Jake Rowe breaks down one of, if not the biggest, keys to Saturday’s game:
Georgia’s defensive front against Florida’s offensive line: We’re talking about defensive “fronts” here because both teams employ outside linebackers in rushing the passer and defending against the run. Ultimately, this is probably the most important matchup of the game. The Bulldogs are without Julian Rochester, a solid rotational player, and it’s a strong possibility that Jordan Davis, a game-changing nose tackle, won’t be able to play. The Bulldogs can’t afford to let Florida take advantage of Davis’ absence and have a lot of success running the football. You get the feeling that if this explosive Florida passing attack can pile up 150 yards or more on the ground, it won’t be good for the Bulldogs.
On the flip side of that, if UGA can stop the run and its outside linebackers and defensive ends can harass Kyle Trask, it starts to look much better for the Bulldogs. Ineffective pass rush and/or struggles stopping the run will put the Bulldogs in a bad spot.
Dawgs247’s Take: The Gators rank ninth in the SEC at 133.75 yards per game but UGA fans shouldn’t use that to convince themselves that their border rival can’t run the football. That’s because Florida is picking up 4.78 yards per carry and that’s good for No. 2 in the league. The commitment hasn’t been there with just 28 attempts per game but it has shown the ability to be effective. One thing to really watch here is how quickly will Florida get away from it if it isn’t working. In the two games that the Gators have ran it 25 times or more, they’ve averaged over five yards per tote. In the two games where they have ran it 24 times or fewer, they’ve averaged just 3.54 yards per attempt. It’s probably worth noting that Florida’s four opponents this year are giving up 4.5 a carry while UGA is giving up 2.5 a carry.
The pass rush, however, is just as important. UGA can completely thwart the run game but if it doesn’t disrupt Trask, force some throw aways (or maybe a turnover) and pick up some sacks on obvious passing downs, the Gator passing game is going to be really tough to stop. [Emphasis added.]
One thing the Alabama game showed — and, no, I’m not equating Alabama’s offense with Florida’s — is that Georgia isn’t built to play in a 60-minute shootout. The Dawgs have to find a way to keep the Gators under 30 points. Closing down the Florida running game will make it easier to disrupt Trask in the passing game, not to mention the historical track record in this series that favors the team with the most rushing yards.