WATCH Georgia players sound off: Florida game ‘for all the marbles’
ATHENS — Georgia football players typically take the same business-as-usual approach to every game, but this week it’s different.
The Bulldogs are going all in for their annual trip to Florida to face the Gators in Jacksonville and making no secret about it.
“Where we’re at right now, this is like a playoff game for us,” Georgia tailback D’Andre Swift said during his media availability session on Monday.
“We’re playing for pretty much everything we want in our season in one game, so we have to approach it like it’s our last game.”
Swift’s performance figures to be pivotal; the team that has rushed for the most yards has won 13 straight in the series.
The SEC’s top rusher, the SEC’s leading rushing attack … https://t.co/el5vz4Iah9
— Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) October 28, 2019
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 Field, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars (TV: CBS).
Georgia coach Kirby Smart could become the first coach to win three consecutive SEC East Division crowns since Steve Spurrier accomplished the feat at Florida more than 20 years ago (1994-96).
Smart implied the road to the SEC Championship Game should go through this rivalry game in Florida each year.
“It’s the way it should be when you look at the SEC East,” Smart said. “Georgia and Florida have been pretty dominant in the East picture for a while, and this game has always had some bearing on who goes to Atlanta.
“And I think both teams are good, and I think it’s what college football is all about.”
Indeed, Florida or Georgia has represented the SEC East Division in 19 of the 27 SEC Championship Games dating back to its inception in 1992.
“Yeah we’ve got a chip on our shoulder because we know this game is for all the marbles,” UGA junior offensive lineman Solomon Kindley said.
“But everybody plays the Georgia Bulldogs hard, no matter who we play. So we’ll come out and play hard and do what we do.”
The mindset is the same for the Georgia defense, too, according to redshirt freshman Azeez Ojulari.
“Man, we just know we have to get this win, definitely, for sure,” Ojulari said. “So we’ve got to be doing whatever we’ve got to do to execute and get this win.”
The Bulldogs opened as a 6 1/2-point favorite. The line quickly dropped to 3 1/2 points on Sunday before bouncing back up to 5 1/2 points on Monday.
It’s the second year in a row Georgia and Florida have met as Top 10 ranked teams. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 7 last season when they beat the then-No. 9-ranked Gators 36-17.
Smart is 6-3 against Top 10-ranked teams at Georgia.
Georgia RB D’Andre Swift
Georgia OG Solomon Kindley
Georgia LB Azeez Ojulari