Preview: Florida vs. Georgia
Courtesy SEC Sports
TIME: 3:30 p.m. ET
WHERE: Jacksonville, Fla., Jackson Municipal Stadium (80,000)
LIVE TV: CBS Sports [Vern Lundquist, play-by-play; Gary Danielson, color analyst; Tracy Wolfson, sideline reporter]
Mark Richt is in his ninth season at Georgia and overall with a record of 86-25 (.775). The Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator is Mike Bobo and the defensive coordinators are Willie Martinez and John Jancek. Urban Meyer is in his fifth season at Florida with a record of 51-9 (.850) and in his ninth season overall with a record of 89-17 (.840). The Gators’ offensive coordinator is Steve Addazio and the defensive coordinator is Charlie Strong.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN GEORGIA HAS THE BALL
Georgia sophomore A.J. Green is building on a successful freshman season and is currently leading the SEC in total receiving yards (682), receiving yards per game (97.4) and rec. per game (5.9). His 682 yards ranks 19th in the nation. The Bulldogs have had four different leading rushers through seven games. Sophomore Richard Samuel started the first six games and freshman Washaun Ealey started against Vanderbilt. Ealey had a career-high 71 yards in that game. Carlos Dunlap has recorded five sacks (including a career-best three against Mississippi State), six tackles for loss, two pass breakups and 21 tackles (13 solo) on the season. The UF linebacker corps has started Brandon Spikes, Ryan Stamper and A.J. Jones in every game this season. A.J. Jones recorded his first career pick against Mississippi State. Dustin Doe also grabbed an interception, taking it 23 yards for a touchdown, the first by the Gator D this season. Ryan Stamper tallied a career-best 13 tackles against Mississippi State.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN FLORIDA HAS THE BALL
Junior WLB Rennie Curran leads the Southeastern Conference with 10.3 tackles per game (72 tackles this year) and he has led the Bulldogs every game. He is the top returning tackler in the SEC after recording 115 stops in 2008. Curran set a new career high with 16 tackles versus #4 LSU in 2009. The Bulldog defensive line features three seniors as Jeff Owens returns from a 2008 injury to rejoin Geno Atkins and Kade Weston. Atkins was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after he equaled his career high with eight tackles after coming off the bench against Vanderbilt Tim Tebow has rushed for six touchdowns this season, bringing him to 49 for his career, tied for the all-time SEC record with Herschel Walker. Tebow’s career rating of 170.2 currently ranks No. 1 in SEC history (min. 300 completions). Florida’s Danny Wuerffel ranks second at 163.6. Jeff Demps paces the Gator running backs with 463 yards, five rushing touchdowns and a 7.9 yards-per-carry average. Overall, UF’s three-pronged attack of Demps, Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Moody has accounted for 1,094 yards and eight touchdowns on 143 carries (7.7 avg.) in 2009. Aaron Hernandez has 392 yards on a team-best 33 grabs along with two touchdowns. Riley Cooper has 27 receptions for a team-high 396 yards and three touchdowns.
In his first season as a starter, redshirt sophomore Drew Butler is leading the NCAA with an average of 49.4 yards on 34 punts. The school record is 45.4 set in 1984 by Chip Andrews. Zach Renner blocked the third punt of his career late in the opening half against Tennessee for a safety. Brandon Boykin is the first player in SEC history with two 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in the same season after picking up his second one during the matchup at Tennessee. Chas Henry, a 2008 semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award who is again on the award’s Watch List, has punted 18 times for a 39.8 average. None of his punts have been returned this year, and seven have been inside the 20. Brandon James, UF’s all-time punt return yards leader with 1,177, ranks fourth in the NCAA among active players in career punt return average (12.0) and second in punt return yards. He is also second among active players with four career punt return touchdowns and tied for third in combined kickoff and punt return touchdowns.
Record: UG, 47-38-2 • Last: Florida, 49-10 (2008 at Jacksonville)
The Georgia-Florida series began in 1904, a 52-0 Bulldog win in Macon. Georgia leads the series 47-38-2, including 40-35-1 in Jacksonville. In 2007, No. 20 Georgia celebrated a 42-30 win over No. 9 Florida. However, the No. 5 Gators topped the No. 8 Bulldogs 49-10 last season. After Georgia dominated the 1980s by going 9-1 in the series, the Gators have won 16 of the last 19.