Predicting Stats and Outcome for 2012 Georgia vs. Florida Rivalry Game
And it all comes down to this.
The Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs will meet once again in Everbank Field, in what will likely decide who ends up winning the SEC East and earning a trip to the SEC Championship Game.
This has always been one of the more exciting rivalries in college football, but with so much on the line, this is a must-watch game for every fan during Week 9 of the regular season.
Both teams are also ranked in the Top 10 of the latest BCS rankings, which means there are national championship implications on the line as well. Regardless of what happens, we should expect a close contest, as eight of the last 10 meetings have been decided by 12 points or less.
As we approach kickoff, here are all of the predictions for the big Georgia-Florida matchup.
Note: All stats come from cfbstats.com, unless otherwise noted.
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
This Season: 65 percent completion percentage, 1,914 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions
This Game: Aaron Murray is coming off arguably the best game of his career, throwing for 427 yards and four touchdowns...but it was against Kentucky.
The truth is that the junior quarterback has struggled throughout his career in big games, putting together a combined record of 2-9 against ranked teams. The Florida defense hasn't allowed a passing touchdown in five of the first seven games.
Murray is still one of the better quarterbacks this conference has to offer, but it is hard to believe in him when it counts, judging by his track record.
Prediction: 55 percent completion percentage, 256 yards, one passing touchdown and one interception
Jeff Driskel, QB, Florida
This Season: 66 percent completion percentage, 929 passing yards, eight passing touchdowns, one interception, 321 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns
This Game: Jeff Driskel isn't used much in the passing game, as his 127 pass attempts are good for 12th in the SEC.
However, he is a terrific runner and is averaging over four yards on the ground, while picking up six plays of over 20 yards with his feet. I'm not sure how successful he will be against a quick defense such as the Bulldogs, but I do know he has the athleticism to make plays happen if he catches this Georgia defense sleeping.
Prediction: 69 percent completion percentage, 102 passing yards, 75 rushing yards and two total touchdowns
Key Offensive Players for Georgia
Todd Gurley, RB
This Season: 622 rushing yards and nine touchdowns
This Game: Gurley quickly emerged as one of the best backs in the country early on, as he rushed for over 100 yards in four of the first five games.
The problem is that the true freshman is looking a lot like a first-year player the last two games, as he has combined for 86 yards on the ground.
Against a Florida defense that is third in stopping the run, it could be a long day for Gurley.
Prediction: 13 attempts, 52 rushing yards and one touchdown
Keith Marshall, RB
This Season: 488 rushing yards and five touchdowns
This Game: Keith Marshall is another true freshman running back that started the year off slow, but had a three week period where he really took off and contributed at a high level.
But much like Gurley, Marshall hasn't been able to get going the last two weeks.
He has the potential to have a big game with his speed, but this Florida defense was able to shut down players such as Marcus Lattimore and the entire LSU backfield.
Prediction: 10 attempts and 42 rushing yards
Tavarres King, WR
This Season: 26 receptions, 511 yards and five touchdowns
This Game: King finally showed up last week, hauling in nine passes for 188 yards and two scores.
He is the leader of this bunch and will need to have a big game if Georgia is going to pull off the upset over the Gators. The senior wide receiver is anxious to play this game and certainly has the height advantage to create mismatch problems for the Florida secondary.
Prediction: Five receptions, 86 receiving yards and a touchdown
Malcolm Mitchell, WR
This Season: 18 receptions and 229 yards
This Game: Much like King, Mitchell is excited about playing this Florida defense.
Recently switching from the defensive side of the ball, the sophomore receiver has quickly become that big play guy that he was last year for this offense.
The speedy wideout is a tough cover, and I'm not sure the Gators have faced somebody quite like this explosive player yet this year.
Prediction: Eight receptions and 95 yards
Key Offensive Players for Florida
Mike Gillislee, RB
This Season: 652 rushing yards and seven touchdowns
This Game: Gillislee has shown that he is the most valuable piece to this offense, as he is currently fourth in the SEC in rushing.
