Scouting report: Georgia

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 2 Florida can clinch the SEC’s Eastern Division title by beating Georgia on Saturday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. Here’s a look at the Bulldogs:


Record: 6-1 (4-1 SEC).

Coach: Mark Richt, 12th season (112-41).

Series record: Georgia leads 47-40-2 (NOTE: Georgia records indicate Bulldogs lead 47-39-2).

Top players: QB Aaron Murray (120-199-4, 1,194 yards, 16 TDs); RB Todd Gurley (622 yards, 9 TDs); LB Jarvis Jones (36 tackles, 5.5 sacks); S Bacarri Rambo (25 tackles).

Scouting the offense: The Bulldogs are stacked at the skill positions with Murray, Gurley, Keith Marshall and WRs Malcolm Mitchell and Tavarres King. Georgia is averaging 486.9 yards and 39.6 points per game. The two-headed ground attack of Gurley and Marshall complements the passing attack that is averaging 281.7 yards per game.

Scouting the defense: Jones rivals South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney as the league’s best defensive player. Jones is a phenomenal pass rusher who also plays the run pretty well. The defense, however, has not been as good as expected this season, giving up 367 yards per game. Part of that is due to the fact that several players missed games because of suspension and injury and the unit has yet to completely play together for long.

Three keys to victory

  • Murray might be one of the league’s top quarterbacks, but don’t be fooled. The Bulldogs are a physical team that wants to run the ball behind Gurley and Marshall. They’ve done a good job of it so far (205 yards per game). Any defensive game plan has to start with stopping the Bulldogs on the ground. Florida is coming off a game in which it limited South Carolina to 36 yards rushing.

  • Florida has won 18 of the past 22 meetings and Georgia hasn’t won back-to-back games in the series since the Bulldogs won three in a row from 1987-89. Don’t think that isn’t something that weighs on the Bulldogs. They’re under a lot of pressure to beat the Gators, especially because they weren’t able to take control of the series during the Gators’ down years under Ron Zook and the past two seasons.

  • Florida’s special teams have delivered big play after big play the past two weeks, and the Gators have an advantage here over the Bulldogs, especially with P Kyle Christy and K Caleb Sturgis and their coverage units.