11
7. Georgia 266.7 yards per game allowed
25. Florida 319.5
T-36. Florida Plus-0.38 per game
54. Georgia Plus-0.14
Time of Possession
7. Georgia 34:07
51. Florida 30:30
T-15. Georgia 13.67 yards per return
T-107. Florida 4.75
12. Florida 42.68
19. Georgia 41.91
61. Florida 21.00
128. Georgia 14.00
Kick Return Defense
T-46. Florida 19.54
T-50. Georgia 19.71
Field Goal Percentage
20. Georgia 85.71 percent
25. Florida 85.71 percent
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