With a powerful offensive line to run behind, Florida will look to give the senior the ball quite a bit in this ball game and simply wear down the Georgia defense.
Prediction: 25 carries, 135 rushing yards and two touchdowns
Trey Burton, RB
This Season: 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns
This Game: Burton may not have the stats to show much, but the junior is one of the more versatile players in the country.
He lines up the wildcat, plays a little bit of running back, plays special teams and even can play wide receiver as well.
Georgia must pay attention to where Burton lines up because he may end up making the Bulldogs pay if they don't.
Prediction: Four carries and 15 yards
Jordan Reed, TE
This Season: 25 receptions, 281 yards and three touchdowns
This Game: Reed is one of the more athletic tight ends in college football and has terrific speed to go along with it.
He is having his best season of his career and is usually the first option for quarterback Driskel, as the junior leads the Gators in receiving.
Tennessee tight end Mychal Rivera was able to have a solid performance against this Bulldogs defense and there is little reason to believe Reed won't do the same.
Prediction: Five receptions, 45 yards and a touchdown
Frankie Hammond, WR
This Season: 13 receptions, 220 yards and three touchdowns
This Game: Florida obviously doesn't pass the ball much, but that doesn't mean that Hammond can't make a defense pay.
With only 13 receptions, the senior is averaging nearly 17 yards a catch and had a 75-yard reception in the victory over Tennessee.
Georgia has given up seven passing plays of over 40 yards, which is the most in the SEC; Hammond certainly has the speed to break one this Saturday.
Prediction: Three receptions and 23 yards
Defensive Predictions for Georgia
The Georgia Bulldogs defense has been beyond horrible throughout the season.
A unit that was so great last year is now ranked ninth in the SEC, is generating very little pressure up front and is lacking the amount of game-changing plays it produced last season.
The running defense is ranked 10th in the SEC, and teams had reached the red zone 26 times in the first seven games.
It also doesn't help that defensive end Abry Jones will miss the remainder of the season. However, getting linebacker Jarvis Jones back will be a gigantic boost, as he racked up four sacks in last year’s meeting.
Leading Tackler: Jarvis Jones (13)
Sack Leader: Jarvis Jones (2)
Forced Fumble: Alec Ogletree (1)
Defensive Predictions for Florida
Almost everything you saw with this Florida defense last year is exactly what you are getting this season, and more.
The unit is tied for seventh in the country in total defense, is allowing under 18 first downs a game and has only allowed nine touchdowns on 19 overall red-zone trips.
The Gators are fast to the football and make you work for everything on the offensive side of the ball. The talented backfield of LSU was held to under two yards per carry, while Marcus Lattimore had the fewest rushing yards since his freshman season against Florida State (13).
Leading Tackler: Matt Elam (12)
Sack Leader: Josh Evans (1.5)
Interception: Marcus Roberson (1)
Who Wins the Game?
Georgia has the talent to win this game, but we have to go with what we have seen in the regular season leading up to this contest. Florida has proven it can play with the big boys, while Georgia got rocked by South Carolina and let Kentucky produce 206 rushing yards.
In other words, a basketball program was able to run on a defense that was ranked fifth in the country a year ago.
If that is the case, Florida and that powerful offensive line is simply going to abuse this Georgia defense that hasn't looked inspired at all this year. The Gators are third in the SEC in running the football, while Georgia is 10th in stopping it.
That's not exactly a great recipe if you are trying to win a football game that will either make or break your season.
When you combine that lack of passion the Bulldogs have shown, with the effective running game, defense and special teams of Florida, it is really hard not to pick the Gators in this matchup.
Will Muschamp's team looks a lot like the LSU team from a year ago on both sides of the ball, which is great if you are a Florida fan.
I do think this game will be close considering it is a rivalry and the SEC East crown is on the line, but you have to go with the team that has shown us the most leading up to this game.
Prediction: Gators win 28-20